Sorry about not being able to post yesterday, but it was a crazy busy day because I was one of the co-chairs for Fox West Philanthropic Network’s first ever Philanthropy Day celebration. There was lots to do and I was up early and running around.
Huh? What? You’re not sure what Philanthropy Day is all about? Well, let me tell you . . .
History of Philanthropy Day
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed November 15th to be National Philanthropy Day. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has championed this annual celebration and countless local AFP chapters do a variety of things to celebrate this holiday. Here is how AFP describes National Philanthropy Day on their website:
In 2013, more than 100 communities and 50,000 people around the world will participate in NPD events and celebrations. These events include award ceremonies, galas, luncheons, seminars and other special events. Outstanding donors, volunteers, corporations, foundations, small businesses, youth in philanthropy and others will be honored on NPD in recognition of their work in improving their communities and their world every day.
If you want a more comprehensive history of National Philathropy Day, you definitely want to check out a 2010 online video interview of Lynn Schrader, who is a CFRE and owner of The Schrader Group LLC. The interview was produced by our friends at 501Videos.com and creators of Monday Movies for Fundraising Professionals.
It really is a great little five-minute video that I hope you find time to watch.
Positioning Your Board for More Effective Fundraising
Dani Robbins, who is the strategist, founder and principal of Non Profit Evolution in Columbus, Ohio and the non-profit expert at answers.com, was the trainer and lunch keynote speaker for Fox West Philanthropic Network’s (FWPN) first ever Philanthropy Day celebration.
The morning training was titled “Positioning Your Board for More Effective Fundraising“.
Dani’s teachable point of view can best be summed up as:
- It all starts with your board
- Board volunteers are some of your best donors
- How you identify and recruit board members is the key to your success
The following are steps that every good board development process should include:
Later in her presentation, Dani talked about the importance of engagement. She shared the following nine volunteer engagement principles:
- Mission Focus
- Setting Expectations
- Training & Education
- Well run & important meetings
- Celebration & recognition
Lunch: Celebrating 100 years of philanthropy
FWPN honored the Biggins family and American City Bureau for their work in the non-profit sector over the last 100 years. In addition to their work, John and his sister Leslie have volunteered for countless charities, and John was and still is instrumental in the success of FWPN.
Just this last summer Michael Chatman, social media and radio host of #WHYiGIVE, released a list of “America’s Top 40 Most Effective Fundraising Consultants” and ranked Leslie Biggins-Mollsen as number three on that list.
Philanthropy in America has been and is being shaped by the Biggins Family. There can be no question about it.
If you want to read more about John and Leslie’s father — James Biggins — then click here and read about a man who wove philanthropy into his family’s DNA and built our country’s oldest fundraising consulting firm.
Keynote: Not Fundraising? Not Engaged!
Dani Robbins, who is also the co-author of Innovative Leadership Workbook for Nonprofit Executives, delivered FWPN’s lunch keynote titled “Not Fundraising? Not Engaged!”
Dani’s teachable point of view can best be summed up as:
- If your board isn’t fundraising, then you likely have a board development or engagement problem
- Non-profits spend too much time in board meetings talking about finances, fundraising, and day-to-day challenges
- If you want a more engaged board, then facilitate more strategic and generative discussions in the boardroom
Dani is a big fan of Richard Chait and talked a lot about his three modes of governance — fiduciary, strategic and generative. She shared examples of each style of governance. She also shared the following eight techniques that can be used to get a board into the generative mode:
- Silent starts
- One minute memos
- Future perfect history
- Counter points
- Role play
Click here to learn a little more about these techniques or invest a few bucks on Amazon.com and buy one of Chait’s books. 😉
Not speed dating . . . speed training
After lunch, the following five trainers facilitated short roundtable discussions and participants were allowed to rotate between table topics every 20-minutes:
- Social media — Katie Price of Design Big Dreams
- Capital Campaigns & Major Gifts — John Biggins of American City Bureau
- Foundations — Ralph Voris of The Ralph D. Voris Advisory Fund (as part of the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley)
- Direct Mail — Kristen Eagen of Meyer Partners
- Annual Campaigns — Erik Anderson of The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
Your National Philanthropy Day celebration?
So, I’ve just highlighted how FWPN celebrated National Philanthropy Day in 2013. It was a mixture of:
- training / professional development
However, you don’t need to do it that way.
There are countless ways for you to celebrate this special day. Click here to check out the AFP website which has lots of resources and ideas. Click here to visit the official National Philanthropy Day website.
Our country is one of the most philanthropic nations on the planet. How will your agency, service club, or professional development network celebrate this phenomenon this year? Or how are you planning to get your first ever Philanthropy Day celebration off the ground next year? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts, experiences, plans and ideas. We can inspire each other to greatness!
Here’s to your health! (And Happy Philanthropy Day)
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC