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AFP eWire August 21, 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

The New ABCs of Selling and Persuading

The nature of sales and persuasion is changing, according to author Daniel H. Pink, and extroversion and aggressiveness aren’t the answers anymore. 

Pink, whose new book is To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others, spoke at the closing session of the recent annual conference of the American Society of Association Executives. While his presentation was directed at association professionals in particular, he included a number of insightful ideas and examples of use to fundraisers.

Pink began by recalling a scene from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, where actor Alec Baldwin reminds a group of real estate salesmen that they should follow the ABCs of selling: Always Be Closing. However, Pink explained, this approach doesn’t work anymore because the flow and availability of information has changed dramatically. Buyers—and in the philanthropic realm, donors—have access to as much information about a product as the seller—or charity—does now.

While “caveat emptor” (buyer beware) used to be a common phrase when referring to selling and negotiations, the most accurate term is now “caveat venditor”—seller beware. Claims and statements now can be verified, and if a buyer or donor doesn’t like what the seller or charity is saying or doing, there is so much competition that the buyer/donor can find another potential partner very quickly.

The New ABCs

Pink unveiled a new set of ABCs for persuading others, based on a wide variety of research he has conducted recently: Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.

Attunement refers to listening to and understanding the other person—seeing through another person’s eyes—which is something many fundraisers already focus on. But Pink pointed to new data that underscore just how critical attunement is.

In an exercise involving negotiations, one group of participants was asked to try to understand what another person was thinking, while a second group was asked to try to understand what another person was feeling. Negotiations went better for the participants who tried to understand the other party’s thought process rather than the person’s feelings. While empathy and understanding emotions are important, understanding someone’s thinking tends to be more significant.

Of course, in a philanthropic situation feelings and emotions may prove just to be as powerful as someone’s rational thinking. Nevertheless, donors will still have to act in order to make a gift and create change, so understanding their thinking remains important.

Buoyancy refers to being optimistic and resilient, especially given how many times people will say no to a solicitation to give. As fundraisers already know, people who love and believe in what they’re doing make the best sellers and persuaders.

While extroverts are traditionally considered the most effective personality type associated with sales and fundraising, Pink noted that his studies didn’t confirm that. Instead, he found that “ambiverts,” those falling in between introverts and extroverts on a personality scale, typically did the best in sales and persuading others.

Extraverts tended to talk too much, didn’t know when to listen and often tried too hard to be right all the time, while introverts didn’t always speak up at the right time. Ambiverts were able to rely on both skill sets at different times.

Clarity is especially important because of the increasing amount of information that may overwhelm people. Pink noted that the best sellers and persuaders tend to be good “curators” who are able to take all of the relevant information and form it into a short, easy, compelling summary that identifies the precise problem or issue.

Sellers and fundraisers should be focused on identifying problems rather than problem solving. In his studies and experiments, Pink found that people responded better in conversations when the other person helped them identify the problem. According to Pink, there is probably enough information available to allow a person to find a solution. However, because there is so much readily available information, people have more trouble identifying what the specific problem is rather than actually solving it.

Three Rules

After identifying the new ABCS of selling and persuading, Pink emphasized three skills that are necessary to make the gift happen:

  • Mastering the pitch or, in the fundraising arena, mastering the ask. Use your case statement and what you know about the donor to inspire him or her to do what you want—to make a gift!
  • Improvisation. This is important because things will change quickly and unexpectedly, and fundraisers must be ready when they do.
  • Service. Fundraisers serve the cause and the donor, and it’s important that both sides of a negotiation or gift see and get value out of the transaction. Effective sellers and persuaders ensure everyone is served through a gift or exchange.

Finally, Pink said that in nearly all negotiations and transactions, the more power one side gives up the more it has. By giving up power—and thereby listening more, trying to attune themselves to the other party and showing their commitment and authenticity—people will have a much better chance of persuading the other party. It’s a bit contradictory, Pink admitted, but ultimately it leads to the outcome you want—a gift that will please the donor and help your organization advance its mission.

Daniel H. Pink is the author of four books about the changing world of work, including A Whole New Mind and Drive. His books have been translated into 33 languages. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and their three children.


Special Announcement

Support the AFP Diverse Communities Scholarship Fund

The AFP Foundation for Philanthropy in coordination with the AFP Diversity & Inclusion Committee is pleased to announce the second year of a new Diversity Scholarship Fund for members of diverse communities to attend the AFP International Conference on Fundraising. This fund is broken out into three categories:

  • African American
  • Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT)
  • General Diversity Fund

As each AFP Diverse Community reaches 100 members, a separate category will be added, but the General Diversity Fund will be available to all seven of the AFP Diverse Communities (African American, Asian, Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgender (GLBT), Faith-based, Hispanic, Jewish, and Rural). The scholarships will be given to those who work for small organizations and are either a member of one of the AFP Diverse Communities or their organization serves diverse communities.

We ask that you consider making a personal gift toward the scholarship fund in addition to your gift to the Every Member Campaign. Depending on the amount we raise by August 31, 2012, will determine the number of scholarships we can award to the 2013 International Conference on Fundraising that will take place in San Diego, CA on April 7-9, 2013.

A gift to the Diversity Scholarship Fund is restricted and therefore does not count toward your chapters Every Member Campaign, but please know that you will be recognized by the Foundation for your total giving.

Your thoughtful consideration of this request by August 31, 2012 is very much appreciated. The pledge form can be found in the link below.


Fundraising News and Tips

In Their Own Words: An Inspiring and Successful Young Philanthropist 

Want to be inspired? Then take a few minutes to listen to AFP’s 2012 Outstanding Youth Philanthropist, Jeneece Edroff, O.B.C., in her own words. Jeneece has been fundraising since she was five and has raised millions of dollars for a variety of causes, including Jeneece Place, a home for families to stay when children get sick. - And check out the new Youth in Philanthropy newsletter:

One Tweet from a CEO is Worth 100 Tweets from Staff

CEOs got to where they are through their long careers and their influence, earned over years of building relationships in real life.  That influence, once mirrored and cultivated online, can only be amplified by Twitter. (SocialFish)

8 Habits of Conversion-Focused Copywriters

Most people write copy by following their instincts, listening to advice and soaking up conventional wisdom. But this will only get you so far. To get the best results you must test ideas, both conventional and unconventional, and see what works. (KISSmetrics)


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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