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Register Today for the AFP International Conference! Discount Rate Extended to Dec. 18

We have extended the discount rate for the AFP International Conference on Fundraising to Dec. 18. Register today and save $200! Watch your mailbox for your mailed copy of the pre-conference program, containing exhibitor and education session info! Register today. Go to

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National Philanthropy Day® Celebrations in Full Swing

National Philanthropy Day is now in full swing, with chapters hosting celebrations of all kinds throughout November.

On this, the 23rd anniversary of NPD, an estimated 50,000 people will gather to pay tribute to the extraordinary achievements that philanthropy and charitable organizations have made to the world.

More than 100 National Philanthropy Day® events, where local donors, volunteers, foundations, businesses and young people will be honored for outstanding charitable work, will be held across North America. A list of all National Philanthropy Day® events can be found on the official website:

Officially celebrated on Nov. 15 throughout the world, this year National Philanthropy Day was officially recognized by the federal government of Canada.

"It's so important that people continue to give and support charities because these organizations are on the front lines of service delivery and address the most pressing issues," said Andrea McManus, CFRE, chair-elect of AFP. "I'm excited that the Canadian government decided to officially recognize National Philanthropy Day, as it sends a strong message that giving and volunteering and important and should be encouraged. We encourage all Canadians to get involved in philanthropy."

New Orleans Pays Special Tribute

eWire spoke this week with the Greater New Orleans Chapter of AFP, whose members have witnessed a huge outpouring of philanthropic support in the community in the years following devastating gulf coast hurricanes of 2005.

Jenny Rodgers, co-chair of the AFP Greater New Orleans chapter NPD events this year, reports that their event, held on Nov. 5, was one of their most successful ever. They hosted 350 guests for a luncheon at the newly remodeled historic Roosevelt Hotel.

"National Philanthropy Day has carried new meaning in our community in the era post-Katrina," Rodgers explained. "The role that nonprofit organizations play in supporting our society's most vulnerable citizens is never more poignant than in a community where one day in history made us all vulnerable and in need of support outside of our own spheres of influence."

"Every year, our National Philanthropy Day celebration reminds me of that first rag-tagged year post-Katrina, when a bunch of worn-out people took a moment to celebrate the work of our nonprofits and its generous supporters" Rodgers added. "National Philanthropy Day each year is a celebration of the city that was once lost to us and now continues to rebuild, thanks to the spirit of philanthropy and community that exists in our community unlike anywhere else."

Greater Toronto Celebrates Anniversary

Another highlight of this year's National Philanthropy Day celebrations involves the Greater Toronto Chapter of AFP, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The chapter will hold a luncheon on Dec. 2 and at the event will honor its founding members for their "inspired leadership and distinguished service to the chapter and the fundraising profession." Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP, will be in attendance to join the chapter in celebrating its anniversary.

Arkansas Making Headlines

Finally, the AFP, Arkansas chapter's president-elect, Meredith Poland, shared this good news with eWire:

"For the past several years, the Arkansas chapter of AFP has had a partnership with one of the largest special publications in the Central Arkansas Area, called Inviting Arkansas.  Their issue during November is dedicated to philanthropy, and they highlight our National Philanthropy Day winners--with the cover being dedicated to one of our winners as well.  It is a beautiful piece and it is a great way for us to promote Philanthropy in Arkansas and our National Philanthropy Day!"

AFP thanks all chapters for their time, energy and commitment to making National Philanthropy Day celebrations a success across North America and beyond!

AFP Honors Philanthropy's Best

In conjunction with National Philanthropy Day®, AFP and its chapters annually select the country's most outstanding donors, volunteers and others involved in the philanthropic process. In 2009, these honorees included:

  • Paschal Murray Award for Outstanding Philanthropist: John Erickson, Erickson Retirement Communities, Baltimore Md.
  • Award for Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser: William E. (Bill) Greehey, Valero Energy Corporation, San Antonio, Texas
  • Freeman Philanthropic Services Award for Outstanding Corporation: AT&T Corporation, Dallas, Texas
  • Award for Outstanding Foundation: The Greater New Orleans Foundation, New Orleans, La.
  • Changing Our World/Simms Youth in Philanthropy (18-23): Jordan Thomas, Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Changing Our World/Simms Youth in Philanthropy (5-17): Caitlin's Closet, Middletown, Conn.
  • CCS Award for Outstanding Fundraising Professional: Kenneth C. Frisch, ACFRE, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg, Ohio

These individuals and organizations were honored at AFP's International Conference on Fundraising in April 2009 in New Orleans, La. The 2010 honorees will be announced later this year.

