Chapter Spotlight

AFP Chapter Spotlight: Miami Chapter NPD Celebration

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Miami Chapter

The AFP Miami Chapter was founded in 1975 and has over 120 active members, including their board of directors and 9 working committees. 

We asked them to share with us the work that went into their 2023 NPD Celebration Luncheon and provide a roadmap for chapters who may be interested in replicating this success. Download the Chapter Spotlight: Share & Reapply Form to see key takeaways that you can use to improve your own chapter NPD event. 

Q: Who is responsible for the planning and implementation of your NPD event?
A: AFP Miami is blessed to have a dynamic and enthusiastic National Philanthropy Day (NPD) committee with 15 members. Over the course of the planning period, our committee meets monthly via Zoom as we strategize and direct the vision of the big day. Once we are roughly two months away from NPD, we meet every two to three weeks, ensuring we stay committed and focused on executing a successful and fruitful NPD. 

Years ago, the chapter made the decision that our incoming president-elect would be the chair of our NPD committee. This has helped to onboard the president-elect and more importantly, engage and involve them in the largest revenue generator for our chapter. Furthermore, it helps demonstrate to the incoming leader the importance of NPD and fosters a deeper connection between the president-elect and the NPD committee, as well as our members. On occasion, we include a co-chair to help distribute the work and complement the skillsets of two talented but differently skilled individuals, which this past year were Christine Perez, CFRE and Melida Matos. The inclusion of a co-chair also helps with cross training for NPD leaders, ultimately setting the event up for success. As our President, Melissa Wetzel, CFRE, always says “many hands make light work” and this leadership structure is a prime example!

In addition to the committee, we work with an event contractor, Arely PR, to facilitate logistics, sourcing vendors, securing sponsorships, ticketing, and the overall guest experience. We also work with a marketing consultant year-round, Valerie’s Marketing, to support communications, collateral, video content, and promotions for NPD.

Q: What type of promotion do you do for your event? How has this changed post-COVID or as technology has changed?
A: AFP Miami embraces a multi-channel approach to celebrate and include the local community in our NPD event. We use regular monthly e-newsletters to our members, our social media handles, press releases, and contact various chambers and community foundations to add the date to their calendars. In the weeks leading up to the big event, we distribute an NPD-only e-newsletter as well to ensure we are pumping the community up!  We also share prior honoree videos, often highly influential members in our community, to further promote participation from members and the community at large. Once our honorees have been selected, we feature individual spotlights, highlighting their achievements to build excitement and ticket sales. Our chapter has received press, post event, to help educate the community regarding the value and importance of NPD.  

Q: What recommendations do you have for chapters struggling to make their NPD events profitable?
A: Developing and incorporating a large and active committee with outlined benchmarks can really drive revenue and support. For the 2023 NPD, we set a goal for every member to secure at least two supporters (tickets, sponsorships, auction items, etc.) and two nominees. This not only set expectations of engagement from all members but made it a team effort without too much burden relying on a select number of individuals. Plus, with each member working to secure quality nominations for honorees, we were able to obtain highly influential honorees, encouraging many organizations, individuals, and elected officials to attend. We worked as a team to make NPD 2023 the “must attend philanthropic event” of the season.

Thanks to our event contractor and committee, we have been successful in managing expenses and securing as many in-kind or low-cost items as possible. For instance, by switching to a digital program book and donated floral decor, we were able to reduce expenses year-over-year by over 10%. 

Q: Have you had success with finding sponsors for the event or creating an exhibitor area?
A: By having quality honorees and promoting the event early on, we were able to secure a lot of fabulous sponsors. Plus, we added a year-round Chapter Sponsorship Program for groups wanting year-long recognition, with benefits including attendance at NPD. We also leaned on our nonprofit vendors to join us, which was incredibly helpful and beneficial not only to NPD, but the vendors. They were able to mingle with a nonprofit audience, always looking for solutions to improve their philanthropic efforts.

For NPD 2023, we added exhibitor booths right as guests walked into the ballroom. To incentivize guests to visit each booth, we incorporated passports where if individuals visited every booth, they’d be entered into a raffle to win auction items for themselves or to donate to an organization of their choice. Guests loved it and vendors were able to make connections with fundraisers, organizations, and honorees. Win-win-win!

Q: Do you recognize award recipients at your event?
A: AFP Miami recognizes honorees including Outstanding Philanthropist, Outstanding Volunteer, Community Engagement, and Corporate Citizenship in conjunction with the local Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Grantmaker Award and Youth in Philanthropy Award. As deemed appropriate, our board will also present special awards including Lifetime Achievement and Champion of Philanthropy.

We have an open call for nominations, conducting a multi-channel marketing approach. We partner with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the local Miami Foundation among others to encourage a robust selection of potential honorees.

AFP Miami utilizes a nomination subcommittee to select nominees, featuring a comprehensive rubric to establish a fair and equitable process.

As our chapter builds and grows our IDEA committee, we look forward to incorporating IDEA into our nominating and selection process. We are blessed with a passionate IDEA Committee Chair, Corey Brown, CFRE, dedicated to weaving IDEA throughout every part of NPD. 

Q: How are awardees recognized during your event? Do you do any recognition outside of the event such as press releases, etc.?
Q: We recognize honorees with a video where two individuals/organizations impacted by the honorees work to celebrate their achievements. Honorees are then brought to the stage to accept their award at the podium and if they so choose, speak at the podium. We have found this to be incredibly moving and successful. With honorees seeing the videos for the first time at NPD, they are often in tears of gratitude, making their acceptance speeches poignant and heartfelt.

Outside the event, we celebrate the honorees on our various marketing channels, in press releases, post releases, and through our partnership with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

We also host a pre-event party for honorees past and present, the NPD committee, and board, at a past honorees’ home.  

Q: How do you involve the local community in your event to promote a culture of philanthropy?
A: We engage the various Chambers of Commerce, community foundations, sister AFP chapters, and organizations like PhilanthropyMiami. We have a great relationship with local elected officials as well, including County Mayor, Levine Cava, and her team, and former AFP President, Pat Morris, who help us welcome everyone to the table. “Collaboration over competition”, is President Melissa Wetzel, CFREs’ mantra and we as a chapter embrace this in all areas of our work.

Q: What advice do you have for new NPD chairs? Was there anything that you learned while planning your event that other chapters could benefit from?
A: The three phrases we’d share for incoming NPD chairs are teamwork, goal setting, and starting early. Since we incorporate a large team for the committee, everyone has an opportunity to shine and contribute in their best way. With the inclusion of goal setting shared at the beginning of the process, everyone was on the same page and knew the expectations set forth. Finally, getting started early is KEY to success. After NPD 2023, we secured our date and venue for the following year the subsequent week. The sooner you and your team get started, the more likely you are to meet and exceed your goals!

Q: In what ways was your recent NPD event successful? Did you meet your goals for the event?
A: We were so proud of our collective achievements as a chapter. We exceeded our fundraising goal and our number of guests with over 400 attendees, had exceptional honorees, and received press coverage. We incorporated new revenue streams including exhibitor booths and chapter sponsors, all while cultivating a beautiful event. Best of all, the enthusiasm and energy in the room was palpable and feedback from elected officials to individual attendees was the same, “wow and how can I get involved next year.” Teamwork makes the dream work and with NPD 2023 eclipsing our expectations, we can’t wait to see how 2024 shines!

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Read More

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