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AFP eWire August 14, 2012: Print Version

AFP/SSIR Nonprofit Management Institute—Sign Up NOW!

“New Skills for a Complex World” is the theme of the seventh annual Nonprofit Management Institute, the popular conference sponsored by the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). This year’s conference takes place September 11-12 on the Stanford University campus. The institute, featuring top presenters in a top-notching setting, moves you beyond fundraising to explore leadership, decision-making, strategic planning, technology and other issues that affect the senior fundraiser. Sign up today! 

Top Story

Ethics Isn’t About Judgment—it’s About Assessment, Reflection and Personal Improvement

Paul Pribbenow knows what you think about ethics. And what you think about webinars on ethics. And he wants to change your mind.

“I’m not going to walk through the code of ethics and tell you what the standards are, most of which you know already,” says Pribbenow, president of Augsburg College and member of the AFP Ethics committee, who is presenting a webinar about ethics on Aug. 23.

“The Code of Ethics sometimes seems like this black-and-white document sent from on high, but the reality is, it’s a living document that represents just the floor for ethical behavior,” he continues. “The key is for us to slow down and think through the sort of lives we want to live, our moral values, the ethical situation we face, and then to encourage discussion about our professional moral lives. In that way, we learn from each other and educate ourselves about decision making.”

Pribbenow stresses that there isn’t always a wrong or right, good or bad, when you discuss ethical situation. Ethical decision making, he says, can be “messy,” and when we don't recognize that, we sometimes jump to judgment. “For so long, AFP’s role in ethics has been to set standards and ensure those standards are being met,” he says. “We’ve done a good job at that, and it’s still important. But if we’re going to meet the needs of members who are living in an increasingly complex world, we have to take the next step—provide tools that focus on deliberation and the process of making better ethical decisions.”

Assessment is Key

A primary part of Pribbenow’s presentation will be AFP’s newest ethical resource, the Ethics Assessment Inventory.

The inventory is a 14-item online survey that provides fundraisers a snapshot of their ethical performance, their organization’s ethical performance and how those compare to other fundraisers and organizations in the field.

“What members need to realize is that the tool is NOT a way to judge if they are doing well or poorly, but rather to show where they fail on a continuum of behavior based on their peers,” says Pribbenow. “It’s meant to inspire discussion—why are we not doing these sorts of activities when other organizations are? What are we doing well? What can we do better, and what kind of donor education and stewardship opportunities are we missing out on by not doing these sorts of activities?”

Pribbenow stresses that the tool is driven by the responses of fundraisers, and that participants are comparing themselves and their behavior to others. “Again, this isn’t based on some all-knowing document, but on the thousands of responses we’ve received from fundraisers around the world. So it’s a tool for individual and organizational improvement, yes, but also as a way to see how our profession is evolving and improving. What we do emphasize? How does that compare to what donors need and want?”

And for Pribbenow, all of those questions lead back to the most important aspect of ethics: community discussion and deliberation.

“We can’t wait until there’s a crisis to make good ethical decisions,” he says. “We have to be in a reflective mood and take the time beforehand to think through these sorts of issues. I want this presentation to be an opportunity to spark those kinds of discussions—to talk through ethics on a macro-level. Ethics is one of those areas that you learn more from talking with each other, not through some book or manual.”

On Aug. 23 at 1:00 p.m., Pribbenow will present a webinar about ethics, ethical decision making and the Ethics Assessment Inventory. For more information, including how to register, click here.

Special Announcement

Newest Collegiate Chapter Hits the Ground Running

The members of AFP’s newest chapter, The Paul Quinn College Collegiate Chapter, located in Dallas, Texas, will be actively involved in the college’s fundraising programs.

The new chapter was sponsored by the Greater Dallas Chapter, and its charter was approved by the AFP board during the recent Summer Board Meetings in Arlington, Va. The first chapter president is Anita Crethers, who has strong personal reasons for being involved in fundraising and philanthropy.

