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Association of Fundraising Professionals: Southern Arizona Chapter

Archive for the ‘Monthly Meeting’ Category

The Power of Possibility; Creating Positive Visions for the Future with Appreciative Inquiry

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Organizations need compelling visions that grab people’s imagination especially in these challenging times.  Getting donors and contributors to invest in an organization not only depends on solid operations, great staff and a track record it also requires a dynamic vision of possibility and a culture of collaboration and engagement.

Join us for a highly interactive session with Deborah Maher, an expert in Appreciative Inquiry. She will offer some of the latest scientific findings on the power of positivity, the practice of reframing, the design and use of generative questions and how conversations worth having often lead to greater than expected outcomes.

Deborah Maher, President DFM Consulting Inc. Organizational Assessments, Strategic Planning, Leadership Coaching, Board Governance, Meeting Design and Facilitation

I am grounded in Appreciative Inquiry, as a methodology and philosophy and easily engage with all levels of organizations and communities. I bring creative and innovative approaches to my work with diverse stakeholders to create consensus-driven outcomes. My interpersonal skills combined with my education (MBA and MPA) and experience enable me to help organizations improve their ability to collaborate, build a positive culture and deliver high quality services. I bring wide ranging experiences having worked with (and for) organizations such as; Pima County Health Department, Tucson Airport Authority, Greater Tucson Leadership, Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Catholic Community Services, Salem Oregon, Neighborworks America, Touchstone/SRA Consulting, Ernst and Young, U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, the City of Baltimore, the State of Oregon, and Portland Metro.

Donor-Centered Fundraising with Penelope Burk -SOLD OUT

Monday, November 19th, 2018

SOLD OUT – Thank you AFP Southern Arizona for bringing Ms. Burk back to speak!

…how to hold onto your donors and make much more money.

Today’s fundraising practices and beliefs were developed at a time when donors were less demanding, competition was less severe, and fundraisers could rely on an unlimited supply of people willing to give. But as wealth shifts to a more independently-minded donor, one who is more questioning and harder to reach, fundraisers need to know what donors want and how to provide it.

Donor-Centered Fundraising is Penelope’s breakthrough strategy that sustains donor loyalty and raises more generous gifts by bringing fundraising in line with donors’ modern-day requirements. Defined by two decades of research with thousands of donors and fundraisers, Donor-Centered Fundraising is the only statistically-supported fundraising philosophy with the power to bring donors and not-for-profits together to achieve substantial growth. 

In this thought-provoking presentation, Penelope looks at what motivates donors of all ages to stay loyal longer and make increasingly generous gifts. And, she offers surprising information about young donors under the age of 35, what is holding back their philanthropy back, and why 53% of them say they could be giving more generously right now to causes they admire.

7:30 Registration and breakfast
8:30 – 11:30 Presentation
(There will be a 10 minute break halfway through the presentation)
11:30-Noon Book signing

National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

Monday, October 15th, 2018

There is no Monthly Breakfast Meeting in November!
Join us at the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon!
Friday, November 16, 2018 at The Westin La Paloma.
Registration is at 11:00 AM. The luncheon is 11:30 AM until 1:15 PM.

Buy a table or tickets to the event!

If you have already purchased you table and tickets, thank you for your support!  Please email your guests’ names to no later than Monday, November 5th.
Payments for tickets and tables must be received by November 1st.

Overcoming the Messiah Complex© in Fundraising

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

High expectations abound in the fundraising profession. Sometimes expectations are even unrealistic, creating disproportionate stress for fundraising leaders that is not equally shared by the leadership and program staff around them. Have you ever worked at or with an organization where you’re supposed to raise all the money, fix the problems, or “save” the (you name it) program, staff or organization? Then perhaps you’ve experienced The Messiah Complex © in Fundraising. So, what’s a fundraiser to do? We can’t change others, but we can make a difference in the way we value ourselves, manage workplace expectations and meander challenging environments. In this session, we’ll share secrets from the ancient traditions of yoga and meditation to help you stay balanced and true to yourself amidst the chaos around you.

About the Presenters

Both Jennifer Tersigni and Gemma Thomas bring years of experience as nonprofit leaders, fundraisers and practitioners of yoga and mediation to their work and life.

