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Conference Aimed At Building Skills Of Central Valley Fundraisers

A crowd of over 70 members of the fundraising community came together Friday, Oct. 11 to celebrate their passion for giving. Sessions were held for both beginners and advanced fundraisers. The Association of Fundraising Professionals - Yosemite Chapter has held these professional development conferences every other year since the chapter formed in 1997-98.

The event featured six speakers with nearly 200 combined years of experience in the industry who brought talks that ranged from tips and tricks, capital campaigns, year-end fundraising, planned gifts, and relationship building. Attendees were treated to breakfast and lunch provided by a variety of caterers including Apple Spice, Nicolau Farms, Fuzio, Greens and Foxwood Catering. The day was filled with networking, knowledge, inspiration, and passion.

“Our goal was to bring the same high quality discussions from the AFP International Conference held in San Antonio this past March to our Valley fundraising professionals,” said event co-chair Rochele Roura-Foster, who attended the Conference with other AFP, Yosemite Chapter members. “It was such a pleasure to work with the many community members and guests from outside our community to bring this knowledge to our event.”

Ideas shared during the day included Amy Wolfe, President and CEO at Ag Safe, whose talk “Small Shop Success: Juggling 101 – Knowing How to Keep the Right Development Balls in the Air” discussed the challenges of finding the right use of human and financial resources in a small shop to further their development program.

Kristen Kenyon, Major Gifts Officer at Community Hospice Foundation, draws on more than 25 years of experience to speak with attendees on “How to Structure a Capital Campaign.” She covered everything from strategic planning, messaging, budgeting and how the campaign could impact your overall development program.

Independent Consultant, Catherine Connolly, MBA, CFRE, presented “Year-End Fundraising: How to maximize results at this important time of year,” laying out the various elements needed to maximize income for a successful year end. Attendees walked away with a list of priorities and next steps for the year-end strategy.

Organizational and Leadership Coach Kate Trompetter presented “The Relationship Every Development Director Needs” focusing on the important relationship with the Board of Directors. She shared best practices for how to cultivate it and how to sustain those relationships.

Anthony Alonso, CVFC Keynote Speaker and President of Catapult Fundraising, brought his 30 plus years of experience to address both the Keynote Session, “Technology Doesn’t Build Relationships; You Do!” and an afternoon session, “Your Next Planned Gift is Just a Phone Call Away!” Alonso covered the most effective ways of incorporating today’s technological offerings into your fundraising efforts. In his afternoon session he shared techniques for identifying planned giving prospects, soliciting potential donors, and closing the gift over the phone. He shared strategy for an effective and profitable planned giving marketing and solicitation plan.

Gallo Center for the Arts Director of Development, Amber Flores, enthusiastically shared her tips and tricks for multi-channel fundraising. Flores covered direct mail, email solicitations, social media, peer fundraising and phone solicitations.

The event concluded with the closing session, “Not Just a Job,” where everyone was reminded about why they do what they do with testimony from those impacted by the work that these fundraising professionals do. The organizations represented were: Howard Training Center (David Maldonado), Modesto Symphony Youth Chorus (Amy Bloomgarden), Modesto Junior College Foundation (Lionel Smith), Humane Society of Stanislaus County (Persefini Quintero). Attendees were also fortunate to hear from David Barnes, Fundraising Guru, who shared his insight from over 52 years in the fundraising profession. It was also announced that the “Outstanding Fundraising Professional” award for National Philanthropy Day (Fall of 2020) will now be named after him.

The event was hosted by the Yosemite Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

“The conference could not have happened without the dynamic speakers, enthusiastic attendees and of course the amazing conference partners, Sutter Health, Stanislaus Community Foundation, The Mary Stuart Rogers Foundation and Ciccarelli Jewelers,” added Roura-Foster.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals - Yosemite Chapter encompasses the mid-Central Valley of California, with members from Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne counties. The Association promotes professional development, networking, and volunteer opportunities.