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AFP eWire November 20, 2012: Print Version

50th International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego: Advance Registration is until January 25th—Register NOW and Save BIG!

Advance registration is on for the 50th AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego, presented by Blackbaud—Register TODAY for BIG savings!

Joining us in San Diego will be Bert Jacobs, half of the brother duo behind the “Life is good®” apparel company. He and his brother took a simple idea—that an optimistic attitude can make a real difference in the world—and turned it into the Life is good® Company. Life is good® represents the Jacobs brothers’ values in its emphasis on creating a rewarding and fulfilling work experience for employees. These values carry over into the brothers’ philanthropy. Since 2004, Life is good Festivals have raised more than $4 million to help children overcome such life-threatening challenges as violence, illness, and extreme poverty. The brothers have now founded the Life is good Kids Foundation, to coordinate their work on behalf of children.

This year, our goal is to engage and re-energize our profession. Join us and be a part of our efforts to create balance, focus on critical priorities, and simplify complexities—we’ll explore what it means to beDoing The Right Things…Right! 

Go to for more information and register TODAYSee you in San Diego in 2013!

Top Story

The Power of Longevity and the Capacity for Impact

Working at the same institution for more than 25 years and seeing it grow tremendously during that time is what Thomas Campbell, AFP’s newest ACFRE, believes fundraising should be all about.

Campbell, the vice president of institutional advancement at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa., joined the institution in 1988 as coordinator of its annual fund. He’s worked his way up the fundraising ladder, getting involved in every aspect of the university’s fundraising during the process.

“It wasn’t a planned decision, but staying at the same place during my fundraising career has definitely affected my outlook and philosophy on fundraising and philanthropy,” says Campbell, who earned his ACFRE in October of this year. “I’ve gotten to see this university grow and expand before my very eyes. DeSales was only started in 1965, and during my time, we’ve moved from 1000 students and seven buildings to about 30 buildings and well over 3,000 students. Knowing that I’ve been a part of that—that our fundraising efforts have helped to build something real and compelling—it’s an amazing feeling.”

Campbell believes strongly that longevity is one of the most important, but underappreciated, goals that a fundraiser should have. Moving around has a chance to damage the image of the profession, he says, and fundraisers need to think carefully when they switch jobs. Is a small bump in salary really worth it, especially when donors can feel used or uncertain when fundraising positions are being occupied by new individuals every other year? After all, the longer you stay in a position, the more effective you can be and the greater impact you can create.

But longevity and job-hopping aren’t just issues for the fundraising profession. “Managers—whether they’re fundraisers themselves or other senior executives—have to do a better job of giving employees a fulfilling job,” says Campbell. “We talk all the time about stewarding our donors, but do we ever spend time stewarding our fundraisers and employees? Managers can do lots of things to create an exciting and inspiring workplace, perhaps using training opportunities, non-monetary rewards or even just a simple thank-you on occasion. You’d be shocked sometimes at the reaction to thanking someone or giving them the afternoon off. Those sorts of things resonate with employees. And think about the cost savings to the organization by not having to retrain employees continually.”

A final reason Campbell focuses on longevity are the experiences he’s received from being involved in every aspect of the university’s fundraising, including all capital campaigns, major gifts, planned and deferred giving, special events, the annual fund, and constituency relations. He is also now responsible for the school’s communications and marketing.

“I’ve even done computer entry when I first started,” says Campbell. “That sort of background gives me a connection with every fundraiser on campus because I’ve been there. I know what they’re doing, what their challenges are and how I can help inspire them.

Obviously, not everyone’s career path will be the same, and finding the right organization can take time. But once you do, he says, fundraisers should own it. Stay committed to the cause and embrace the organization’s vision, and you can be a powerful force for not only the institution, but for other staff as well.

Why the ACFRE?

Like many fundraisers, Campbell had earned his CFRE but had been so busy with his daily work and responsibilities that he never had the time to fully consider the ACFRE. Lona Farr, a long-time member of AFP, became Campbell’s mentor after he asked her to help with a fundraising presentation at DeSales. “One of the most important things she did was make me take the time to think about my profession, its future, and what I could do to give back,” he says.

Campbell decided he wanted to earn the ACFRE because he felt it was his duty to help advance the profession and enhance its image with the public. Fundraising is a profession with standards and best practices, says Campbell, and credentialing is how we show that, just like attorneys and accountants do. The more fundraisers who earn the ACFRE, the better it is for the profession.

“A lot of people think fundraising is something they can do because they served on a committee or were involved in an event at one time,” says Campbell. “We know differently, but one of our key challenges is to educate the public about the differences between what they think they know, and what truly fundraising is. It’s a true, noble profession that not anyone can just pick up and do. The more we can show that, the more our profession will be respected—and one of the most critical ways is to earn the ACFRE.”

Campbell found the entire ACFRE process to be very rigorous, but also well worth it. The oral exam he found most challenging, primarily because one can’t really study for it because it’s based on  your own have body of knowledge. “But you try anyway,” he adds with a smile. “What you realize is how much more you have to learn, and it gives you an incredible appreciation for continuing education even if you have many years of experience in the profession.”

Campbell is very pleased he made the choice and noted that the credential gives him added credibility with his colleagues, his staff, university officials and others. He held off on some writing until he received the ACFRE so he could publish with the authority that the certificate provides. In addition, earning the ACFRE has enhanced his relationship with the president of DeSales, who is very supportive of allowing Campbell to get more involved in larger professional issues, such as research.