"From just a few local events in 1986 to a truly international celebration in 2009, National Philanthropy Day® has grown significantly, just as charitable giving and volunteerism have increased exponentially," said Maehara. "Service to the community is the foundation of our country and our society, and it's critical that we take a moment to step back and remember what philanthropy and charitable organizations have accomplished."

For more information, visit

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Tips on Cost Effective Media Relations

Having a media relations program at your organization is essential for growth and success. If you don't have a thriving media program yet, the good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune. You do, however, need to invest your time and some good old fashioned TLC.

Media relations is important to your nonprofit for the following reasons:

  • It is a cost-effective way to establish and enhance your brand
  • It helps your cause and demonstrates impact
  • It positions your organization as a leader
  • It can be a good stewardship tool for fundraising

Furthermore, once you become established as a voice in the media, more requests for comment and coverage will follow, making your job of marketing and communicating to donors and the public that much easier.

But perhaps the best part about media relations is that the press is not that far removed from fundraising. As with donors, you need to cultivate relationships with the media over time. Instead of waiting for coverage, you need to seek it out, have a plan and stick with your key messages. Like in fundraising, good media relations involves establishing connections and nurturing relationships, skills that you can draw on from your fundraising work. Remember, you don't have to be a public relations expert to have a good program for media outreach.

The bottom line? Media relations can be done by organizations of any size with any budget.

Starting from Scratch

The basics of a media relations program involve always having a point of contact for the press, having resources at the ready, and lining up spokespersons for your organization before you even get a call from a reporter.

Once you have those elements in place and begin to reach out to reporters, it is very important not to waste their time. Reporters are looking for news, not meeting announcements, and so when you speak with or follow up with a reporter, make sure to have something important and tangible that you want them to write about.

Furthermore, build relationships with reporters (as you should with donors) even when you do not have a particular story to pitch. Reporters are interested in learning new things and new people in the community they cover. Offer insight into your charity's work, trends in the nonprofit community and other relevant information. Find out what the reporter is interested in covering.

The trick is to contact reporters at the right time in the right manner. Always use email when first making contact. The phone should be used when following up on a press release or if you have an established relationship with a reporter. Try to make contact in the morning, as the afternoon is when reporters are writing stories and typically on deadline.

More Media 101

Remember these tips when working with the media.

  • The media are ALWAYS on deadline--It may be one hour, one day or one month, but they are on deadline and they need you to respond quickly. Be prepared to do that.
  • There is ALWAYS breaking news--The news may be about your organization directly or about something that affects your organization. Be prepared to respond, and keep in mind that more pressing news may come, requiring you to stop and switch gears on a moment's notice.
  • ALWAYS keep your word--Call them back and get them information in a timely manner. Let them know that you are a resource on which they can depend.
  • The media NEVER forget--If you do not return calls or provide requested information, you will likely fall off of the reporter's radar screen. After that, it is tough to get back on that radar.

Think Like a Reporter

When working with the media it is important to consider how a reporter approaches stories. Think about news value, the timeliness and relevancy of your information and make it clear who will be affected, offering a local angle whenever possible. Incorporate visual components, provide background when possible and point them toward other experts on the topic.

Perhaps the most important issue to address when thinking like a reporter is trends and big picture. If there is any one thing that can save a typical, mundane story (say about a recent gift or campaign), it is placing it in the right context with trends and big picture ideas. Put your announcement of a major gift into context with the larger giving environment, or with other gifts you have received in the past. Use AFP's State of Fundraising Survey data to compare your fundraising success with that of others over the past year.

Another example of using the big picture is to share compelling stories of philanthropy happening at your organization and tying that into the celebration of National Philanthropy Day®.

Finally, in addition to these basic tips on working with the media, remember to follow up with reporters, checking in with them to make sure they got what they needed and if they need anything else. This and the other elements listed above do not require a large investment of cash, but rather taking the time to sustain a program over the long term and do a thorough job. At the end of the day, your media relations program hinges on the relationships you build with members of the press-the same as with fundraising.