“I was a member of a homeless shelter for a while growing up, and I’ve seen what happens when people give and care for others,” Crethers says. “Plus, I and the rest of the members of our chapter feel very strongly about Paul Quinn and the opportunities it has given us. This is a chance for us to give back while learning about fundraising.”

The chapter got started when the president of Paul Quinn College, Michael J. Sorrell, invited a series of speakers to the institution to talk about fundraising, philanthropy and why they gave to charity. Those presentations sparked interest in students about in the subject and ultimately led to the formation of the chapter.

Chapter Working Directly With the College

The new chapter is in the unique position of being able to work closely with the administration and fundraising staff of the college, and will be involved in the college’s fundraising efforts for its annual campaign, Every Dollar Matters.

“President Sorrell and the entire staff have been so supportive of creating this chapter, seeing how we could help the school and integrating our work into the school’s fundraising plan,” said Crethers. “We are planning to be involved with the college’s phonathon and different aspects of our Homecoming program. As peer leaders, we’ll also be assisting other students to ensure they meet the school requirement of applying for at least two different external scholarships.”

Other activities the chapter will be involved in includes serving as hosts for a series of speakers on campus focusing on women in philanthropy; speaking to students about fundraising and philanthropy at different events; and working on fundraising opportunities for other organizations off campus.

According to Crethers, the chapter has about 20 members right now and already has been busy over the summer. It has held students workshops to raise awareness about fundraising and philanthropy, as well as attract new members. Chapter leaders also attended the AFP DFW Fundraising Conference this summer, presented by the AFP Dallas and Greater Fort Worth Chapters, which gave them plenty of insight into fundraising and helped to prepare them as a chapter.

“We are so appreciative of AFP, especially the Dallas Chapter, which took us in, showed us how things work and have supported us completely,” said Crethers. “Sue Bailey, the president-elect has been great, and we really want to thank Cheryl Reynolds, who served as our mentor and facilitated the creation of our chapter.

“The chapter and I see philanthropy as a way to be part of something greater than ourselves, and to leave a place better than you found it,” added Crethers. “We hope to do that with Paul Quinn and to so many causes in our community, and we’re looking forward to be part of AFP.”

Fundraising News and Tips


Association for Healthcare Philanthropy Publishes Standards Manual

Nonprofit hospitals, foundations and professionals who raise funds for health care institutions through philanthropy now have available standards offering a unique structured, efficient and businesslike approach for accurately measuring and reporting charitable giving in order to improve organizational performance with the publication by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) of its AHP Standards Manual. (Association for Healthcare Philanthropy 

Now Is a Good Time to Add “Secret Donor” to Your Job Description

Take it upon yourself to look under your organization's hood, from a donor perspective, to find the typos, mistakes and miscommunications that may be causing you to lose donors. (Hilborn Charity ENews)

I Can Has: Memes for Social Good

Have you noticed the increasing number of charities and nonprofits taking advantage of popular “meme” trends to share their messages with a wider audience? If the world’s first Cat Video Film Festival hadn’t already convinced you that the internet is powered by LOLs, maybe this article will! (Charity Village)


AFP Announcements

Calling All Authors! Exceptional Writers Needed for Three BooksNewest Collegiate Chapter Hits the Ground Running

The AFP Publishing Advisory Committee is looking for authors for three books focusing on the following topics: the transition from CDO to CEO, crisis management, and strategic message development and communications. The books will be part of the AFP Fund Development Series published by John Wiley & Sons.

1. Transition from CDO to CEO

As the existing workforce ages and many nonprofit CEOs expect to retire in the near future, there is a great opportunity for senior fundraisers to move into the top organizational staff position. In fact, fundraisers bring a unique ability to enhance the CEO’s role through the incorporation of fund development knowledge and strategies often neglected or avoided by a traditional CEO. This book will outline the challenges that a chief development officer might face transitioning to the role of chief executive officer.


Provide readers with an understanding of the specific differences between the CDO and CEO roles, the skills required to be successful as a CEO and how to prepare for the transition within one’s own organization or with a new employer.


