National Philanthropy Day is November 15th

philathropy dayGood morning everyone! I’m up early and running out the door to my local fundraising chapter’s National Philanthropy Day celebration in the Fox River Valley in Illinois. As I busily through things together and guzzle coffee, I’ve been wondering how you plan on spending your Philanthropy Day (which is officially on November 15, 2014).
According to the Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Philanthropy Day is described as follows:

“Philanthropy is “the love of humankind,” and National Philanthropy Day® (NPD)—November 15—is the day that thousands of people around the world come together to both (1) put that word into action and (2) recognize the change that word has brought to our communities.
NPD is a celebration of philanthropy—giving, volunteering and charitable engagement—that highlights the accomplishments, large and small, that philanthropy—and all those involved in the philanthropic process—makes to our society and our world.
National Philanthropy Day® is both an official day and a grassroots movement. Every year, since 1986 when President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed November 15th as National Philanthropy Day®, communities across the globe have celebrated by hosting events to recognize activities of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations, and others engaged in philanthropy.”

For more information, click here to check out the Philanthropy Day website.
Here is the amazing thing about this special day. You don’t have to register for a conference or all-day special training event to participate in Philanthropy Day. In my opinion, here are just a few things you could do to have your own personal celebration:

  • Make a contribution to your favorite non-profit organization
  • Pick-up the phone, call a donor, and say thanks (or tell them how much you admire their commitment)
  • Volunteer a few hours at a local non-profit agency
  • Reach out and help a neighbor with something like raking leaves or driving them to an appointment

So, think it over and then scroll down to the comment box. I would like to hear how you plan on celebrating National Philanthropy Day this year.
Here’s to your health!
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Hip Hip Hooray for Philanthropy Day

philanthropy day 2013Sorry 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 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.
inspired boardPositioning 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, 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:

  1. Identify
  2. Cultivate
  3. Recruit
  4. Orient
  5. Involve
  6. Educate
  7. Evaluate
  8. Rotate

Later in her presentation, Dani talked about the importance of engagement. She shared the following nine volunteer engagement principles:

  1. Mission Focus
  2. Planning
  3. Setting Expectations
  4. Training & Education
  5. Organization
  6. Well run & important meetings
  7. Accountability
  8. Urgency
  9. Celebration & recognition

James-Biggins-208x300Lunch: 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

chait modes of governanceDani 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:

  1. Silent starts
  2. One minute memos
  3. Future perfect history
  4. Counter points
  5. Role play
  6. Breakouts
  7. Simulations
  8. Surveys

Click here to learn a little more about these techniques or invest a few bucks on 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:

Your National Philanthropy Day celebration?
So, I’ve just highlighted how FWPN celebrated National Philanthropy Day in 2013. It was a mixture of:

  • networking
  • training / professional development
  • recognition

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)
Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

A Philanthropy Day present for you

As I explained in Tuesday’s post titled “Happy Philanthropy Day 2012,” I was in Rochester, MN helping the Southern Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals celebrate National Philanthropy Day. There were awards for philanthropists and fundraisers. Training sessions were offered to both staff and board. It was uplifting, celebratory, engaging, and education.

People typically turn holidays into opportunities for gift giving, and I don’t believe Philanthropy Day should be any different. Obviously, the Southern Minnesota Chapter was very thoughtful in their gift giving when they decided to give the gifts of recognition and professional development to their members and the Rochester community’s philanthropic community.

When I thought about what I should give the readers of this blog for Philanthropy Day, it was an idea that came to me very quickly.

At the end of one of the training sessions I had facilitated, I asked that very talented group of fundraising professionals to engage in a brainstorming session around what a set of donor centered fundraising policies might look like for a typical non-profit organization. I did this because in my travels I just haven’t seen many agencies tackling this project. So, my gift to you this Philanthropy Day is that I will share the results from that exercise. (A special thanks to the Southern Minnesota Chapter for collaborating with me on this gift.)

