Member Confession: David Ibsen Associate Director, Patton McDowell & Associates LLC

I recently had the honor of being able to attend the AFP International Conference in San Antonio, TX.  It was an amazing experience being surrounded by almost 3,000 individuals working a variety of roles within, not only the fundraising community, but within the nonprofit community as a whole.  I had the opportunity to meet people representing organizations of all different shapes and sizes, from faith-based to community centric to nationally-based agencies.  The theme of the conference was SHIFT, attributing to the fact that we all know that the fundraising landscaping, while always evolving, has certainly shifted substantially in the past few years. 
During my time, I got to listen to experts with a variety of backgrounds. Some individuals were in the technology field, some in direct fundraising, some were consultants.  Now, while we are in this shifting landscape in this modern age, the one thing that kept being discussed, maybe not intentionally, was that old-fashioned conversations and relationships are what helps to raise the money.  It isn't flashy direct mail pieces or overwhelming social media presence, but it is the one-on-one conversations that people can have with organizations that they trust and believe in.  Though this may not sound revolutionary, and it took me a while to determine what truly inspired me from the conference, it was truly this one main aspect of fundraising that has stood the test of time. 
While I am not here stating that brochures and mailings are not important, I encourage each of you to consider this as you move forward on your upcoming campaign or ramp up your annual fund and consider what donors that are out there that simply need that human touch!

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