Update: AFP IDEA Women’s Impact Initiative

The Alford Group is proud to sponsor the AFP IDEA Women’s Impact Initiative. Since its founding in 2018, the Initiative has conducted groundbreaking research on women’s issues in fundraising, created educational materials for charitable organizations and started a mentorship program that has guided and helped numerous women find their voice in the philanthropic profession.

So far this year, mentees in the mentorship program have each had an individual executive coaching session and have met with their mentors to develop both long- and short-term goals over the course of the program. Mentees have also been invited to attend virtual conferences, such as AFP ICON Virtual and a variety of educational sessions with complimentary registration. Since March of 2021, these educational sessions have focused on topics related to women’s issues in the philanthropic sector, encouraging women to build fulfilling and impactful careers. These session topics have included:

  • Finding Your Inner Mentor
  • Making Work-Life Balance Work for You
  • Women’s Guide to Personal Finance
  • Women of Color in Development and Fundraising
  • Imposter Syndrome

Upcoming sessions will include Mental Health and Resilience and a two-part workshop on Inclusive Leadership. Additionally, mentees have been encouraged to branch out and participate in other facets of AFP, creating upcoming content that centers their experience with the goal of helping others find their way.

From a mentee in the program:

“First of all, I think the level of interaction, programming reminders is just right! It did not feel over-curated or sterile, but authentic and warm. The sessions and webinars that I have participated in have been high quality and helpful. I love the focus on the some of the soft skills. I really appreciate the match-up with my mentor and for her time! I did not doubt that my mentor and I would get on great but at first was not sure what we might have in common – me from California and she from Ohio, she with the Girl Scouts and me with AARP Foundation! But the first time we met, little concerns were cast aside. I always look forward to our sessions – I appreciate that my mentor shares about her real life experiences and patiently listens to mine, and I really enjoy our shop talk! I feel very fortunate.”

For more information and news on the Women’s Impact Initiative, go to their website or take a look at the hashtag #WIILead on Twitter and Facebook.

For more content from AFP women leading the way, check out these blog posts:

From Charu Uppal, M.A., M.B.A., CFRE, mentee in the 2020 WII program: Equity in Development: Be Radically Intentional to Change the Lived Experiences of Diverse Fundraisers

 

 

From Danisha Bhaloo-Shivji, CFRE, member of AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative committee: Fundraising as a Choice and Not an Accident

Madam C.J. Walker: 3 Myths About Black Philanthropy Debunked

Why Make Ripples if You Can Cause an Avalanche?

By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

In celebration of Black Philanthropy Month, we have an opportunity to look more closely at stories that illustrate the depth and richness of Black philanthropy. There are many present-day stories that uplift, and behind their brilliance  are many stories of the previous generation that not only inspired, but created the springboard for those philanthropists whose impact we see every day. And there’s an incredible-but-true story from a previous century that evokes awe, admiration and, admittedly, a little anger.

Madam CJ Walker. Source: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History : Archives Center. P.O. Box 37012

I’m unhappy that I have only recently learned of this story that inspires so many – no matter your age, race, gender or economic circumstances – on so many levels. And it debunks so many myths about Black philanthropy; in fact, it recalibrates my personal notion of philanthropy and philanthropists.

You may have encountered the Netflix series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker. You may have heard about or even read Madam C. J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving by Tyrone McKinley Freeman. Both are worth the investment of time and attention during the month of August as we celebrate Black philanthropy.

But for those who may have only about 15 minutes and are curious about this topic, this blog is for you!

Continue reading “Madam C.J. Walker: 3 Myths About Black Philanthropy Debunked”

Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO

Where is your organization on its diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging journey? Would you describe it as being asleep, awake, woke or at work?

Wherever you and your organization lie on the continuum, it goes back to culture, values and intentionality toward creating a place where everyone can be their authentic selves and feel that they have acceptance, attention and support.

Organizations that value diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging as core to their culture – and integrate these principles into their practices – realize possibilities for their full potential being unlocked in the areas of decision-making, relevant programs and access to potential leaders and donors who might not otherwise become involved or contribute.

Unless your organization breathes life and action into its values, they are just empty words on your website or in your strategic plan.

How do your values show up within your organization? What would it mean to your organization’s image, reputation, programmatic impact, staff, leadership and donor engagement if there was a deepened commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging? Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: How to build a culture of equity and belonging within your organization”

Equity-Centered Philanthropy: Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Future

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, The Alford Group

On the heels of Black History Month and at the beginning of Women’s History Month, it is not lost on me that we need to celebrate diversity now more than ever. And it is important that we do not relegate our recognition of the contribution of Blacks and women to just one month.

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Sankofa means “go back and fetch it.” We must look back to the past so that we may understand how we became what we are, and move forward to a better future.

Sankofa is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The symbol, based on the mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward with its head turned backwards, serves as a reminder that the past serves as a guide for planning the future. It is the wisdom of looking back to look forward.

Diversity has been a core value of The Alford Group for our 41-year history and we recently renewed our commitment to fostering and creating adaptive cultures that are more inclusive and equitable in our work as a firm, with our clients and in the entire social sector. We are elevating equity-centered philanthropy as intentional action toward changing the structures, roles, processes, representation and practices that perpetuate inequities in how organizations communicate, engage and build relationships to support philanthropic endeavors.

