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AFP eWire January 29, 2013: Print Version

2013 International Conference on Fundraising in San Diego: 
Grammy Award Winning Musician, Education Activist, Movie Co-Producer and…AFP International Conference Speaker!

John Legend may have won nine Grammy Awards for his musical talent, and he may have just co-produced a documentary with Brad Pitt, Russell Simmons and Danny Glover, but he’s much more than a musically and film-inclined celebrity.
But he’s also an education activist and philanthropist who believes that access to quality education is the next civil rights battle. Come here his story—and his songs—in San Diego!

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 be Doing The Right Things…Right! 
Go to for more information and register TODAY! And be sure to check out the new 2013 San Diego Pre-Conference Brochure! 

Social Media Spotlight

AFP's Flagship Twitter Account - @AFPIHQ

Recently endorsed by NonProfitOrgs as the #2 NP resource to follow on Twitter, @AFPIHQ keeps its 7,000+ followers up to date and engaged on the latest fundraising studies, news and developments, AFP resources and development opportunities, special offers, and more. Stop playing catch-up - follow @AFPIHQ on Twitter and stay ahead of the curve! 
Stay Wired - Check Out All of AFP's Online Communities! 


Conference Central

Show a Little Donor - Love in Your Case for Support

Tom Ahern is considered one of the world’s top authorities on donor communications and is the author of four well-received books on the topic. Through all of his experiences he has come to one main conclusion: It’s all about being donor-centric in your case for support!

Ahern will walk you through how to construct a donor-centric case for support during his AFP webinar on Feb. 5 and during his educational sessions at the 2013 AFP International Conference on Fundraising.

Each year, Ahern delivers dozens of workshops internationally, specializing in applying the discoveries of psychology and neuroscience to the everyday business of inspiring and retaining donors. Nearly a decade ago, Ahern discovered that a great case for support has to show a little donor-love. It’s his top go-to donor communication technique.

“Most old-style cases talk about the organization’s mission and how wonderful the programs are, but they rarely even mention donors”, says Ahern. He finds this quite odd, especially if you’re asking someone for a capital campaign without even mentioning the donor. “My technique is to make the case much more donor-centric.” Ahern asserts that switching from an organization-centric case to a donor-centric case raises much more money.

During his webinar on Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Eastern, Writing a Fabulous Case for Donor Support, Ahern will share his secrets for properly selling your projects, programs, endowments, initiatives, buildings, renovations and bright ideas. Of course, most of these secrets stem from a donor-centric technique. However, you won’t just learn what you can do to create a successful case; you’ll also learn what not to do.

Among techniques that are unsuccessful is the elevator speech. “An elevator speech is an idea that works for commercial sales, but it will likely never catch on or be successful in fundraising”, says Ahern. He finds that there is no passion in an elevator pitch. The thinking that 50 words to summarize your organization will appeal to a donor is, as Ahern puts it, “delusional.”

What Ahern does suggest as a technique is a conversation starter that’s open-ended with a place for the donor to find themselves fitting in. As a fundraiser, you don’t want to continuously talk about the organization you’re representing in order to convince the donor to give. Find out about the donor’s passions and intentions, and find a way to relate your organization’s mission to the donor’s. Do a little match-making with your donor-love. “Questions open the door for the donor and lets them talk, which creates a relationship between the donor and the organization they’re giving to”, suggests Ahern.  

During his webinar, Ahern will also be addressing the “big three” questions that you’ll face with your donors:

1.)  Why us? What is our group doing that is so extraordinary?

2.)  Why now? “The thing that makes your solicitation stand out is the urgency of doing something about the problem now”, says Ahern.

3.)  Why would an individual, the individual associated with the organization, why would THEY give?

“Possibly the hardest question for charities to answer is the third one; this is where the issue of donor-centricity comes in”, explains Ahern. It’s important for an organization to find that connection with the individual donor. Alumni give because of their loyalty and compassion for their former school. Find a reason for your donor to lend their loyalty and compassion to your organization.

Ahern is currently doing work through the University of Oregon and proposing that they start with a survey, not a case statement. “Find out more about your donor as an individual and not just about their money”, he suggests. Ahern realized that of the charities he’s aware of, none of them know their donors really well. Therefore, they can only do generic fundraising and are not able to tailor to their individual donors.

Following the lead of fellow AFP International conference speaker Adrian Sargeant, Ahern says you have to survey your donors often to find out details about them. “It’s not just a fad, this is fundamental to marketing to your individual donors.”

In case you’re not able to catch Ahern during his webinar on Feb. 5, be sure to attend one of his two educational sessions on Monday of the AFP International conference, from 8:00 – 9:15 a.m., or 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. He’ll be presenting twice on: The Case Statement: Getting Your Story Right.

