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Foundations in Fundraising: AFP’s Collegiate Newsletter (Winter 2010)

March 1, 2010

Cool Stuff

By Simon Willman, president of the AFP AZ, Arizona State University Collegiate Chapter

As I rode the escalator up to the second floor, the sounds of laughter and applause followed by excited conversational tone from the dispersing crowd grew louder. The first quarter had just ended. We were not at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, although the energy was quite similar. We were in Phoenix - more than 500 of us - but instead at the American Humanics Management Institute (AHMI) conference. Jan. 3-6 at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown Phoenix was, at least for me, an unprecedented gathering of industry leaders, campus directors and motivated students from across the country.

Throughout Monday, Jan. 4, there were 87 workshops, poster presentations by American Humanics students from all over the country, dozens of booths and tables with representatives from organizations and nonprofits, as well as delicious catered food and deserts. The workshops were broken down into four separate sessions or "quarters.". Within each session, attendees could chose which workshop they wanted to attend. Workshops were further defined as "entry-level" or "advanced."

I had the privilege of being a co-panelist during an entry-level workshop titled, "Putting the Fun into Fundraising." Indicative of an entry-level workshop, we were surrounded predominately by college students. I was skeptical as to how many AH students would attend a workshop on fundraising, but was pleasantly surprised when the room was filled to capacity. I won't burden those reading a collegiate fundraising newsletter with the details, but as the title would presume, we focused on addressing the common misconceptions surrounding the doldrums of fundraising.

Attendees were fascinated to learn how we raised money without simply asking people for a check. They wanted to know about our fundraising activities this previous semester. Some included a charity golf tournament, home run derby, F1 go-cart races, a 5k race, and a percentage night fundraiser with a local yogurt shop. By partnering with other organizations and businesses we are able to utilize synergies between all parties involved to benefit the community, raise money, make new contacts and gain experiential knowledge. Workshop attendees were captivated at the willingness of business executives, athletes and people in general to be a part of the fun in fundraising.

The workshops were fantastic, and the conference overall was a phenomenal success. Even those of us not part of American Humanics had a wonderful time. AH and AFP share similar foundations, and I recommend attending future AHMI conferences to AFP members.

My thanks to those responsible for organizing and operating the conference. Special thanks to my co-panelists:

Catherine Wemette, director of chapter administration at AFP
Dr. Robert Ashcraft, executive director, Arizona State University Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, faculty chapter adviser
Bonnie Morgan, sustaining gift officer ASU Foundation, professional chapter advisor
Brintha Gardner, vice president AFP- ASU Chapter
Brent Downs, treasurer AFP - ASU Chapter

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