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

June 30, 2010

Cool Stuff

By Derrick Kenny, international conference Collegiate Chapter Scholar from the Mount Royal College Collegiate Chapter, Calgary, Alberta

When our AFP collegiate chapter president made a comment about sending me to the International Conference on Fundraising in Baltimore, I initially thought he was joking. I knew that the local professional chapter was taking our on-campus collegiate chapter seriously, but I didn't think that it would be willing to help a student like me cover the conference costs, let alone the travel and accommodations. Before I knew it, I was one of a handful of collegiate chapter students-and the only Canadian collegiate chapter student-on my way to attending AFP's 47th annual International Conference on Fundraising and its 50th anniversary celebration. 

The conference went beyond what I had expected. There was so much crammed into those four short days, I often found myself skipping lunch just to catch one more session of the day and get the most out of the experience. From social media to major gifts to sponsorships to planned giving and more, I attended a diverse range of educational sessions to get a greater understanding of the fund development profession and philanthropy as a whole. It was all very interesting and practical, something I often think school sometimes lacks. All of it fires you up and makes you want to put it into practice for a cause about which you are passionate.

In addition to the educational sessions, there were three special guest speakers. Lee Woodruff, life and family contributor for ABC's Good Morning America and freelance writer, spoke about her family's experience after her husband, a reporter, suffered severe brain injuries and went into a coma after his convoy in Iraq was hit by a roadside bomb. Peter Thum, the founder of Ethos Water, shared the journey of creating the first bottled water company with a philanthropic mission after witnessing the contaminated water crisis in Africa. The final speaker, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African cleric and activist, who was an opponent of apartheid and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, shared a very motivational portrayal of how philanthropy affect his home nation and his belief that fundraisers have a calling to create a better world. The special guest speakers were all very inspirational and I do not think anyone could have attended those sessions and left thinking that fund development is just a regular job. They all gave an impression that the work done by fund development professionals and nonprofits is overwhelmingly important.

I truly feel fortunate to have been a part of this year's International Conference on Fundraising and I thank AFP international and my local AFP Calgary Chapter for making it all possible. It was a great educational experience and one that I will not soon forget. I would encourage all students who may have the opportunity to attend next year's conference to take full advantage of it. You will not be disappointed.

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