Professional Development Series

Join AFP WNY for the 2020-2021 Professional Development Series!

16 virtual presentations!
Each month focusing on a different topic, with 2 separate presentations.

Check out the remaining 2020-2021 schedule below!

*Click the titles to register for individual sessions

Thank you to our amazing sponsors who make this series possible! 
Gold Sponsors
Bronze Sponsors
February – Diversity

Cultivating Connections: Why Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are Critical to Fundraising Success

FEBRUARY 10 @ 10am

**This event will be in Zoom meeting, not webinar, mode.
Ekua will be leading the group in a lively, interactive discussion; complete with polls and breakout rooms!
Please come with questions ready and cameras on!

Organizations who embrace diversity and look for ways to become inclusive have the potential to yield greater work productivity and competitive advantages. Fundraising leaders must adopt more inclusive practices while developing fundraising programs in order to engage all potential donors.

Course Objectives:

    • Develop shared language around diversity, equity, and inclusion
    • Introduce cultural humility and its benefits and differences from cultural competency
    • Discuss how unconscious bias can create barriers to progress in fundraising
    • Outline strategies to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion that will lead to overall success within your organization
Ekua Mends-Aidoo
Principal Consultant, Clementine Gold Group

    Say What? Culturally and Racially Sensitive Communications in an Age of Accountability

    FEBRUARY 25 @ 12pm

    **This event will be in Zoom meeting, not webinar, mode.
    Please come with questions ready and cameras on!

    Our society is in the midst of a long-overdue reckoning with discrimination and bias. As we learn and grow, we are going to make mistakes—and yet we know from plenty of scandals that mistakes can be costly and damaging to our organizations’ brands. This presentation will take a practical look at some common communications challenges, and provide a space for participants to ask questions and discuss best practices for communications that are ethical and reflect the values of equity, diversity, and respect for all people.

    Catie_Stephenson.jpg Leslie Nickerson
    Executive Director, Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope
    March – Communication

    Communication – Who?, What?, Where?, When?, Why?, and How?
    March 11 @ 9:00am

    According to the Oxford Dictionary, Communication (noun) - the imparting or exchanging of information of news; a means of connection between people or places, in particular. However, the delivery of communication varies and can be a deciding factor in whether or not it is well received. Take a step back in order to move forward with success.


    Kelly Stolar, CFRE
    Inner-City Neighborhood Art House, and AFP NWPA

    Donor Segmentation: An Important Piece of the Fundraising Puzzle

    MARCH 24 @ 8:30am

    The days of one-size-fits-all donor communications are over.  Your donors are as unique as they are important to the success of your organization and you need to share the right messaging with the right audiences.  While your “favorites” may receive personalized, hand-written notes, effective donor segmentation and targeted communications can bring the rest of your donors closer to your mission without a lot of extra work.  We will talk about how to segment your donors, track them in your database, use segmentation to tell your story, and share real-world examples from several different non-profits.

    Catie_Stephenson.jpg Jeff Mendola, CFRE
    Director of Mission Advancement, American Venous Forum
    April – Giving Day

    All You Need Is a Day: Maximizing the Potential of Giving Day

    APRIL 13 @ 10am

    This presentation will focus on how to leverage Giving Days to meet your fundraising and development goals as well as how to effectively and efficiently execute a Giving Day.


    Summer Handzlik

    Director of the Canisius Fund, Canisius College

    Catie_Stephenson.jpg Matthew Gorczyca
    Assistant Director of the Canisius Fund, Canisius College
    AnneMarie Haumesser
    Associate Vice President for Philanthropy and Engagement, D’Youville College

    Lead Without Reservation: Why you should lead a Giving Day for your community

    APRIL 23 @ 1pm  

    The idea of leading a Day of Giving may seem daunting, but the potential results outweigh the risk. Now more than ever, a Giving Day is the perfect way to keep your community connected through digital engagement. Take the plunge, and cultivate a more giving community by leading a Giving Day of your own.

    Catie_Stephenson.jpg Kirk Windus
    Communications and Fund Development Manager, Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation
    May – How-To

    Why You Need a Case for Support and How to Build One*

    *Pre-recorded AFP Global webinar

    MAY 10 @ 12pm

    There’s a worrying trend out there in philanthropy land. Too many nonprofits either don’t have a case for support at all or have put a huge amount of effort and expense into creating one that, well….kinda sucks. Cases for support are critically important to nonprofit fundraising, and every nonprofit should have one. No longer tied solely to capital campaigns, a strong case will pull your stakeholders together, touch people’s hearts, and elevate philanthropy. Join Leah Eustace, CFRE, ACFRE, as she shares her case development secrets, along with plenty of examples of great cases.


    Leah Eustace, CFRE, ACFRE


    AFP Affirmations – Speed Presentations

    MAY 20 @ 2pm

    Are you interested in leading a presentation but are nervous about filling a long time slot? Are you a seasoned presenter looking to test a new topic? Do you want to learn several new things within one hour? Join us for a new program where five presenters will each speak for 10 minutes teaching us how-to on a variety of different subjects.  

    5 speakers TBD



    December 10, 2020: "Where do we go from here? Envisioning a future of impact, growth, and a plan to get there" with Kate Heidinger, CFRE - Director of Development, The Foundations of Catholic Health

    Preparing for 2021 and the years to come may feel overwhelming, but with a clear vision you will still be impactful and realize growth even when you need to change your goals and how you reach for them. Together we'll talk through developing a high-definition vision, how to use this to identify your goals, and where your fundraising tactics fit in your plans for success. 