Despite the different titles, Ahern ensures that he will be addressing the same concept of building a donor-centric case. Ahern emphasizes that his presentations are very “alive”—ever-changing, ever-evolving, and adapting to the new idiosyncrasies he learns daily by being in the field. “I use these techniques myself every day, so I’m always adding and enhancing accordingly”, says Ahern.

As a veteran AFP conference speaker – he’s presented more than ten times! – Ahern assures that his sessions are never the same from year-to-year, despite the basis of the session remaining the same. “Because of my experience with clients throughout the year, my case is always evolving”, says Ahern. He is always exploring the topic of how to tell your story to your client. “I read books on story-telling to grab techniques from them to pass along.”

Ahern feels as though his job as a trainer is to make things simple so the audience can learn the outline in one session. “I will hear from attendees a year later that the technique they learned in my session works. These aren’t 20-year writing veterans, but they adapted the donor-centric technique as well as they could, and they benefited from it”, he says.

Whether you attend Ahern’s webinar on Feb. 5, or one of his conference sessions in San Diego on April 8, you will be equipped with the donor-centric technique that one of the most experienced case writers uses himself. After that, it’s up to you to execute.

2014 Call for Presentations – Live!

Interested in one of those coveted speaking slots at AFP’s International Conference on Fundraising? Submit a proposal to present at the 2014 conference in San Antonio, TX, March 23-25. We’re looking for sector specific, experience level tailored, concise session descriptions. New for 2014: Enhance your proposal with a video showcasing your presentation skills. The deadline to submit is April 26, 2013, so get started now!

Not Just Onsite – New Education Opportunities Before, During AND After AFP’s 50th International Conference!

We’re anticipating an engaging and energizing AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising. And why not – it’s the big five-oh!  We listened to your comments, made changes, brainstormed new ideas and created new content and programs for our 2013 conference in San Diego, April 7-9

But this conference shouldn’t just be a two-and-a-half-day sprint where you pack in as much education, networking and experience as possible. Your conference participation should be a year-long marathon that builds the excitement and knowledge leading up to the big event, and then keeps the inspiration strong and connections blooming through to the next year! Learn how AFP enhanced the experience for 2013 so that you can prepare for, thoroughly enjoy and maintain that conference high!

Getting Prepared

Before you even step foot in sunny San Diego for the 50th AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising on April 7, 2013, your conference experience has begun! For the first time, AFP offered even more incentives to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration—on top of the already reduced conference rate—by adding the 2-4-6 Pack of AFP Archived Webinars.

The earlier you signed-up for your Early Bird Registration, the bigger the pack! After receiving your email confirmation for your conference registration, you were directed through a link to your 2, 4 or 6-pack, where you were able to access the FREE Archived Webinars and download them to your desktop. Though Early Bird Registration has come and gone, you will still be able to access the Webinar pack you received in your Early Bird Registration confirmation email until April 6, 2013 – the day before the on-site conference event – so you can maximize your pre-conference experience!

If you didn’t get in on the Early Bird Registration incentive, don’t fear! You still have time to register with the Advanced Registration, which continues to offer a reduced conference rate.

The pre-conference involvement certainly doesn’t stop there. The regular education conference speakers have taken to Twitter! AFP’s 2013 conference speakers will be getting involved on social media to not only prepare you for their session, but also to involve you in tailoring their session FOR you! Interested in a session, but hoping the speaker will emphasize a particular topic? Join them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. to help them hone their presentation and tailor the conference experience to YOU. While on Twitter, make sure to use the hashtags #afpmeet and #afpICON to get in on the pre-conference conversations!

Making the Most of Your On-site Experience

So, you’ve finally arrived in San Diego. You’ve prepared for this day, you’re at the San Diego Convention Center, and you’ve picked up your handy registration packet—now what? Well, for starters, if you’ve arrived in San Diego with some extra preparation time, why waste a second of your on-site experience? Jump right into one of AFP’s pre-conference courses: The AFP CFRE Review Course, theAFP Fundamentals of Fundraising Course, or the *NEW* AFP Planning to Keep Your Donors Workshop!

Whether you have a half, full, or two-day time period to spare for the pre-conference workshops, there is an option for all scenarios, and they’re all offered at a reduced rate for conference attendees! TheAFP CFRE Review Course will prepare you to sit for the CFRE exam, while connecting you with others who also have five-plus years of fundraising experience.

New to the fundraising field? Develop and sharpen your fundraising skills in the two-day experiential learning program, the AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising Course, which includes case studies and projects for groups and individuals, making the learning experience both substantive and enjoyable.

