Association of Fundraising Professionals
Greater Madison
Fall 2014 Member eNewsletter
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September 2014
In This Issue
President's Letter
Philanthropy Day Honorees announced & event reservation details
Nuggets of Wisdom from Chapter Scholarship Recipients
Apply for the Chamberlain Scholarship
New & Upcoming Events / Notes from the Q3 Roundtable discussion
Member News & Kudos
Quick Links
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President's Letter
2014 has been a great year for the Greater Madison AFP Chapter. What do I mean by great? Our membership continues to grow; we have had strong attendance at chapter meetings and other events; the 2014 Philanthropy Day awardees have been selected and announced and the event is well on its way to being sold out once again this year.

A new educational event added in 2014 was our AFP Madison and Milwaukee Chapter's joint conference held in August at the Country Springs Hotel in Pewaukee. The event was a huge success both in terms of the content provided, the number of attendees and the financial results of the event. Both chapters are considering more collaboration is the future which will benefit all of our professionals by not only providing more educational opportunities but also the chance to network and learn from each other. A special thank you to the Program Committee chairs of both chapters and to all of the members who helped to make the day so special. Also, thank you to everyone that donated raffle prizes!

Membership and engagement is important to the organization as new and renewing members are the life blood of our group. As you renew your membership consider encouraging a young professional to join AFP. Adam Erdmann and Annie Thym, chairs of the Membership Committee, are developing a new initiative to attract more young professionals to AFP. In addition, Sarah Linn, Young Professional Committee chair is hosting a Young Professional event in October. When you consider referring a colleague to AFP, remember those people just entering the profession and invite them to a chapter meeting or networking event and encourage them to join!

As always, I must emphasize in each President's Report that training is an important focus of the chapter. Please take advantage of the scholarships offered as there are funds available for most of the opportunities AFP presents. Contact Judy Brannstrom, Scholarship Chair, if you are interested in applying.

We hosted our annual AFP Happy Hour in July at Fresco's rooftop patio in Madison. Unfortunately Mother Nature did not get the memo -- the warm summer night we had hoped for did not materialize as the weather felt more like October than July! Being that we live in Wisconsin where the weather is never predictable, we all took the cool temperatures and raindrops in stride and had a great time anyway. The event gave us the opportunity to get to know each other better and sample the tasty appetizers and drinks at Fresco. Thank you to Adam Erdmann, Annie Thym and the Membership Committee for organizing this year's event.

Finally, please consider donating to AFP's Be the Cause campaign. There is still time to make a 2014 donation. Remember that a percentage of the funds donated are returned to our chapter and are used to offer even more scholarship opportunities. Any dollar amount is appreciated!

As always, thank you for your commitment and support of AFP. We have an excellent chapter due to your ongoing participation and enthusiasm.

Kirsten Houghton, CPA, MBA
Chapter President

2014 Philanthropy Day Honorees Announced 
Invitations have been mailed for the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon!

2014 Award Recipients are:









Philanthropy Day Luncheon - Get your tickets today!
Early Bird pricing ends October 1st! 

Join us at the event at 11:00 am on November 7 at the Overture Center.

Reservations are made online only this year, at this address:


Before October 1: $75
After October 1: $100

Nuggets of Wisdom from Chapter Scholarship Recipients
Five Madison Chapter members won scholarships to the Wisconsin Development Professionals Conference on August 13.  They are sending their thanks to the chapter,
along with nuggets of wisdom from the conference ....

From David Mossner at Oakwood Foundation:
Dear Friends in the Madison Chapter:
Thank you! Because of you, I'm on my way to becoming a new and improved writer. You opened my eyes to look past the place I work and into the hearts of donors. Your fore-thought to provide scholarships so AFP members like me could attend, is truly humbling. Your investment is worth it, as your generous gift provided me a new lease on my professional life.
David Mossner
P.S. Your gift not only enabled me to learn about writing donor-centric appeal letters from Tom Ahern, but also how write a proper thank you (hopefully, like this one)!

From Michele Traband at American Players Theater:
Here are a few of the many good lessons learned at the conference:
1. It costs $1.25 to raise $1 from a new, first-time donor. It only costs $.20 to raise $1 from a donor who gave last year.
2. If you increase the level of donor retention by 10%, you improve the net growth in giving by 50%. (Both Melissa Brown AND Tom Ahern used this tidbit in their presentations.)
3. Growth in Giving reports: Anyone who is an AFP member has access to this tool to help analyze your organization's overall fundraising gains and losses over several years to identify trends and help come up with a thorough development plan. To access this tool and plug in your organization's data, go to: under Growth in Giving Measurement Tools.

From Patricia Eldred, CFRE
Tom Ahern is an experienced and entertaining speaker and his full-day workshop at the Madison/Milwaukee joint conference on August 13 focused on making our donors the center of our fund development efforts. First, Tom cautioned we must really know our donors. I think most of us were surprised to learn that in the donor universe, a 60 year-old donor is a young donor. In fact, 46% of donors are over age 65. We need to be aware of what the donor wants and needs from the giving transaction and develop our materials, whether case statements, newsletters or appeals with that in mind. Lose the jargon, Tom advised, and write to the donor's emotion. "Don't be afraid to show the ugly," because donors will more likely respond to the "sad" in our messages because they want to help turn it into "happy." "If there are no problems to solve, donors have nothing to do." Above all, make the donor feel appreciated. Don't talk about what WE do but how what YOU (the donor) are contributing is making the world a better place and don't forget to thank the donor generously and often. Always practice "indiscriminate donor hugging."