This story is based on an AFP Web/Audioconference presentation called Getting Your Message to the Media on a Dime, presented on Oct. 28, 2009, by Kathy Compton, AFP's chief marketing officer, and Michael Nilsen, senior director, public affairs at AFP. This presentation and its handouts can be purchased as a compact disc or online download from the AFP Web/Audioconference On-Demand Collection. To view the schedule of 2010 Web/Audioconferences and to download this presentation, go to and click on Professional Development (follow the link to AFP Web/Audioconferences).

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Making Public Relations Work for You

Public relations is always happening. Your organization is always sending a message, whether or not you are making announcements or talking to the media. Therefore, shaping and leading the dialogue happening between you and the community you serve is extremely important.

In an interview this week with eWire, veteran public relations adviser Robyn Perlman of Core Strategies for Nonprofits Inc. urged fundraisers and nonprofits to sit down and carefully develop the message that your organization wants to convey in 2010. What do you want people to know about you? The first step to being heard is having something to say.

Then, you should identify the various groups that will receive your message, and tailor your message according to their interests. Not only must you convey the value of your organization, you must also translate that message for each audience. To be heard, consider who's listening.

Target Your Audience

"When reaching out to your various constituent groups, you must consider what's in it for them," Perlman explains. "What are their priorities, what are their motives? What are the facts that will be most persuasive for that audience?" A one-size-fits-all approach will not fit well with any one unique group.

Perlman cites the example of local businesses, which (like donors, government officials and members of the press) are important constituents for your nonprofit. A business leader interested in the bottom line wants to know what your organization does to help save or make money. What is the best approach to creating a dialogue with that audience? Perlman suggests, as an example, explaining how your healthcare organization saves money for their company by keeping its workers healthy and productive with adequate healthcare coverage.

"So often the nonprofit sector is all about ‘I' when it should be about ‘community,'" Perlman says. "We always need to be making that link to our role in the community--and building a relationship with these various interests with their varied needs." She explains that doing good work for the community and making the people aware of it can be two different things.

When working with the media, the trick is to invest in your relationships with individual reporters-not unlike the way you invest in donors, Perlman says. You shouldn't expect the media to run an in-depth feature with rich coverage of your nonprofit (or for that matter call you for a quote at all) if you haven't cultivated a relationship ahead of time--no more than you would expect a brand new donor to suddenly make a legacy planned gift to your organization.

"It's about moving your relationships with key reporters and media forward bit by bit," says Perlman, explaining that you begin at the incubation stage, then move into the growth stage, and then at the maturation stage, a reporter calls you regularly for comment and runs in-depth pieces when you have an important message to communicate.

Media Tips

Perlman offered three pieces of advice for successful media cultivation.

Ask for the editorial calendar. Many publications have a plan for the topics they will cover through the year, giving you the opportunity to supply content in a timely manner for an upcoming issue.

Call simply to brainstorm. Editors and reporters are accustomed to getting calls asking them to cover the latest special happening or event by XYZ nonprofit. However, they are likely to be far more receptive to a preliminary conversation wherein the nonprofit simply asks: What kinds of stories are you working on now or for the future? That question can open the door for your organization to supply perspective or content for stories that you didn't even know were in the works.

Consider all outlets. There are many, many communication vehicles in use today, well beyond traditional print and broadcast. Contact trade publications, bloggers and utilize social media. These days, says Perlman, the media are not creating the story, they are chasing it across the different mediums people use to express themselves. Want an absolutely free and easy PR tip? Have your organization post a comment to a major news story online about a relevant topic--you'll have your name next to major public figures and pressing issues with just a click of the mouse.

Robyn Perlman is a principal of CoreStrategies for Nonprofits Inc. She has served as senior in-house public relations director, senior corporate public relations liaison and independent consultant for companies such as Warner Bros. Music Group, Lucent Technologies, Urban Land Institute, Broward Center for the Performing Arts and North Broward Hospital District.

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Getting Noticed

What is the value of public relations? Simply put, it's that you are what you communicate.

A good public relations program means telling your story and being heard. It is a matter of setting a tone and providing context and information, so that consumers-or donors, in the case of nonprofits-are more fully informed.

When making a case for the value of public relations, one important aspect is understanding that counting news clips is not the primary metric on which a public relations program should be measured, but rather the overall outcome of the program for the benefit of your organization.