Continue reading “Equity-Centered Philanthropy: Honoring the Past While Celebrating the Future”

Planning for the New Normal in 2021: The 3 Cornerstones to Success

By Karen Rotko-Wynn, CFRE, Chief Business Enterprise Officer, The Alford Group and Immediate Past-Chair of the AFP U.S. Foundation for Philanthropy

As I have stood side-by-side this last year with some of the brightest and most creative fundraisers that I know, I have continued to be amazed and in awe of the strength and utter tenacity of the individuals who lead our sector. It is an understatement to say it was an unusually challenging year. Continue reading “Planning for the New Normal in 2021: The 3 Cornerstones to Success”

Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting

By Michelle Bibbs, Associate Senior Consultant

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King

The start of a new year usually inspires goal-setting. In the social impact sector, we all strive for more than to just get things done. We aim to drive impact, to change outcomes – sometimes to change entire systems that affect outcomes for people and communities.

The times we are in have made clear that in order to make an impact for more of us, the nonprofit sector – like the public and private sectors – have to center inclusion and equity as core values and lean on those values to guide our work.

If we are not taking an equity-centered approach in our work, then we are only creating impact for some of us, not all.

If you change nothing, nothing changes.  Uncertain times demand that we constantly explore new ways to make change in our workplaces and communities.  In the current “new normal” the question becomes how? Continue reading “Be a SMARTIE: An Equity-Forward Approach to Goal Setting”

Giving USA and the New Age of Philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest

By Mariah Fosnight, Senior Client Service Associate, The Alford Group

Recently, The Alford Group and Columbia Bank co-hosted the presentation of the 2019 Giving USA data and hosted a panel of Pacific Northwest funders and philanthropists to discuss the findings and relate them to the current realities of giving in the region. The full recorded webinar, including 2019 data and panel discussion, may be found here.

Giving USA, published by the Giving USA Foundation, is part of the Giving Institute which is comprised of leading consulting firms including The Alford Group. Celebrating 65 years, this report is the longest running and most comprehensive and authoritative report on charitable giving in the United States.

Continue reading “Giving USA and the New Age of Philanthropy in the Pacific Northwest”

Find Your Path to a More Inclusive Workplace Culture

The Mid-Hudson Valley Association of Fundraising Professionals presents an action-packed webinar that will discuss how to assess your current culture and address building a positive culture of inclusion in the workplace.

MODERATOR: Brenda B. Asare, President & CEO, The Alford Group

PANELISTS:
Freddimir Garcia, Northern Regional Director for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, Westchester Medical Center

Inaudy Esposito, Executive Director, Orange County Human Rights
Commission

Slide Deck: Inclusive Workplace Webinar Slides

Celebrating Black Philanthropy

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, The Alford Group

Featuring:

Liz Thompson, President and Office Director, Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education (The CAFE)

Don Thompson, CEO and Founder, Cleveland Avenue, LLC

 

With the current events of the past five months, the world is learning how to overcome the discomfort of talking about race and are having some real courageous conversations on how we can move forward together to create lasting change for people of color. This change will create a ripple effect where others who have been marginalized will benefit and increase their ability to thrive as well – no one is left behind.

Continue reading “Celebrating Black Philanthropy”

Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment

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By JoAnn Yoshimoto, CFRE, Senior Consultant

Growing up in Kentucky during segregation, Jimmie Alford – The Alford Group’s founder – attended an all-white school, and didn’t experience racial diversity until the age of nine when his parents moved to Chicago. The move, due to the closing of coal mines, placed Jimmie’s family in a small apartment in the Englewood community. Jimmie was one of three white students in his third grade class of 40 students.

Along with his classmates, he understood economic diversity and its impact on themselves, their families and their community while living in extreme poverty within a predominantly affluent nation. He also directly and personally saw and felt the impact of discrimination. He decided at a young age that the injustice of discrimination was something he would never allow to penetrate his life and that he would work his entire life to eradicate it in all forms. Like many who grow up marginalized in one way or another, Jimmie vowed to lift himself out of his circumstances, make a better life and never forget the important life lessons learned along the way. His commitment to this goal was unwavering and steadfast.

While Jimmie passed away suddenly in 2012, his spirit and leadership remain with us as the nation and world grapple with the opportunity afforded by the Black Lives Matter movement and a renewed call for equity and social justice. We share his unwavering optimism that better days lie ahead when we all work together.

Diversity

Diversity is one of seven core values of The Alford Group, and one of Jimmie’s enduring “fingerprints” on the consulting firm he founded in 1979. One manifestation of this commitment is our 20+-year sponsorship of the Diversity Workshop and Diversity Art Showcase at the annual AFP International Conference. While our dedication to diversity and inclusiveness has remained resolute over the decades, the demographics of America – and thus the universe of donors and prospective donors – have changed dramatically. Lessons learned from diverse communities, and the shared values of diversity, equity and inclusiveness (DEI), are more relevant and more essential today than ever before. Continue reading “Diversity in Fundraising: Making a Long-Term Commitment”

Creating a Culture of Equity: Taking Action

By Brenda B. Asare, President and CEO, The Alford Group

How long can you hold your breath without passing out? A man with strong willpower can hold his breath for two to three minutes. You don’t need me to tell you what happens after eight minutes and 46 seconds of someone holding his knee on your neck.

As people across the world decry the dehumanizing death of George Floyd, it is not lost on me that African Americans have been holding their breath for over 400 years.

Continue reading “Creating a Culture of Equity: Taking Action”

Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising

Practical Ideas and Tools

By Mary Kaufman-Cranney, CFRE, Vice President

While presenting at a recent AFP lunch meeting, I asked the audience, “How many of you have at least a few board members engaged in your major gift fundraising efforts?” Not to my surprise, only a handful of the more than 100 fundraisers in the room raised their hands. Then I asked, “How many of your board members are passionate about your mission?” As you would imagine, everyone in the room raised their hand! So, how do we turn that passion into fundraising action? Here are a handful of tips and tools to get results: Continue reading “Five Tips: Engage Your Board in Major Gifts Fundraising”