Back to Blakely exchange


I’m just back from a great ANA DC Nonprofit Conference where I got to celebrate #ClientLove on Valentine’s Day with two of my favourite ladies: client extraordinaire, Laurie Buske, of Cuso International and Blakely’s EVP, Client Relationships, Kimberley Blease.

It was a great week. I attended some excellent sessions and celebrated some #ClientLove, #AgencyLove, and the love of trying new things.

Here are a few of my highlights:

#1. We kicked off the conference with Laurie and Kim’s session on Making the Magic with your Agency Partner. It was clear that a lot of people want better relationships with their partners, whether they’re from a charity or an agency!

The key components they discussed needed to set your best relationships were:

  • Trust
  • Clarity on expectations
  • Transparency
  • Investment in the relationship
  • Mutual respect

When you have these, it builds trust and allows you to do more together than on your own. If you want a full breakdown on their takeaways, watch for their blog coming out in a few weeks.

#2. There are some charities out there who LOVE trying new things, which was exciting to see!

I loved hearing about all of the testing that The United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) has been doing around acquisition. They found great success when they asked prospects to sign a card, which then led to a survey, primarily used to help prospects understand what USO does. Only then do they make an ask. And if you say “No” they don’t stop there; they drive you to a Facebook page that allows you to share and get your friends to sign cards. I loved seeing the journey they’d put together.

#3. We saw great examples of donor love in the mid-value session, where Care USA, The Nature Conservancy, and MSF USA shared how they built successful mid-level programs. Their key takeaways were around customizing your donor journeys to show the love! They integrate solid DRM with high-touch personalization wherever possible. Testing is key to see what people respond to and to engage people differently, always remembering that reporting and metrics on the mid-level program makes a big difference on the organization’s ability to grow the program.

#4. Shoni Field and Charly Jarrett of the BC SPCA are really leading the charge in digital and are not afraid to test, test, and test again. They shared the secrets to navigating the Facebook algorithm and provided three essentials to success:

  1. Ask — it doesn’t have to be for a donation, even just to take an action
  2. Advocate — push your mission
  3. Acknowledge — it’s so important to acknowledge people who are making an impact on your mission

#5. And last, but certainly not least, I loved seeing fellow fundraisers both charity and agency side sharing all of their knowledge and learnings! This was true love of philanthropy and it showed a desire to make the entire sector better. The more we share and lift each other up, the stronger the sector becomes. I hope we continue to see more of this in the future.

One thing was clear — there were lots of great examples of #FundraisingLove in the air at # . Blakely is proud and privileged to attend so many amazing fundraising conferences in US, Canada, and internationally. Stay tuned for where we are in the world next. You can be sure we’ll share what we learn back with you!