Back to Blakely exchange

Our Five Key Takeaways from #AFPCongress2019

And just like that, another Congress has gone by! Our team had an amazing time getting #unfiltered and left feeling inspired to #raisethework. It’s impossible to sum up all the learnings in one blog, so here are just a few of our teams’ key learnings from the week:

Takeaway #1: Test, Test, and Test Again

Our first takeaway comes from Brady Josephson’s session on online fundraising testing. He talked about how we can test what drives donor behaviour through A/B testing and roll out those learnings in future campaigns. In the example he provided of an email landing page, donations increased when more paragraphs were added (yes, more copy!). This is why testing is so important — the results often surprise us.

Takeaway #2: Overusing “Thank You”

Our second takeaway comes from our very own Rachel Hunnybun’s session, “The Power of Thanking.” Rachel talked about how — believe it or not — there is such a thing as over-thanking. Knowing “how much” to thank or considering the “intensity of thanking” can help fundraisers keep conversations flowing seamlessly with donors and keep the door open longer. For example, if you “over-thank” for smaller gifts you can close the door to future gifts because donors may feel that donations are no longer needed. This is why thanking donors is a nuanced art!

Takeaway #3: Practice Joy and Positivity

Marcy Heim talked about how joy and positivity are not just emotions but behaviours to be practiced. She mentioned that giving yourself the reminder that “Something GOOD is going to happen to me!” each morning can help change how you view the day and how you present yourself to others. Marcy taught us to understand the power of our mindsets to create positive outcomes and raise more money.

Alvin Law, in his closing plenary, also mentioned how in fundraising your attitude plays an important role because “fundraising isn’t just about raising money, it’s about providing hope.”

Takeaway #4: The Best YOU Can Be

Tony Myers, in his session on leadership, mentioned two key things that are crucial through careers, leadership, and life:

  1. Transition
  2. Transformation

Tony said that while transition may come naturally to us throughout life, transformation during those transitions may not. However, transformation is necessary in order to become who we are meant to be. This means that we may need to take a more active role in our transformation in order to grow as leaders. Tony gave some helpful ways to focus on our transformation, such as writing out our strengths, and understanding our abilities and disabilities.

Takeaway #5: Martyritis

Kishshana Palmer, in her lunch plenary, brought up the interesting topic of Martyritis. Pressuring yourself? Always feelings stressed? Efforts not paying off? Can’t trust anyone else to do the job? Feel like asking for help makes you weak? If you can relate with some or all of these, you may be suffering from Martyritis.

Thankfully, Kishshana didn’t just leave us with the symptoms of Martyritis but provided a few ways that we can combat this. She mentioned that it starts with you; you have to decide that you are important enough to take care of yourself. This could mean leaving work earlier, creating a practice of intention in the morning, or leaving your desk to take a walk during the day. Taking care of ourselves will look different for everyone but what’s important is to build practices that will refresh our minds and bring us joy.

Our week at Congress 2019 was one we won’t forget! We are already looking forward to Congress 2020!