AFP News

Canada Heads to AFP ICON

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“When I lived in the United States for a few years, I used to joke that the only time Canada ever made the news was when a cold front was coming, which meant snow,” says Paula Attfield, chair of AFP Canada.

“The truth is, there’s so much more to Canada, including a robust fundraising profession full of innovative ideas and tremendous talent and leadership.”

Canadian fundraising professionals will be out in full force in Baltimore, Md., from March 29 to 31, to share their ideas at AFP ICON, the “world’s largest conference for fundraising professionals.”

More than 3,500 people from North America and beyond attend ICON, which will feature author and humanitarian, Zainab Salbi, as the opening speaker and TV chef, Jose Andres, delivering closing remarks to the conference.

Between the opening and closing bells, the conference is featuring “100 sector-shifting sessions covering the most important topics in fundraising and countless ways to grow your network.”

Fifteen of those sessions will be delivered by 19 fundraisers currently practicing in Canada.

Facilitating diversity and racial equity continues to be of vital interest in Canada and beyond. AFP Diversity and Inclusion Fellow Sharon Redsky will explore the unique role the sector can play in contributing to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in her session, What Does Truth and Reconciliation Mean in the Philanthropic Sector?

Krishan Mehta, assistant vice president, engagement, at Ryerson University will talk about the ways in which your organization can build bridges with first- and second-generation Indian immigrants in New Delhi to New York and Mumbai to Montreal: Indian Immigrants Make Their Philanthropic Mark. Guenther Reesor, Ann Rosenfield and Irshad Osman will present ideas and tips for understanding and communicating with people of faith in their session, A Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew Walk into a Room....

Fundraisers across the globe are concerned about working in increasingly toxic and stressful environments. AFP stalwarts Ligia Pena, CFRE, and Beth Ann Locke will deliver workshops to address those issues. Pena will help participants recognize burnout in themselves and those around them at Fundraiser Burnout: How Well Are We Looking After Ourselves? In her workshop, Killing It on the Job When the Job Is Killing You, Locke will talk about how to tell the difference between typical pressures and toxic stressors. Pena is also delivering a session on how to build a planned giving program with Embracing the Power of Your Legacy Pipeline.

Sam Laprade, a well-known conference speaker, will be covering two topics—one session on crisis management, Oh No! Ready for a Crisis? Prepare for the Day You Hope Never Comes, and another on analytics and management: Fish in Your Own Pond: Combining Analytics and Stewardship to Raise More Money. Kim Ades, author and entrepreneur, will address tangible strategies for overcoming leadership obstacles in Key Thinking Strategies of Phenomenal Leaders.

VP of Public Affairs at the AFP Greater Toronto Chapter and interim chair of the chapter’s Insights Committee Juniper Locilento, CFRE, will draw on recent research to explore why a general distrust of professional fundraising persists and how the sector can counter it in Let’s Talk About Trust: Professional Fundraising and Public Perception.

Additional skills-building workshops, long a mainstay of AFP conferences the world over, being led by Canadian presenters include:

  • The Neuroscience of Legacy Giving (Holly Wagg, CFRE, managing partner and head counsel at Good Works)
  • Combining Analytics and Stewardship to Raise More Money (Wes Moon, co-founder and COO at Wisely, and Kirk Schmidt, director, fundraising analytics and systems at STARS Air Ambulance)
  • One Voice, Endless Possibilities: A Guide to Integrated Fundraising (Maeve Strathy, fundraising strategist at Blakely Inc and Ericka Tovey, CFRE, senior director, philanthropy, St. Michael's Hospital Foundation)
  • The Three-Legged Race: Engaging the Next Generation of Volunteer Leadership & Major Gift Donors (Nancy Horvath, CFRE, director of major gifts at SickKids Foundation and Christina Sorbara, campaign cabinet volunteer)

And, as AFP itself considers how to define the profession of fundraising in Canada, Jennifer Johnstone, president & CEO of Central City Foundation in Vancouver, along with Ian MacQuillin, founder and director of the international fundraising think tank Rogare, will deliver a session on the Canadian fundraising narrative.

“As the world is shrinking, and facing disruption, I’ve always been passionate about learning from other countries” continued Attfield. “It’s not just a nice thing to do—if we want to be successful in our jobs, it’s a necessity.”

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