  • Offer readers real-life examples from both Canada and the United States
  • Highlight applicable information from the for-profit sector
  • Articulate the differences involved in reporting to a board versus to a manager
  • Define the skill set necessary to make the transition from CDO to CEO, i.e., leadership, financial skills, strategic planning, etc.
  • Discuss CDO skills that can enhance the CEO position (how to combine the best of both worlds)
  • Provide strategies for readers to enhance areas of their résumé to better position themselves for advancement
  • Address the potential for micromanaging the development operations

Possible methodology:

  • Interviews with individuals who have successfully made the transition
  • Case studies of unsuccessful transitions
  • How CDOs perceive such a transition
  • How CEOs view the CDO role as preparation for the top position

Target readers:

  • Fundraising professionals aspiring to a CEO role
  • New CEOs
  • Board members preparing to hire a new CEO
  • Current executive directors, directors of development, board members and key volunteers who are involved in fundraising

2. Crisis Management

Crises usually happen when you least expect them, and nonprofit organizations, whether large or small, must be prepared for such an eventuality.


Teach and share examples of organizations that have undergone crises and learn from their experiences.


  • Offer readers real-life examples they may have seen or heard about or experienced
  • Teach what to do and what not to do
  • Provide readers with tools to plan for and prevent crises, including the development of a crisis management plan and the importance of spokesperson training
  • Use of consultants in a crisis
  • Damage control, both for internal and external audiences, and after-crisis management


Using real life case studies of successful and unsuccessful crisis management, the book will offer an analysis of the situation and outline learning outcomes for each case study. The use and explanation of crisis management models and theories, as well as crisis management planning and procedures, will be an important aspect of the book. The book should offer a mix of organizational issues for both large and small organizations. It also should address dealing with overall impact on an organization post-crisis, including how to utilize lessons learned, needed organizational change and prevention of future crises.

Possible examples of crises:

  • Ethical issues
  • Board problems
  • Public relations or communications blunders
  • Malevolence
  • Skewed management approaches
  • Human resources errors
  • Management misconduct or deception
  • Workplace physical or psychological violence
  • Breakdown of staff roles in the midst of crisis

3. Strategic Message Development and Communications

What are the roles of the executive director, staff and board members in strategic messaging? This will be a “how to” book providing information to develop strategic messaging in order to better connect with and engage key supporters while laying a foundation for delivering in-depth information about the organization.

Topics covered should include, but not be limited to:

  • Appreciating the value of strategic messaging
  • Defining desired outcomes
  • Developing and facilitating a messaging strategic plan
  • Defining and understanding target audiences, both recipients and benefactors
  • Articulating what specific actions are desired from constituents—crafting a call to action
  • Identifying the most productive audience-specific channels—cohort/generational appropriate
  • Using messaging to build consensus
  • Messaging as culture change that challenges the organization’s mindset
  • Integrating messaging into all organizational programs and activities
  • Training board members, volunteers and staff to stay on message
  • Identifying resources needed to implement the plan and possible sources
  • How to keep the messaging simple
  • Evaluating impact 

If you are interested in writing or co-authoring one of the books or would like more information, please contact Steven Miller, CFRE, chair of the Publishing Advisory Committee, at

Sign Up to Serve on AFP’s Committees 

Know someone who would make a great candidate for committee service and help steer the direction of your community? Would you like to serve on one of AFP's committees? Now is your chance to do so! To sign up today, click here

Canada Globe and Mail to Publish NPD Supplement on Nov. 16

The Globe and Mail, which reaches nearly one million readers across Canada, will be publishing in partnership with AFP a special supplement about National Philanthropy Day®. The supplement will highlight donors, volunteers, corporations and foundations across Canada involved in philanthropy, and AFP members can receive special rates on advertising. To learn more, click here.

Read the July/August 2012 Digital Issue of Advancing Philanthropy!

Entrepreneurial leaders are transforming the way organizations, donors, volunteers and constituents interact with one another to accomplish greater social good. And they are not interested in simply improving efficiencies here and there—they want to reinvent the way nonprofits work. Click here to read the July/August 2012 digital issue of AFP’s Advancing Philanthropy magazine.
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