Before I begin, I should mention that there was a robust discussion about whether or not this list should be “policies” or something else (e.g. practices, procedures, parts of a plan). Regardless, we did build consensus around the idea that this list should begin with a “P”.   😉

The following is a draft list of ideas and is intended to get you and your resource development committee discussing possibilities:

  • [gifts of X amount] get a phone call from a board volunteer within [Y number of days] of sending out the initial acknowledgement letter.
  • [gifts of X amount] get a phone call from a volunteer and client within [Y number of weeks or months] of sending out the initial acknowledgement letter. This call should include verbiage that conveys a sense of what the donor’s contribution has helped produce.
  • A written policy on when to “discontinue contact” with a donor.
  • A written policy that speaks to the idea of how to handle donor data (e.g. sale of lists, distribution of reports, etc)
  • [asks of X amount] must always be done face-to-face with someone who has a relationship with the donor participating in the solicitation.
  • A written policy pertaining the collection, capture, and use of donor centered data (supported with training)
  • A procedure written about the board mentoring policy specific to how board members model participation in a donor centered fundraising program
  • A written policy about pledge payment options designed in a donor centered way (e.g. how about asking the donor to what is most convenient for them rather than just depending on them to check boxes on a form)
  • A written policy dealing with donor confidentiality of information (and perhaps engage donors in helping write that policy or give input via a focus group)
  • A written procedure for sending a personalized gift acknowledgement letter within [X number of days] that includes the following information: 1) confirmation that the gift was received, 2) expressed appreciation and excitement for the gift, and 3) a reaffirmation of what the gift will be used for.
  • A written policy or procedure clearly stating that there must be [X number of cultivation/stewardship touches] in between solicitations. (Note: the group who offered this recommendation suggested seven might be the right number)
  • A written policy or procedure on issuing a press release for all gifts larger than [X size gift]
  • A written policy or procedure on sending letters from beneficiaries/clients to donors to demonstrate thanks and illustrate impact/ROI.
  • A written policy or procedure on when a board member signature should appear on a gift acknowledgement letter
  • A written policy or procedure on when handwritten notes should be used in addition to the donor database generated letter
  • A written policy or procedure addressing the issue of when and with whom to use “events” to cultivate/steward donors (Note: please note they were not referencing fundraising events but rather friend-raising events)

Again,  a special thank you to the Southern Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for helping me produce a thoughtful blog post that doubles as a great Philanthropy Day gift.

What do you plan on doing on Philanthropy Day? It could be as simple as calling a special donor (regardless of whether or not they are a donor to your agency) and thanking them for what they do. Or you could scroll down and use the comment box below to add one more suggestion to the list that was started above.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847

Happy Philanthropy Day 2012

Today, I have the honor and privilege of being in Rochester, Minnesota to celebrate National Philanthropy Day with the Southern Minnesota Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

The way this chapter celebrates National Philanthropy Day, which is officially on the calendar this year for November 15th, is by hosting a day long conference for non-profit professionals as well as board and fundraising volunteers. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be the keynote speaker at the awards luncheon and facilitate both morning and afternoon training sessions.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of this holiday, I encourage you to click the link above to learn more, but here is a quick explanation from the AFP website:

“National Philanthropy Day®, November 15, is the special day set aside to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities and our world.”

Click here to view a brief video that is sure to pull your heart-strings:


Does your community celebrate National Philanthropy Day? If so, please share a little bit about your event in the comment box below. If not, why not plan your own celebration as a way of honoring your donors and volunteers?

In one of my sessions, I will engage local fundraising professionals and volunteers in a brainstorming exercise focused on what donor centered fundraising policies might look like. As my National Philanthropy Day gift to the readers of this blog, I will share some of their thoughts with you on Wednesday.

Please join me in honoring philanthropists . . . wish someone a Happy Philanthropy Day on November 15, 2012.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC!/eanderson847