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Canadian Leadership Retreat

July 24, 2013

From the first “yahoo!” to a special final-day performance by cowboy poet BJ Smith, the AFP Calgary & Area Chapter was thrilled to host nearly 70 attendees at a jam-packed 2013 AFP Canadian Leadership Retreat, July 11-13! 

At this annual meeting of Canadian AFP leaders, including members of the Calgary Chapter and representatives from the AFP International office, delegates discussed important issues within the fundraising profession and the broader nonprofit community. 

Over 50 out-of-town delegates were treated to the official “White-Hatting” ceremony lead by Calgary Stampede Foundation Board Chair and 2012 GOS Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Ann McCaig. The delegates were overwhelmed with the honour of sporting the famous Smithbilt white hat to the Stampede grounds.  The AFP Calgary & Area Chapter was proud to show our colleagues from across the country some Calgary culture at the Calgary Stampede Chuckwagon Races and Grandstand Show. AFP thanks Stu Reid and his committee members who were amazing hosts and gave a tremendous “behind the scenes” tour of the Stampede Grandstand Show.

Directly preceding the retreat was an education panel open to all Calgary & Area members entitled, “Paradigm Shift - The model needed to address the challenges facing non-profits today.” The discussion, moderated by Andrea McManus, CFRE, immediate past-chair of AFP, addressed the findings from the 2013 study, “Underdeveloped.” The study traced many of the fundraising challenges facing nonprofits today back to difficulties in the fundraiser-CEO-board relationships and inabilities to create cultures of philanthropy within organizations. The panel discussed how members could overcome these challenges and integrate all staff more effectively into the organization’s fundraising efforts.

Over the next two days there was a great deal of work done sharing best practices and addressing current and potential issues within the profession. Reports and discussion centered on the three major bodies of AFP engaged nationally across Canada on fundraising issues.

1. AFP Canadian Government Relations Committee

(a) The committee has been encouraging members to send e-letters to their MPs, through the association’s Engaging Networks platform, in support of the elimination of the capital gains tax on gifts of private company shares and real estate.

(b) The Canadian government chose not to enact either the stretch credit or the capital gains provisions in the latest budget, both of which AFP had pushed for in its latest comments to Parliament. Instead, the government created a “Super Credit” for new donors. 

(c) The committee drafted comments regarding Bill C-458, which are available on the AFP website.  This Bill has two key components:

i.     Amend the Income Tax Act to allow for charitable gifts made by an individual within 60 days after the end of the taxation year to be deducted from their taxable income for that taxation year.

ii.     Establish the last seven days of February each year, throughout Canada, as National Charities Week.

Although AFP supports the principles of Bill C-458, there are concerns that the extension of the tax year could create additional, unintended administrative burdens on nonprofits.

(d) The committee, with the assistance of Sussex Strategy, developed a tool kit for members and chapters to help them be more effective in government relations. The kit includes information on:

i.     How to build relationships with parliamentarians, government officials and local community representatives.

ii.     How to make an elevator pitch on a priority issue to parliamentarians, government officials and local community representatives

iii.     How to handle yourself in an initial meeting (and subsequent meetings) with government and opposition parliamentarians, government officials and local community representatives

iv.     How to get an appointment with and when to call parliamentarians, government officials and local community representatives

v.     What is Government/Community Relations?

2. Canada Council: The AFP Canadian Council continues to work on AFP’s strategic plan in Canada identify priorities within each goal to ensure Canadian specific needs are being met.  These include:

(a) Developing an inventory of all fundraising education taking place across Canada.

(b) Creating a Canada specific area on the AFP website for better communication and member service.

(c) Branding AFP in Canada

(d) Welcoming international fundraising professionals to Canada and developing procedures to enhance their visits.

3. AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada

(a) The foundation has two major gift initiatives this year:

i. the development of the government relations tool kit (described above)

ii. follow-up research survey to the foundation’s previously funded survey on “What Canadian Donors Want”.

(b) The foundation has also implemented a new National Scholarship Program with the next deadline being September 15, 2013

(c) The foundation awarded their first research grant to Dr. Pauline O’Connor for her work on “A New Regulatory Regime for Social Enterprises in Canada? Potential Impacts on Nonprofit Growth and Sustainability”.

In addition to all the meetings, the delegates who attended the retreat supported the community through donations and volunteering.  Approximately $10,000 was raised for the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada and $2,300 for The Calgary Foundation’s Flood Relief Fund over the two days through fun and creative fundraising efforts. Some delegates volunteered to help NeighbourLink, including Andrew Watt, AFP’s president & CEO. Others went out to High River to volunteer with the flood relief efforts.

None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for the efforts of many people, particularly Derek Fraser, chair, AFP Canada Council and Scott Decksheimer, chair, AFP Foundation for PhilanthropyCanada, who spent countless hours preparing for the meetings and facilitating the sessions. Thanks to the rest of the organizing committee: Lorie Abernethy, Kim Anthony, Sarah Hayes, Vicki Kranenburg, Andrea McManus and Stu Reid, as well as Estella Foster, the manager for the AFP Calgary and Area Chapter. In addition, many thanks are due to Joan Black for hosting a lovely wrap-up dinner at her home.

The AFP Calgary & Area Chapter was honoured to host the 2013 AFP Canadian Leadership Retreat in Calgary and thrilled to see that people left energized and ready to go home and conquer new challenges!

See the retreat in pictures: 

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