In an article published in Public Relations Strategist, a publication of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the author explains that a public relations campaign should not be measured by anything less than its ability to help bring about the achievement of an organization's strategic goals. Traditional metrics to determine the success of a public relations campaign--volume of clips, social media activity, advertising value equivalencies, etc.--play a role, but only as initial data points to guide deeper and more targeted research.

In the article (published  online on August 1, 2006), author David B. Oates, APR,  explains why the tendency to measure public  relations value by measuring its "outputs" is misguided. "While quantifying the number of news articles placed and brochures distributed at a trade show is interesting--and at times, ego-boosting--such initiatives, and some businesses, won't be around long if it's not clear how their efforts impact larger organizational goals, such as lead and sales conversions."In other words, what's needed is an evaluation of the effort against an established set of goals, which begins with writing measurable objectives.

Building a Case for Public Relations

Here are some message points from PRSA meant to help you make the case for a public relations program at your organization.

  • Public relations is more than managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. It is a communications discipline that engages and informs key audiences, builds important relationships and brings vital information back into an organization for analysis and action. It has real, measurable impact on the achievement of strategic organizational goals.
  • Public relations and publicity are not synonymous; publicity is a small subset and specialized discipline within public relations, often practiced by dedicated firms who may or may not possess broader strategic communications capabilities.
  • A survey of chief marketing officers at major national and global advertisers conducted by the Association of National Advertisers found that the value public relations delivers as part of the overall marketing mix is increasing. Why? One reason is that public relations is a key driver of business outcomes critical to organizational success, including crisis mitigation, reputation and brand building, consumer engagement, sales generation, wealth creation, issues management and beneficial shifts in constituent attitudes and behaviors.

More information about the value of a PR program for your organization can be found by visiting PRSA's website:

Editor's Note: This article has been updated from the original version.

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Member Message About the Fort Hood Shootings

Last Thursday the Central Texas area experienced a horrific event, the shootings at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 40 injured. Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas, and Metroplex Healthcare in Killeen, Texas, have received the wounded who need the most critical care.

Glen Cosper, ACFRE, director of development operations and planned giving at Scott & White, and Daphne Mead, foundation manager at Metroplex Health System Foundation, have seen the aftermath up close and been involved in recent fundraising efforts regarding the shooting. Glen wrote to AFP:

Our physicians, critical care teams, chaplains and others  have worked tirelessly to provide the lifesaving surgeries, emotional counseling, and other needs of families as they have journeyed from across the U.S. to Temple to be with their sons, daughters, husbands and wives.  Presently, two victims still remain in critical condition with family members at their side.

I want to thank the many AFP members who have sent their emails of concern and support for the work being done at Scott & White. Blood donors from across the state have come to Temple and other local blood centers to support the massive amount of blood that has been needed throughout the weekend.  Financial donors have responded also.  These donors are supporting various needs across our hospital and Operation Homefront, a joint Department of Defense and Scott & White project, aimed at the mental health care of soldiers returning to Fort Hood and their hometowns.

Again, thanks to the hundreds of friends and new friends that have responded.  AFP is a great organization and one that we can be proud to be a member.



 AFP sends its thoughts and prayers to Glen, Daphne and anyone else affected by the shootings at Fort Hood. Members can send their thoughts and well-wishes to Glen and Daphne at:

Glen Cosper
Director of Development Operations and Planned Giving
Scott & White Memorial Hospital
2401 South 31st Street
Temple, TX 76508

Daphne Meade
Foundation Manager
Metroplex Health System Fndtn
2201 South Clear Creek Rd
Killeen, TX 76549

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Vote in the AFP Quick Poll

Please take a quick moment and participate in the Quick Poll on AFP's homepage, Tell us whether the White House's proposal to decrease the charitable deduction for giving (to help pay for healthcare reform) will hurt your organization's fundraising. Results of the poll will be released soon.

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Upcoming Web/Audioconference: How to Have Conversations With Donors About Planned Gifts, December 9 | 1-2:30 pm ET

Fundraisers and volunteers have a natural fear of the planned giving conversation, worried that it requires a discussion of technical issues-or worse, the donor's death. This practical session will help you overcome those fears to have conversations that will increase your organization's long-term (and even short-term) revenue. You will learn how to identify the top planned gift and endowment prospects, prepare for the conversation, set up the visit, use volunteers on the call, define the roles of each party on the call, and how to open, advance and finish the conversation.

**To register, go to and click on Web/Audioconferences under the Professional Development tab.

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