“I can remember when we first started seeing ‘CFRE preferred” for some job applications,” says Campbell. “Hopefully in the future we’ll see ‘CFRE required, ACFRE preferred’.”

Fundamentals Still Reign

When asked what the keys to successful fundraising are, Campbell says they’re very simple: the fundamentals still work. Cultivation and stewardship are his bywords, and getting donors involved remains critical. There are no shortcuts in fundraising, Campbell maintains. Fundraisers have to do their homework and tailor a donor’s involvement and funding to their interests.

And he’s adamant that donors don’t owe fundraisers and charities anything. “Donors are under no obligation to give to us, and we’re not entitled to anything no matter how hard we’ve worked,” he says. “We have to prove that we deserve their support.

Finally, for Campbell, it all boils down to building a culture of philanthropy and getting everyone involved in philanthropy. He’s done that at DeSales, where he sees an understanding of the importance of philanthropy now spreading to faculty, staff and even the students.

“Again, it’s all about your track record and what you’ve proven in the past,” he says. “When you’re at one place for a long time, people know what you stand for and that you not only talk the talk, but walk the walk. The kinds of relationships I’ve developed, the standards we’ve set, the milestone we’ve accomplished—they’ve only been possible because I’ve been committed to DeSales and people know they can count on me. That’s a priceless gift that every fundraiser should be working towards.” 

Thomas Campbell, ACFRE, is the 97th fundraiser to earn the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive (ACFRE) credential. To learn more about the ACFRE, click here.


Special Announcement

AFP Awards for Philanthropy Nomination Period Open—Deadline Nov. 30

You or your chapter can nominate an outstanding philanthropist, volunteer fundraiser, foundation, corporation, fundraising professional or youth in philanthropy for AFP’s Awards for Philanthropy, which will be presented during the International Conference in San Diego on April 6. Nominations are easy to follow, can be submitted online and are due Nov. 30!


Fundraising News and Tips

Help Protect the Charitable Deduction:  Attend the Charitable Giving Coalition’s Capitol Hill Event

AFP, as chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition, invites its U.S. members to attend the Charitable Giving Coalition’s inaugural Capitol Hill fly-in event – “Protect Giving – DC Days” on Dec. 4 and 5.

Take the Project Streamline Survey to Assess State of Grantmaking

Five years ago, with the support of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), Project Streamline was created to change and enhance the grantmaking experience. The project is now asking grantee organizations to provide their opinion of how grantmaking has changed and what sorts of changes and methods have proved most effective.

Single Code of Fundraising Practice launched (UK)

The Institute of Fundraising has launched a single Code of Fundraising Practice to replace its 28 "long and repetitive" original codes. The new code, published today on the institute’s website, covers about 40 pages, with links to supporting guidance, compared with the 440 pages in total of the previous codes.

Ten Things You Might Have Missed (and Need to Know)

There’s so much information online that you’re bound to have missed some of it. Here’s some of the top items and ideas from last week you need to know about and that can help you find success, including stories on special events, social media, stewardship, direct mail acquisition, fundraising competition and more.


AFP Announcements

It’s Never Too Late to Give….or Send out a Year-End Giving Solicitation!

They say the holidays are a time for giving, and according to Alphonce Brown, ACFRE, that includes charitable giving as well. “December is a big month for nonprofit organizations,” Mr. Brown explains. “AFP’s fundraising surveys have proven this, and many organizations raise a substantial portion of their annual revenue in the last four to six weeks of the year.” And he should know

AFP Disaster Relief and Fundraising Efforts Page (Updated for Hurricane Sandy)

AFP’s Disaster Relief and Fundraising Efforts Page provides information not only on how to support relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy, but also how charities can raise funds in the current environment and keep track of ongoing news and events. We know that we have many members who work for organizations involved in the relief efforts. If you don't see a resource or organization listed here and would like it posted, please email the AFP Webmaster ( And please follow the AFP Disaster Relief Blog for all relief efforts and developments worldwide. 


AFP Member Exclusives

This Week's Free AFP Information Exchange Paper for Members:  Involving Your Board Members in Fund Development - Simone P. Joyaux, ACFRE

It’s your job to help board members do their job in fund development. But who is “you”? The development officer. The executive director. The board chair. The chair of the board’s fund development committee. No one – including your development officer – does this work alone. This is a team enterprise. Volunteers – especially board members – are particularly important.
• Read the paper! -

Lights...Camera...AFP Action University! AFP Action University Book Review (Video): The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less, by Richard Koch

In 1897, Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto observed that the distribution of wealth was predictably unbalanced. Over the years, Pareto's observation has become known as the 80/20 principle. Now, Richard Koch takes a fresh look at the 80/20 principle and finds that the basic imbalance observed by Pareto 100 years ago can be found in almost every aspect of modern life. Whether you're investing in stocks, analyzing company sales, or looking at the performance of a Web site, you'll find that it's usually 20 percent that produces 80 percent of the total result. This means 80 percent of what you do may not count for much. Koch helps you to identify that 20 percent and shows you how you can get more out of your business, and life, for less.

• Access this week's AFP Action University Book Review development tool (video and materials) -

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