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National Philanthropy Day Canada

June 13, 2016

by Derek Fraser, CFRE

National Philanthropy Day (NPD) has grown into a significant event in North America, with AFP chapters hosting amazing donor recognition events from Mexico City to Vancouver Island and everywhere in between. AFP members should be proud of this annual celebration of those in our communities who make a difference in the lives of people who are most vulnerable.

In Canada, NPD has been celebrated for more than 20 years – an amazing statistic when you think about how many tremendous events have occurred nationally and the sheer number of community leaders recognized at these events. More than 25,000 Canadians attend each year or are a part of a celebration linked to NPD. This is a wonderful accomplishment for AFP and the many members who have made the NPD journey part of their professional development activities.

NPD is not for the faint of heart! The rewards, though, are so worth the pressure of putting on one of the key philanthropic events in your community’s annual calendar.

Skill Development Where You Least Expect It!

Most AFP members who agree to be a part of an NPD event probably do not consider it a professional development opportunity, but it is much more than just an event volunteering gig. The new relationships forged during the event, along with chance to develop new skills and refine existing ones, provides opportunities that you cannot attain at a conference. NPD is in real-time, and the pressure to perform is at its highest.

NPD chairs or co-chairs often share a range of emotions after it is all over – relief, exhilaration, exhaustion and pride. Thank you to all NPD volunteers who have, over time, created a unique opportunity in our communities to thank selfless community builders who believe in a civil society that is supportive and committed to advancing philanthropy.

The AFP Canada National NPD Committee was created early in 2016, and I have the distinct honour to be working with a group of experienced national leaders who want to see the NPD brand consistent and stronger across Canada.

Working alongside me are:

Ann Melanson, CFRE – Halifax, Nova Scotia

Brent Platt, CFRE – Williamswood, Nova Scotia

Bronwen Dearlove, CFRE – Ottawa, Ontario

Cathy Michitsch – Vancouver, British Columbia

Karen Willson, CFRE – Toronto, Ontario

Sarah Nelems  – Kelowna, British Columbia

Scott Fortnum, ACFRE – Vaughan, Ontario, (Chair, AFP Awards Committee)

Wayne Steer – Calgary, Alberta

We are also ably supported on the staff level by Morgan Roth, AFP’s chief strategy officer and Michael Nilsen, AFP’s vice president of public affairs.

The committee recently assembled a collection of 2015 NPD documents from across the country that demonstrates the incredible innovation and creative approach our chapters have taken to celebrate NPD in Canada. Our committee is currently reviewing the materials to see where there may be great ideas to share with all of our Canadian chapters. Also, this exercise is helping to evaluate the impact for the 149 sponsors of our events (some sponsors support multiple chapters across the country).

This is also important as we look forward and plan for the 2017 NPD celebration during Canada’s 150th Anniversary. We are so excited with the opportunity to spread NPD to all corners of our country and celebrate a critical milestone in our country’s young history!

Derek D. Fraser, CFRE, is the president of Derek D. Fraser Philanthropic Advisors Inc. and immediate past chair of the AFP Canada Council.



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