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7 Tips To Make Thank-You Messages Memorable

If you’re like most people, you appreciate recognition for your kindness or generosity.

I’ve donated to many organizations in the last few years. But when I think about all the thank-you messages I’ve received, only two made a lasting impression.

One was a call from a board president. The other was a personalized message from a volunteer. Both were thoughtful and remain top-of-mind.

Saying “Thank You” is a vital part of a comprehensive donor stewardship plan.

Community Partnership! WYC, Little John’s Team Up

When Little John's Kitchen reached out to Elver Park Neighborhood Center, operated by Wisconsin Youth Company, it was the middle of 2020. We were still in the process of discovering how to provide services to children and families in the midst of a global pandemic. We weren't ready for a partnership, but Little John's Kitchen said "That's ok. Call us when you're ready."

Welcome aboard! Say hello to 6 new board members

A total of six new board members joined the team at our latest meeting in January 2022. We’re honored to welcome Natalie Glumm, Beth Larson, Creal Zearing, Erin Krysinski, Lynn Perez-Hewitt, and Jamie Quam! Find out more about these individuals.

A Year In Review 2021

Thank you for joining me as we kick off another year of fantastic programming, networking, and supporting each other at AFP Greater Madison (AFPGM). I’m thrilled to be starting my second year as your chapter president, and I look forward to the great things we’ll accomplish together. But, before we get too far into 2022 plans, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the great things that happened for our chapter and members last year. Take a few moments to read through reflections on this past year's work.

Annual Meeting 2021

Thank you for being with us this year. We are grateful for all of the support and involvement from our Greater Madison community. You allowed us to continue to provide professional development and networking opportunities all year long. Check out the full report of this year's work.

We Want You! New Committee Members Welcome

Our AFP Greater Madison chapter is looking for new committee members!

We have numerous areas you can help out, get to know some of the best fundraising professionals in Madison/Dane County, and also gain experience for your own career. Email Jen Davie,, if interested or have questions!

Giving Tuesday Vibes in Dane County

“Show me the Money, Jerry!” 

Cuba Gooding, Jr. said it best in his famous line from the well-known 1996 movie, Jerry Maguire. 

Giving Tuesday, arguably one of the most famous national fundraising events, is certainly built on raising funds to help non-profits, but it’s also a day that shows the goodness of our communities (including here in Madison) and how we can help and support one another.

It’s an important piece to many organizations, who use it strategically in their development plans, in their community and awareness building, and to have fun while making a difference.

Hear from some local Madison non-profits (The River Food Pantry, Goodman Community Center and the Literacy Network) and their thoughts on Giving Tuesday 😊.

“Do More Good”! Mentor program flourishing in year two

Year two of AFP Greater Madison’s mentor program is under way! Six pairings of mentor and mentees started the program back in November as the second class to participate. Last year featured four pairings.

Thanks to the great work of Lily Mize, Pete Schwieger, Ash Collins and Anna January for making this happen and for creating a program of lifelong learning for those in our development/fundraising community!

Don’t take it from us, hear from those in the program.

Hispanic Heritage Month: Recognizing the Difference Makers

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 this year. We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic American champions who have inspired others to achieve success. Marcos, Karime, and Faatima embody this spirit and are moving the Madison and Dane County forward at their respective organizations (Centro Hispano and Agrace) in helping Hispanic Americans and their families. Thanks for everything you do!

Member Spotlight: Paul Harrison

This month we highlight Paul Harrison, the longtime Development and Communications Director for Access Health Centers of 15+ years in Madison. Check out his lengthier feature in Madison Magazine here. Thanks for your commitment and good works in our community, Paul!

Honoring and Celebrating Black Philanthropy Month

Recognized annually in August, Black Philanthropy Month is a global celebration of Black American gift-giving in the form of time, talent, and treasure. We talked to fundraising veterans and philanthropists here in Dane County, Arlen Moss (Co-founder of I-jedi, LLC) and Michael Johnson (President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County), about black philanthropy and some of the challenges at their organizations.

In Memory of Boris Frank

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Boris Frank. His presence, influence, and spirit will be greatly missed at AFP Greater Madison and in the community. Our sincere condolences to Boris' family. Boris was a founding member of AFP Greater Madison and served our organization in many ways throughout the years. Boris' obituary may be found here. We encourage you to share a message with his family. A celebration of life will be announced for a date in the near future.

Member Spotlight: Patricia Eldred

Periodically, we shine a spotlight on one of our chapter members with a series of questions. We hope you enjoy learning more about the members of AFP Greater Madison.   

If you'd like to nominate someone to be featured in our next member spotlight, let us know!

Celebrating Disability Pride Month in July

July is Disability Pride Month and here at AFP Greater Madison we wanted to highlight some of our members and close connections that are part of our Madison community and are also making a difference in their own communities!

AFP Mentor Program Fulfilling Crucial Need

Clearly, there is a gap when it comes to professional development needs for young and upcoming fundraisers and even those new to the profession as addressed in this AFP Global article, Young Professionals Lacking Resources, Programs, Mentors for Career Advancement, this year.

