3 Days in Boston as a Chamberlain Scholar

As the recipient of the Chamberlain Scholarship for the Palm Beach County chapter, I was able to attend the Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference in Boston, MA.

I was in good company with approximately 3,200 others in the fundraising field and numerous presenters and sponsors.

“Fundraisers are stubborn optimists” was the take away from Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations and the keynote speaker on the opening day of the conference. He went on to speak about the “peace and stability and respect of human rights and long term development and rule of law and that no nation can survive without these”.

Two of the sessions I attended that made the most impact and which were overflowing had a similar message. “Loverizing” The Lucrative Difference a Few Chosen Words Will Make in your Donor Communications

And From Ireland With Love: A Five-Year Case Study on Donor-Centric Fundraising for Retention, Revenue and Results both emphasized making appeals NOT about how wonderful your organization and all the great things you are doing, but to build up the donor and make them a part of your story.  Know who your donor is; everything from their age down to how they open their mail.  Write appeals that feel epic and give your donor an experience; Make the donor the HERO of your story.

“What we need is a billion acts of courage (big or small). Courage is not the absence of fear but overcoming that fear”  Nelson Mandela as quoted by Keynote speaker Kumi Naidoo former Executive Director of Greenpeace.  He went to say that “change becomes possible when enough people believe it is possible”; And that we should not preach to people to create opportunity but to engage and educate.

Of course we had some fun as well…it was great to go to the iconic Fenway Park and see the infamous “Green Monster” and World Series trophies. …A big thank you to the Florida Caucus for putting together a great Happy Hour. …and apparently no conference is complete with a few rounds of karaoke!!

Thank you AFP Palm Beach County for the opportunity to further my fundraising skills and have fun doing it!