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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

VO at AFP

Jeff Sodowsky
This week, Vancouver Opera’s Development team took part in the 49th annual Association of Fundraising Professionals International Conference. This year, AFP Vancouver had the privilege of hosting nearly 3,000 fund development professionals from numerous organizations and backgrounds at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The conference was definitely global in scope; we met colleagues who had come from as far away as Bangkok, the Netherlands and Moscow!

AFP is a global professional association, designed to connect development professionals at all career levels with the resources, tools and insights needed to perform at a high level, thereby providing maximum benefit to the organizations they serve. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, AFP has a rich history which spans nearly half a century and encompasses over sixty regional chapters in seven countries worldwide. The organization places emphasis on ethical fund development policies, ongoing self-development and the mentorship of emerging fund development professionals. It also offers professional certifications, an array of publications and a variety of awards designed to draw accolades and acclaim to exceptional work within the industry.

This year’s conference took place from April 1st – 3rd, 2012, and featured a wide variety of workshops and panel discussions facilitated by established leaders in the field. Nearly every conceivable topic was addressed throughout the panel programming: ethical fundraising, operational best practices for organizations of all types and sizes, how to handle challenging situations and how to plan for the future. Each of us enjoyed the opportunity to take part in workshops and discussions specifically tailored to our individual roles at Vancouver Opera. It was also fun to meet friends and colleagues – both new and old - and share perspectives and insights. Being among the few representatives of the arts and culture community present at the conference, we especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet colleagues from Manitoba Opera!

Jeff Sodowsky, Vancouver Opera’s Chief Development Officer, delivered a unique presentation on April 3rd, relating his perspective on the need for both creativity and authenticity when working to secure a gift. Jeff encouraged attendees to consider how approaches inspired by the arts community could enable them to deliver effective, compelling and memorable “performances” when making presentations, holding meetings or conducting other activities in support of fund development. He demonstrated that a fundraiser doesn’t need to make their “ask” a solo performance; rather, they can consider utilizing a diverse ensemble cast of Board members, colleagues and other stakeholders, all choreographed to achieve maximum impact and resonance. Jeff’s presentation (and wardrobe) proved to be both well-received and highly memorable.

Congratulations, Jeff, and thank you to AFP Vancouver for hosting a fantastic conference!

Joseph Bardsley
Development Manager, Grants & Proposals

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