Community Development Funds: Association of Fundraising Professionals

Two young pros had the chance to attend the Association of Fundraising Professional's Fundraising Bootcamp on September 13. 

This year, we're so excited to offer our members the chance to attend engaging and career-strengthening professional development events in the area, free of charge! YNPN Cleveland will pay the admission price of attending select professional development programming for accepted applicants. Cleveland has many incredible opportunities for young professionals to engage with their peers as well as with seasoned veterans in a variety of fields, and we're excited to offer this opportunity to our members. 

Two of our members attended the Association of Fundraising Professional's Fundraising Bootcamp on September 13. 

Cheryl Buffer, a freelance development director, and Carlynn Arthur, the Assistant Director of Alumni Relations & Development for Hiram College, both attended the event. 

Here the the key takeaways from two nonprofit pros: 

Fundraising Boot Camp covered all the bases of what to expect in advancing your career as a nonprofit development officer. The event began with some networking, introductions, and some information on the Association of Fundraising Professionals, AFP Greater Cleveland chapter resources.

Certified Fund Raising Executive accreditation

So, what is the CFRE? 

With more than 6,500 certificates worldwide, the CFRE is the gold-standard for nonprofit development officers to demonstrate our commitment to fundraising ethics. It can enhance our credibility in the field and lead to more personal satisfaction in our careers by equipping us with the tools to excel. Not to mention, Dan shared that having this certification can make nonprofit professionals more employable and lead to higher salaries. 

The exam is comprised of 200 multiple choice questions and takes four hours.

Crafting Your Organizational Message.

We’ve all heard some pretty bad elevator pitches that leave us with a gigantic question mark, sometimes visibly scratching our heads about what it is an organization does. Joe Mosbrook of Acclaim Communications helped us reframe that conundrum to tell our story in a way that sets us apart and inspires an emotional reaction, rather than simply a rational reaction.

We worked in small groups to test out how to add value to our stories, taking our existential statements like, “we serve youth through mentorships” to value statements like, “we serve more high schoolers than any other org in East Cleveland, where the success of our mentorship program is demonstrated by a 70% graduation rate,” for example. Joe offered some wisdom that can help us all to dig deep to find the story that illuminates our work. He suggested we tell the most important part of the story first. Think “inverted pyramid of information,” like a journalist would, to avoid burying the lead. But ask yourself, what is your goal for public perception? And will it resonate with the people you want to reach?

Foundation Relations

For part three of Fundraising Boot Camp, Dave Holmes from Candid led a great panel discussion with Robert Jaquay from the Gund Foundation, Tony Gattuso from the Cleveland Foundation, and Anne Goodman from St. Lukes Foundation.

It was great to hear from foundation officers about how philanthropy has changed and what we can do to create more meaningful partnerships, rather than transactional relationships with funders in our communities. Discussion ranged from articulating our mission (building on Joe’s message from the previous presentation) to social impact investing and serving our community in collaboration. Each panelist emphasized that at the end of the day, foundations are made up of human beings who are mission driven like us, who report to a board of directors like us, and who want to be good neighbors just like us. If we can crisp up our requests with a holistic understanding of how our organization and project proposal fits with the greater community, and if we can create authentic partnerships with foundation officers, we can serve everyone’s vision to move our community forward holistically.

Before approaching foundations: 

  • Know the mission of the organization you're applying to 
  • Have a relationship with the foundation
  • Know your own impact and the categories it falls into. 

The day ended on a note of inspiration -- that curious minds eager to learn can and should enjoy the success they bring to the community. I’m grateful to YNPN for giving me the opportunity to explore that curiosity that brought me to Fundraising Boot Camp, and for being that community to its members that are making a difference together through our network.

Cheryl and Carlynn are members of YNPN Cleveland and applied to our Community Development Funds program. To learn more about the program, or to discover future opportunities to apply, follow YNPN Cleveland on social media. 

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