It was a lovely morning at the Chelsea Pier Lighthouse, complete with a wonderful breakfast and an array of fundraising professionals all awaiting insight from AFP Interim President, Jason Lee, and the announcements of current board and committee members.
Jason held the audience's attention as he told a story juxtaposing the success of Duran Duran vs. U2 with the evolution of the fundraising profession. While occassionally adding in quips about his family life, Jason kept the mood light-hearted yet purposeful.
The final set was a panel discussion comprising
- Joseph P. Benincasa, President and CEO of The Actors Fund
- Elizabeth Cooke, President of Neuberger Berman Foundation
- Heather Nesle, President of New York Life Foundation and VP or New York Life Insurance Company
- Joseph Patuleia, Executive Director of Madison Square Boys & Girls Club
These industry juggernauts addressed hot topics such as the impending Trump Tax Plan, which some handled by encouraging paying off outstanding pledges and urging early payments on installment gifts to ensure a tax-advantage for their donors.
The event was concluded by each panelist giving 3 criteria they deemed necessary to be a top fundraiser, some of them being:
- Know your organization's mission and believe it
- Be a good listener
- Always have a plan
- Learn to be a good storyteller
- Know the statistics surrounding your mission
- Research your audience
- Keep your tech skills current
- Stay professional
- Develop your editorial skills
It was a great way to start the philanthropic year!