The secret is in the follow up! AFP Congress 2011

They say it’s not how you start
but how you finish.

The networking secret is actually in the follow up.

So another AFP Congress is closing up
You went to sessions, nuggets of wisdom
Maybe an afterparty, connections made
Had a pace-buddy? Bonded with a crew?
Close the deal my friend – my humble suggestions:

1) EMAIL – Every card you picked up.
Don’t lose even the lightest connections made. You never know when you’ll need their help or when they can help you!

2) Write a card.
Handwritten yes!! The internet has killed civility! Bring it back by picking up a blank card, writing a note about the impact this person had on you, what you learned from them ( speaker at a session, someone you had a great conversation with, someone who taught you something ) and throw in a business card ( yes, even if you already gave them one )

3) Do the social media thing.
Notice, this is #3. Yes I’m the LinkedIn enthusiast and I’m telling you DON’T send connection requests to everyone you met – do you go steady before the first date? Spend some time before you write their name in ink in your digital-addressbook. DO follow them on Twitter though! It’s the passive non-intrusive networking tool so follow everyone you met!

4) MAKE a meeting – connect some how.
That thing on your desk that makes noise now and then? It’s a phone, call someone in town and if they’re out of town ask them when they’ll be in town. If you met someone who rocked your Congress off – make a meeting happen. Keep the learning going.
And lastly – Action!
Go over your notes in max 1 hour
Triage on Post-It notes: Ideas for you, for others, for 2012
Put them out of sight but in your path when you return
I know, lots of digging out to do, it’s year-end after all.

I had an absolute blast being on the Twitter team and am grateful to the Congress team for their welcoming dynamic attitude.

We all congratulate Cynthia, Dorothea, Chris and the Volunteer leaders on a job bloody well done – home stretch people!

Finish your race delegates but remember, if you don’t follow up.
What do you really gain from attending?

Want to prove to your organization it was worth sending you?
Show them the money! And you’ll make MORE – if you follow up.


45 seconds and not a second more

Business Networking International is not just an inspiration because they’re great at networking, are focused on actual revenue but I love their motto:
Givers Gain.

Today I visited a super-chapter in Toronto
hosted by my networking superhero Lisa Taylor of Challenge Factory

They have an exercise that I adore. 
It reminds me how shabby my networking is. 
A 45 second introduction.Sounds easy right?

My tips for what to include in your 45 seconds:
– Who you are, name of your company
– What you do, 20 seconds MAX!
– What your ideal client referral looks like
– What problem you solve, how you can help others- A story of what good business looks like for you
– Humour
– Close with repetition of who you are, company name

Some used iphone stopwatches, most didn’t.

Get working on yours, practice it daily.
BNI is the Ninja training of networking
This is the Wushu school of business

For anyone in business, consider joining your local
It will make you money
It will change your life


Get thee to AFP Congress! My story

You changed my life when we first met.
You have helped so many, you give so much.
I respect you, I want to be with you
and now, we can be together.
AFP Congress, you had me at hello.

In 2000 I got a job in fundraising
but it was my first Congress in 2001 when I knew this would be my career.

Like so many fundraisers,
at work, I was a leper,
an ambulance chaser
the person sent after little old ladies for bequests
A necessary evil

And I show up to this huge conference,
full of peers it wasn’t just about the learning,
but there was much to learn
it was about the vendors, information sharing, networking

Here, people knew my worth and value
I am a bit of a romantic and I love the changing of the seasons.
That first day when I left Congress I walked up University Ave.
The sky opened up, and the first snow fell
And I was transformed, in a phone booth

I wrote my personal mission statement
scribbled it in that booth, it serves me to this day.
Since then I went back a few more times learned so much,
made so many connections but then, something changed.
You see, like event, telephone and direct mail fundraisers
I am a specialist, a gift planner

We are served skillfully by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners
who embraces charity staff and financial/legal advisors alike
So for a number of years I could only be a member of CAGP
I got to a few AFP sessions but not many
I missed that big picture, the community spirit,
the professional diversity and networking big picture
I needed to get back

So in 2004 I snuck into Congress as a woman!
Sorry, no cross-dressing involved
– the huge org I worked for let 15+ of us share a registration,
we had to hand off the nametag to each other on breaks
A wonderful peer named Alexandra, (code name Alex)
handed me a nametag in the washroom area and I was back in!!

The glory and pageantry of the awards luncheon!
The engaging and dynamic exhibitors!
Jaded vets and doe-eyed newbies all networking, solving problems
It was like a spa-day for your professional soul
Screw chicken soup- Congress is what the doctor really ordered.

Since then, the investment of many mentors and my passion for planned giving has allowed me to attend as a speaker a few times. A supporter and at times fan. At times groupie, I’ve crashed the party for the past couple years

To bring new members into the fold
to promote Canada’s largest fundraising conference
and the wonderful book booth too few people visit

This year, AFP has asked me to participate in a number of ways
speaking at sessions and helping with networking programs.
My current employer agrees as I do
– Canadian philanthropy is better because of AFP
we need to cultivate and grow membership and the network
so I am again, for the first time in almost seven years
A proud member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals!

Although, I’m no longer a “fundraiser” on paper
I am still a charitable gift planner
I will always be a fan,
a groupie, permission or not, because of my debt to repay

So I won’t be at the whole conference but I’ll be there Monday night to network run a book booth tour and to contribute to the evening dinner dine-around

Wednesday night, I’ll be running my “unofficial” after-party for the wonderful students of Humber and ANY others who wish to join us

But if you are a stranger
Maybe you are on the fence
let me share – it’s worth it.
Every penny, every moment invested

Let’s be honest,
the public
doesn’t like fundraisers
no one
likes fundraising
who stands up for what we do
who believes
in the excellence of how we do it?
A F P – that’s who

Fraser Green, one of those veteran fundraisers talks about saving your soul in his latest book

You will save it here
Passion starts here

Come with me
Crash with me
AFP rules


Ps. This is not meant to be smart or witty
I’m not a fundraising superstar, a leader or big name
I’m just some dork who loves what we do, believes it’s awesome
THIS is how Congress makes me feel,
about us, about our profession and what we do