From Terry Letvinchuck, Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, Fond du Lac:
And my nugget? I thought Tom Ahern was outstanding! He offered so many tidbits of information that even the most seasoned development professional would still benefit from his presentation!
I loved his comment, Don't be afraid to show the ugly! I have been saying something like that in my office for the past three years and it finally is put into words that my leadership may understand.
Build a successful case backward: from your donor, not your boss.
Make our communications faster! Fewer words, better pictures
What do readers really look at:
Artwork      80%
Photos       75%
Headlines  56%
Briefs         31%
Captions    29%
Text           25%
(Source: Ann Wylie)

From Rhonda Thompson, Care Net Pregnancy Center of Dane County:

Donor Centricity involves writing to donors like I am having a conversation, using the word "you" a lot and telling donors how they have made sad become happy. I loved that I can implement many practical suggestions immediately including:

Use a 14 pt. font because the average donor is 60 years old.

Eliminate jargon - even words like empower, partnership and support.

Use Microsoft Word Readability to check how readable my writing is.

Tell lots of stories about how our donors are the heroes or have created a happy ending.

These simple yet practical ideas are things we can implement right away to make our communications more donor-centric.


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Will you be our Chapter's next Chamberlain Scholar? 
Announcing the 2015 AFP Foundation Chamberlain Scholarship
Deadline to Apply: October 10, 2014

The Chamberlain Scholarship is awarded to one AFP - Madison Chapter member who has never before attended an AFP International Conference on Philanthropy.  Will you be the lucky winner to attend the 2015 conference?  With over 4000 attendees, 300 exhibitors, and more than 150 education sessions, this annual conference is a big deal!  Whether you are brand new or seasoned in the field of development, this will be an outstanding professional learning and networking opportunity.  

The Chamberlain Scholarship covers the recipient's conference registration fee (minus a $10 processing fee) to attend the AFP International Conference on Philanthropy, March 29-31, 2015 in Baltimore, MD.  (Typical registration fee for the conference would be $595+!)  In addition, the Madison Chapter provides an extra $500 scholarship for the selected Chamberlain Scholar to use for travel and lodging expenses incurred to attend the conference.

You will find the Chamberlain Scholarship application on the chapter website:  Go to Member Resources, and then choose Scholarships. Please apply by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 10, 2014.  The Scholarship Committee will review all applications and announce the Chapter's 2015 Chamberlain Scholar by October 15, 2014.

$50 Professional of Associate New Member Discount!
In honor of National Philanthropy Day, AFP will be offering a $50.00 discount to new members joining in the Professional or Associate member category by November 30, 2014.

The discount applies to $50.00 off the International portion of the dues. Fill out the membership invitation as usual, but deduct $50.00 from the total and include this coupon with your payment. *Coupon must be included with payment.

To join online, go to and use Promo Code: NPD2014 One coupon per new member. Expires November 30, 2014 

Questions, call the AFP Membership Department at (800) 666-3863

Upcoming Events
Click on the links below for more details and to register!

10/8: Webinar - watch from your home or office!
"Getting Your Organization Onboard with Fundraising" - presented by Andrea McManus, CFRE

Hear from two local fundraising professionals about the paths that their careers have taken. Then, spend some time networking with our special guests and with your fellow young professionals.

10/21: Affinity Circles - last session in 2014!
Do you want to talk with development professionals who share your experiences, concerns, and challenges? Check out the Management Affinity Circle. Are you new to the field with less than 5 years of practice OR a seasoned veteran who manages people and budgets in addition to raising money? Then the Fundamentals Affinity Circle is for you.

10/21: October Chapter Meeting - Join us for a moderated panel discussion regarding the role of the nonprofit in creating a more equitable community.

10/30: Q4 Roundtable -  Building a Donor Pipeline
 Registration for the Q4 Roundtable will open in early October.

To review the notes from the Q3 Roundtable discussions in July 
and then choose "Review the Notes from the Discussion"
Member Kudos and News 

Congratulations to our Board President, Kirsten Houghton who was promoted to Principal at SVA Certified Public Accountants, S.C. as of September 1, 2014.  Kirsten's role as the head of their Nonprofit Services Group continues. 

Monica Wahlberg, AFP Greater Madison member, has a new elevated role at WEDC as their International Grants Manager.  Congratulations Monica on this new full-time permanent positions! 

Some news from Board member Jenni Collins:
In June, with scholarship support from Greater Madison AFP, I attended the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas. Our AFP chapter often provides scholarships to reduce costs for our own programs like the CFRE, but did you know it supports field-based professional development?

As a professional fundraiser, our career path sometimes takes us into different disciplines. I have spent much of my time in the arts, but have dabbled in historic preservation and even higher education. I have been with Madison Public Library Foundation for almost four years, and it seems I was overdue to delve into this field and gain more specific discipline-based knowledge.

ALA is a HUGE conference, with over 25,000 attendees utilizing the convention center and various hotels around town. I specifically wanted to attend as I had recently gotten involved in an online forum where other urban library fundraisers were sharing information. I wanted to meet those I was conversing with online! We arranged several opportunities to get together over the course of the conference and in between I attended workshops, met authors and publishers, and enjoyed the expo. There is nothing like a conference to immerse you in the field. Thank you AFP for supporting my endeavors in life-long learning.

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Thank you to our recent Chapter Meeting sponsors!

If your organization is interested in sponsoring a chapter meeting, please contact
Jenni Collins at