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Cape Breton Island Seeks a Chapter of Its Own, While Okanagan Chapter Soars

August 13, 2014

by Paula MacNeil, Brad Jacobs and Chantelle Funk

Atlantic Canada has a long and storied history of generosity and support for one’s fellow man. The people of Cape Breton Island exemplify this spirit of giving. For example, events such the annual Christmas Daddy’s telethon, which dates back to the 1960’s, often raises more dollars per capita than any other major center in Atlantic Canada.

Since the time of barn raisings and hay making, the people of the Island have worked together for the good of the community. This spirit continues today through various organizations that hold mandates to raise awareness and dollars in support of worthy causes.

In this spirit of working together, outreach was made to the nonprofit groups located on the Island. This meeting saw more than 100 individuals, representing some 60 organizations, come together to share and learn. Out of this meeting grew the notion that perhaps Cape Breton Island was indeed ready to support its own AFP chapter.

With the nearest chapter located more than 800 miles away, Cape Breton Island would definitely benefit from having its own local organization. The groundswell of attendance at the meeting demonstrated that there were enough interested parties and the time was right to make it happen.

A working group was created to begin the formalities. The group included representatives from a cross- section of charities: from the local library to nursing homes, to hospitals and educational facilities. People were keen to begin.

The first order of business was a membership drive. To advertise the forming chapter and as a demonstration of commitment from this group, an educational session was held in the spring to gauge community interest. The topic of "Fundraising for Small Shops" was presented by three guest speakers who spoke on major gifts, special events and stewardship. In total, 41 individuals attended the two-hour interactive workshop, and feedback was very positive.

In July, the forming Cape Breton Chapter officially submitted its application and, at time of print, is awaiting formal approval.

The group has set out a mandate that is heavily geared toward education, especially those working within the profession, as well as the education of the general public on the importance of philanthropy.

With government cut-backs and fiscal restraint, fundraising has become a key component of most, if not all, organizations. Cape Breton, with the establishment of its own AFP chapter, will be united and ready to meet the challenging demands of fundraising in the future.

Elsewhere in Canada—The Success of a Fellow Newbie Chapter

Over the years, dedicated fundraisers in Central British Columbia have invested their lives and hearts into their organizations in a way only true nonprofit workers can.  While at times fundraising can feel like a vast industry, most of us know each other or have crossed paths over the years.  In the last few years as we’ve faced challenging economic times, the need feels greater, and the demand both to accomplish more and be more transparent is increasing.  The benefits of reaching out and working with fellow fundraisers in a more formal way seemed to hit home for many.

In May 2013, a start-up AFP meeting showed great support from the community. With a very willing board of directors stepping up to the challenge, the AFP Okanagan Chapter was officially chartered in March 2014, and our membership has grown every month since.

Over the next year our focus will be on creating value for our members. We want each person to feel connected, to develop professionally and personally, and to find a place in our chapter.  Our board is looking for committees and volunteers to support the increasing tasks and ensure sustainability of our leadership and our chapter.  We are very excited that the current membership is supporting us through their attendance and by encouraging others to do the same. We are very grateful for the support of our sister chapter in Vancouver and all the support from AFP International.

We can’t wait to see what the future holds and to grow as a chapter!

Paula MacNeil is the Director of Development, Cape Breton University. Brad Jacobs is Chief Executive Officer, Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. Chantelle Funk is the Development Officer - Special Events for the BC Cancer Foundation.



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