    December 4, 2020: "Fundraising in Tumultuous Times" with Peggy Morrison Outon - Assistant Vice President, Community Engagement and Leadership Development, Robert Morris University

    Fundraising is never easy, but sometimes it is especially challenging!  This is one of those times. Join us as we reflect together on lessons learned from previous crises and how to emerge stronger and more resilient. We'll talk about donor relations, new ways of working and self-care (because you're the asset for your organization...and taking care of yourself is taking care of your organization).  Join this dialogue as we continue to navigate uncharted waters.

    October 27, 2020: "Stewardship Tricks and Treats for a Virtual World" with Nicole Shepherd - Assistant Vice President for Donor and Volunteer Relations, Katie Camm - Senior Director of Donor Stewardship, and Jennifer Silverman - Assistant Director of Donor Relations, University at Buffalo

    Don’t be afraid!  Virtual stewardship can be scary good.  The donor relations team at UB shares some tricks and tips for virtual stewardship.  From e-acknowledgments, to a book club, to personalized thank you videos and virtual tours, they’ll share how they quickly pivoted to a digital-first strategy.  The team will also take a few minutes to fill your treat bag with ideas from all participants!

    October 14, 2020: "If Not Now…When? – Opportunities to Strength Yourself & Your Organization" with Jeff Bagel, CFRE – Principal, eAdvancement Consulting

    How are you using the Covid-19 global pandemic to better yourself and your organization? By asking yourself, "If Not Now, When?" you can identify opportunities that will strengthen you professionally, improve your organization, and enhance your stewardship.

    September 22, 2020: "Fundraising Reimagined" with Catie Stephenson – Director of Development & Communications and Sarah Larkin – PR & Events Coordinator, Buffalo Olmstead Parks Conservancy

    Our presentation will focus on reimagining our fundraising events and making the decision to go virtual. What it looked like working with our Board, Committees, Corporate Partners and many more during the process. What tools we use for our virtual platform and the means of communication to spread the word.

    September 9, 2020: "Re-Imagining Established Events in a Virtual Way" with Lisa Latrovato – Donor Relations Manager, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute and Lisa Woodring- Chief Development Officer, FeedMore WNY

    The current pandemic has forced all organizations to re-think how they execute fundraising events. Hear from two organizations about how to pivot your in-person events to virtual, pitfalls to avoid, and lessons learned.

    April 23, 2020:  "EXPLORE YOU: What Is Your Fundraising Type?" with Peter Lewis Gabek with Union College. 
    Learn how to better manage yourself, manage up, and manage direct reports.

    March 11, 2020: "Stronger Together – Partnering for the Good of Our Community" with Lisa Woodring from FeedMore WNY, Jim Coder from New Directions Youth & Family Services, Carolyne DeFranco from Gateway Longview, and Tracy LeBlanc from BestSelf Behavioral Health at FeedMore WNY.
    Hear how rebranding, merging or restructuring can benefit your organization in the long run.

    February 25, 2020: "Understanding Capacity Needed in Order to Execute Legal Documents" with Helen Ferraro-Zaffram from Center for Elder Law & Justice at Dash’s Supermart. Thank you to Series Activity Sponsor Leave A Legacy
    Discuss issues that arise when clients wait too long before considering estate plans and how to implement decision making options.

    January 8, 2020: "Retiring an Event with Dignity" with Rachel Voelkle-Kuhlmann & Robert Baird from Evergreen Health at Buffalo Museum of Science
    Exploring the how, when and why of helping the community and stakeholders see the value of ending under performing event(s).

    December 11, 2019: "Intentional Major Gift Conversations" with Meg and Phil George from George Development at Millennium Hotel.
    Meg and Phil role played both an identification/qualification meeting as well as a major gift solicitation meeting to give the group real-life talking points for navigating each of these types of discussions. They left the group with important takeaways in regards to gathering information and preparing for these meetings, as well as reacting to and overcoming road blocks or difficult conversation points, including examples of ethical questions to pose. The focus was on being intentional in major gift work — and using these skills to build more high capacity relationships and solicit more major gifts. 
    Thank you to Series Activity Sponsor Greater Giving

    October 15, 2019: "Campaign Confidential: Expert Advice for Successful Campaigns" with Jillian Jones, Director of Advancement at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Kimberly Luangpakdy, Director of Advancement at the Buffalo History Museum, and Lynsey Zimdahl Weaver, Executive Director at the Kevin Guest House
    If you are not in the middle of a fundraising campaign, chances are you are thinking about one. Three experts from the Buffalo non-profit community talked about how they have raised millions of dollars for their organizations. Attendees learned from their experiences about planning for campaigns, responding to changes during campaigns, and leveraging the generosity of donors. 

    SEPTEMBER 11, 2019: "Maximizing Your Partnership With Government" with Jack O’Donnell, Partner, Bolton St. Johns
    In this session, attendees got a crash course on the State and Federal appropriations, budget, legislative, and regulatory processes. Whether your non-profit is pursuing State or Federal funding, legislation, or regulations, it is important to have a comprehensive government relations strategy that sets you up for success in the long run. Jack discussed how to construct a holistic strategy aimed at relationship building and thought leadership that will make your non-profit influential in governmental decision making both in Albany and in Washington D.C.