If you only have a half-day to kick-off your conference experience early, the *NEW* AFP Planning to Keep Your Donors Workshop, which is officially launching at the 2013 conference, will give you an inside look at developing a donor retention plan and show the value of tracking overall gains and losses in gifts and donors. Whichever pre-conference course or workshop you choose, register before you go to secure your seat!

The 2013 conference officially kicks off on Sunday, April 7 at 10:30 .a.m with keynote speaker Marcus Buckingham. However, if you are an AFP International Conference on Fundraising First-Timer, you’ll want to hop out of bed a little early for the can’t-miss First Timer’s Meet-Up at 9:00am! Thumbing through the conference program and wandering around the San Diego Convention Center can be a daunting task. But at the First Timer’s Meet-Up you’ll join peers to learn the nuts and bolts of the “don’t-miss” opportunities at conference and build a networking team that you’ll carry throughout the entire event. After you’re oriented, join the ranks of the attendees for Marcus Buckingham’s keynote speech on What the World’s Best Managers Do Differently.

You spoke, and we listened. Throughout the conference you’ll notice that we took your comments and concerns from the 2012 conference into deep consideration, and put measures into place to ensure an even better educational experience! To address the need for more Advanced sessions the ACFRE Board and AFP worked together to restructure and redefine the ACFRE Track to the “Advanced Track” – no longer just for ACFRE’s, but also for ACFRE’s-in-the-making, CFRE’s and all experienced fundraising professionals.  Not only will you find an entire track (Advanced Track) dedicated to senior-level fundraising professionals that contain sessions which are all ACFRE approved, but you will also find a plethora of sessions sprinkled throughout the program that fall under the Advanced Experience Level.

Whether a first-timer or a repeat conference-goer, the 100-plus sessions with more than 150 speakers tailored to the Novice, Intermediate or Advanced Experience Levels are sure to offer a full conference education program for each individual attendee. Start building out your personal conference education schedule by perusing the offerings by title, speaker, experience level, track or sector on the conference education webpage:

Taking a Piece of San Diego Home With You

The knowledge you’ve gained, the memories you’ve created, and the business cards you’ve collected will all travel home with you. To stay energized and engaged in the profession once the 50th AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising has sunset, tap into the conference recordings of the sessions you were unable to attend, or the ones you simply must hear again! With so many session offerings, it’s impossible to attend them all...on-site. But who’s to say you can’t “attend” them post-conference?

The conference recordings offer you the chance to carry your learning experience all the way up until the 2014 conference. It’s your choice! You can purchase an individual Podcast of a session or speaker you missed; indulge into an entire track that pertains to your sector of fundraising; or bundle the entire conference education experience in the full conference recording package. Get your post-conference fix on your desktop during lunch, while in the car on the way home, on your iPod at the gym, or on your PC while in flight to the 2014 AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising in San Antonio. The options, the CFRE points and the knowledge are endless!

Start preparing for the 2013 AFP Annual International Conference on Fundraising: Doing The Right Things…Right. Register today, connect with the 2013 conference speakers, start building your personalized education schedule and get energized! See you in San Diego!


Fundraising News

OPM plans to shake up charity program raise concerns about reduced donations

The Office of Personnel Management wants to shake up the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the charitable-giving system for federal employees, but in the process the agency could risk losing donors and reducing contributions. 

Deductible? Really? Most Taxpayers Flub Donation Reporting

You can donate to charity in cash or in kind and either way claim a tax deduction. Many taxpayers prefer giving in kind since the deduction is based on the market value of the item. If the property is appreciated—say stock or real estate—you never have to pay tax on your gain. But you might be surprised to learn that most taxpayers fail to report their non-cash contributions correctly.

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!

AFP Central

Participate in the 2013 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey

If you received an invitation for the Nonprofit Research Collaborative’s 2013 Nonprofit Fundraising Survey, PLEASE complete the survey as soon as possible. The survey is the most comprehensive survey in the profession and provides valuable analysis and benchmarking data. If you have questions about the survey, please contact Michael Nilsen, AFP vice president, public affairs, at 

Don’t Wait! Join AFP’s Member-exclusive Online Social Community Today!

Get involved with colleagues from AFP beyond your chapter, beyond your existing network! AFP2P allows members to interact and share with one another through such personalized features as discussion groups, blogs and news feeds. In addition, members are able to create unique profiles, upload pictures and documents, and leave comments. Log on today! 

New! Free AFP Information Exchange Paper for Members:Google+ for Nonprofits - Marc A. Pitman

The nonprofit space keeps getting noisier. You need all the help it can get to be heard! Google+ significantly helps.

• Read the paper! -

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