Fundraising Takeaways From AFP ICON 2019

Can you remember the feeling of coming home from a conference or an event and being so excited about what you learned, you could just burst? But then, you settle into your routine again and the pull of regular life takes hold. We’ve been there.

But we have good news – the excitement doesn’t have to end! A great way to keep momentum going is to think about the things you’ve learned, and really decide how to apply them in a tangible way. You’ve learned the how and why, now you can tackle the what! Ask yourself, what can all this mean for my organization?

And speaking of learning and application, the iWave team returned from #AFPICON last month overwhelmed and excited about all we learned. This is truly a great time to be in the nonprofit industry and we have so much to learn from each other. We wanted to give a quick recap of the announcements made by the AFP team, as well as some key takeaways. If you did or didn’t attend the conference, or even if you belong to a different association more specific to your role, this post is still for you! Listen, learn, apply, and enjoy!

Announcements From AFP

AFP made these three key announcements for members during the conference:

  • AFP 360°, powered by Korn Ferry, is a complete leadership development and career training program. By partnering with one of the largest executive search and management consulting firms in the world, AFP is now able to offer offer constructive, game-changing professional development services.
  • Negotiation workshops offered in partnership with the American Association of University Women. In order to tackle the gender pay gap issue, they are offering training through a skill-building program.
  • Ethics Month in October. This month will be dedicated to celebrating and spreading the word about the strong ethics behind the association, including their Code of Ethics. It will be a month of sharing articles, webinars, and other activities.

These key announcements made by the AFP team were met with rounds of applause. This industry has seen a lot of change in the last few years. Keeping up with trends, education, and professional development is a difficult task for anyone, let alone an industry regularly suffering from burn-out. We commend the AFP team for this exciting news.

Information Overload – There is Hope

The advancement of technology has greatly impacted the nonprofit industry. From changing the way donors give, to money management, to how to engage your community. Because of this advancement, there are tools and technology to help. However, now it seems there are so many tools! Navigating through the different tools and software can be a daunting task. But there is hope.

Associations like AFP (and conferences) are great places that showcase the best of the best in technology. Take a look at the vendors, speakers, and sponsors to find out more about the key players in the industry. And don’t underestimate the power of the people around you. If you’re looking for a new CRM, DMS, or wealth screening tool – ask! Ask your fundraising friends, Twitter friends, and tap into all your connections. They will make you stronger.

Prospect Research Recognized as a Must-Have

A resounding message from those we connected with at AFP was that donor research is an integral part of fundraising. Of course, here at iWave we have believed that for quite some time. A great research and wealth screening tool gives nonprofits the advantage of finding more major gift donors, faster. As Jen Filla explores in her blog, “research provides illumination along the way”. It’s not the answer to all your problems, but it will change your fundraising strategy for the better. Feel free to connect with us to find out more.

Value of Being a Part of Something Bigger

Associations, when organized by passionate individuals, are extremely powerful entities. As a nonprofit community, there is already a sense of togetherness. You might not all have the same goals or outlooks, but your desire to make the world a little better than how you found it, remains the same.

Fundraising as a profession is a tough job. It’s a roller coaster of ups and downs and good days and bad days. Your nonprofit team may not understand all of those things, because maybe they serve in different roles. But if you are a member of an association like AFP, APRA, or even a smaller group of professionals committed to learning from each other, you will be more supported. You can accomplish so much more as a unit. So, even if you are a team of one, there is always a larger team out there that you can join! And with the power of technology, a little bit of help is just a click away.


About the author: Liz Corney is iWave’s Content Marketing Manager. She has a degree in Journalism, is a fiercely positive team-player and a creative self-starter. She has experience working in software technology, video/mobile games, learning & development, social & traditional media, and communications. Liz is also the co-founder of a local nonprofit organization working to better the lives of homeless women in her community.

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