AFP Greater Madison is working to plug that gap and help out both its members and non-members as it enters the second year of its mentoring program this fall. Check out some basic AFP Greater Madison mentorship info, a key excerpt from the aforementioned article, and hear from your colleagues involved in the AFP mentor program and their thoughts!

Celebrating Pride Month

June is Pride Month around the world and here at AFP Greater Madison we wanted to highlight some of our members that are part of the Madison LGBTQ+ community and are also making a difference in their own communities.

Led by our Diversity Officer, Arlen Moss, our chapter continues to improve our vision of the world through a JEDI (justice, equity, diversity and inclusion) lens and we are grateful to all of our members, including Jake and Adam below, for sharing their experiences with us.

Hear more from Jake Immel (Olbrich Botanical Gardens) and Adam Erdmann (Alliant Energy Foundation) as they share about their work, the communities they serve and how they think fundraisers can approach and address challenges to the LGBTQ+ community and their fundraising efforts.

Don’t Forget Your Monthly Donors, Advice from Erica Waasdorp

When we surveyed AFP-Greater Madison members in March, Max Nguyen mentioned that he’s found Erica Waasdorp’s work on monthly giving extremely helpful. She literally wrote the book on it, and over the past year she’s also released a number of articles and appeared on podcasts around the fundraising internet. 

One of the points she comes back to most often? Don’t forget your monthly donors.

“One of my best AFP experiences.” Mentorship program conquered COVID, readies for “normal” year two

What a wild year to start our AFP Greater Madison Mentorship program! Despite the obvious challenges, the first year of the program was a success and will soon come to a close. Three mentor-mentee pairs navigated Zoom calls and outdoor meetings in one of the most unique and worthwhile AFP experiences.

Mentors, mentees, and those that helped kick start and pilot this program at AFP Greater Madison share their thoughts on the importance of mentorship and the challenges and takeaways from year one. We encourage you to get involved in an experience that is rewarding for all!

Uplifting Voices this Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are happy to hear from three leaders in the Madison-area nonprofit and fundraising community. Learn more about their work, the communities they serve, and how they think fundraisers can be at the forefront of addressing challenges to the AAPI community and overall fundraising efforts.

TO CFRE or Not to CFRE?

The process of becoming a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) may seem daunting, but after speaking with three fellow AFP Greater Madison members who have each acquired their certification, I am taking the steps to start down this path.

Over the past week, I spoke to Jen Davie, Deborah Still, and Chris Ziemba about their experiences obtaining their CFRE. They generously shared their insights into why the CFRE was right for them, what the most challenging parts of the process were, and their advice to other development professionals considering the program.

2021: The year of donor retention?!

“Despite concerns that the COVID-19 pandemic would depress donations to nonprofits, giving in the U.S. in 2020 increased from 2019 by 10.6%, with the overall number of donors growing by 7.3%.”

That’s the good news out of the 2020 Fourth Quarter Report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), a collaboration among fundraising data providers, researchers, analysts, associations, and consultants to help the fundraising sector track and evaluate trends in giving.

The bad news? Donor retention dropped by 4.1%.

Part 2: 2017 and beyond: From diversity to...equity, inclusion and justice

For almost a decade the AFP Greater Madison Chapter worked to address inequities within the organization, and the profession at large. Read about this history in part 2 of this article set.

Webinar Recording "A Successful Board: How to charge your board with fundraising"

The webinar was recorded live on March 16, 2021. Panelists include Joyce Deiter and Jay Sekelsky. Event moderated by Mo Cheeks.

JEDIs and the battle against inequity: How AFP has embraced, confronted the challenge

For almost a decade the AFP Greater Madison Chapter worked to address inequities within the organization, and the profession at large. Read about this history.

Celebrating Women, Implementing Change

"Our industry is highly feminized, with more than 70% of fundraisers identifying as female. And while we are a women-majority sector, we are far from being women-led, with less than 20% of CEOs identifying as female."

With March being Women's History Month, we want to share this short article from AFP Global highlighting that while a majority of fundraisers identify as female, our sector is still plagued with gender discrimination. 

What We Learned in a Year of Quarantine

Thanks to everyone who sent in answers to our survey! It was great to hear from so many people about what they’ve been working on, learning, and enjoying over the past year.

Overall, almost everyone who answered has been—in some way—happy to learn that people really care.

Looking at you, 2021! Planning Ahead Networking Event

Our January event was “Looking Ahead: Nonprofit Planning for 2021”. It was an informal brainstorming session where we broke out into various groups to discuss various topics. Here are some tidbits from the event!

AFP Member Spotlight: Nina Gehan

Periodically, we shine a spotlight on one of our chapter members with a series of questions. We hope you enjoy learning more about the members of AFP Greater Madison!

Embracing the Youth

The Young Professionals committee is no more! That’s not a bad thing and it is completely by design. What started out seven years ago by Sarah Linn, our current AFP Greater Madison president, has evolved into something more in an effort to increase the young professional presence across all levels of the chapter.

The Best Ways to Give in a Pandemic

Back in December, my aunt sent me The New York Times article, titled “What’s the Right Way to Give in a Pandemic?” It covered some statistics around the increased need nonprofits are responding to from the global pandemic. The article also described some of the ways that nonprofits have shifted how they ask for support and creatively utilize technology.