Jennifer M. Tersigni, MA, CFRE

Jennifer Tersigni is the principal and lead consultant at Raise the Bar Consulting, specializing in comprehensive fundraising, organizational development and interim executive solutions. The proud holder of an unanticipated 20-year fundraising career, Jennifer has helped 72 clients reach their goals, served as an interim executive four times, and raised more than $75 million. Jennifer enjoys collaborating with leaders to transform organizations, develop new initiatives, build sustainable funding, and make a meaningful impact in the world. Jennifer’s introduction to fundraising began in the Office of the Social Secretary at The White House, where she implemented political and social events for the President and First Lady of the United States.

A recipient of Tucson’s 40 Under 40 and a Rotary International GSE alumnus, Jennifer is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). She holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree from the University of Arizona, and Yoga Instructor & Yoga Therapy Certifications from the Paramanand Yoga Institute & Ashram in Indore, India. Jennifer has lived and traveled in thirty-seven countries on four continents to-date, brings cross-cultural experience to her work, and always looks forward to life’s next great adventure.

Gemma Thomas, MSW

Gemma Thomas is a native Tucsonan and an accomplished health and human services leader. A graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular/Cellular Biology, she went on to complete her Master’s in Social Work with an emphasis on nonprofit administration. Her professional journey began as an office manager of a local physician practice. Joining Children’s Clinics in 2015, Gemma has served in various leadership positions and is currently the Chief Administrative Officer.

Gemma completed her RYT200 Hatha yoga training in 2013. With an interest in special populations, Gemma spent three years teaching gentle and yin yoga and volunteering with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, teaching individualized adaptive yoga classes to bring movement into their daily routines. Though she no longer teaches, she continues her practice as a student and gives back to our community in other ways, including as a member of the Children’s Museum Board of Directors, Care Fund Tucson Advisory Council, and Children’s Action Alliance Southern Arizona Advisory Council.

Leading Change through Emotional Awareness

Friday, August 10th, 2018

Presented by Jenny Flynn, Senior Vice President, Development Services, University of Arizona Development Program

Program description:
Successful change leaders at all levels recognize the importance of human behavior in achieving big goals. Leading change in your organization involves not only a compelling vision and a logical plan but also an emotional journey for each team member. This presentation will highlight a few fundamental approaches to change management and focus on the often neglected and most important change variable of all—people. The presenter will draw from two recent experiences of successfully incorporating emotional awareness into program transitions and share tools that have helped team members manage the emotions of change.

Jenny Flynn Bio:
As Senior Vice President for Development Services at the University of Arizona Foundation, Jenny Flynn leads four key units of the University Development Program: Information Technology, Strategic Information Services, Foundation Relations and GIFT Center, and Human Resources and Talent Management. As part of the University’s fundraising program since 2001, Jenny has helped to raise more than $100 million for the UA. In 2007 she founded the GIFT Center, a fundraising resource center for faculty and staff, to support efforts for charitable grant-seeking. In 2015, Jenny was promoted to run the new development services department, including IT. At that time she was also charged, along with the UA Provost, with co-chairing the creation of a transformational plan for the UA’s development program (the UDP) to achieve a goal of doubling fundraising through a future campaign of at least $3 billion. Jenny is the project sponsor for a major, two-year fundraising CRM conversion that utilizes best practices and streamlines systems across a decentralized campus.

Who Is Watching Our Organizations? Why? What Can We Do About It?

Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

This session will incorporate information about the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance 20 Standards for Charity Accountability and how it supports the AFP Code of Ethical Standards.  Participants will consider and discuss terms that Simone Joyaux terms “cage-rattling questions,” as they participate in table dialogs around challenging ethical issues.  At the end of this session, participants will be comfortable presenting the topics for discussions by staff or board about the issues of trust, accountability and the obligations and entitlement of being a part of the not-for-profit community.   They will also be familiar with and understand why becoming accredited by the BBB of Southern Arizona is good for all.

Note:  This session has been approved for 1 hour of Ethics for CFRE.  

Barbara R. Levy, ACFRE, FAFP is a seasoned professional with over 40 years experience in development. She is one of 110 individuals in the country to qualify for and earn the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive (ACFRE) credential.  Barbara is a nationally recognized consultant and speaker on board and organizational development and fundraising.   In 1998, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) recognized Barbara at their International Conference as the Outstanding Fundraising Executive.  In 2017, she was recognized, in the first class of five, as a Distinguished Honorary Fellow for her work in the field.

Barbara has authored numerous articles and was co-author of Successful Special Events, Planning, Hosting, Evaluating, Jones & Bartlett Publishers.  She served as the editor the NSFRE Fund-Raising Dictionary, and has edited a more recent on-line edition of the AFP Fundraising Dictionary.  Most recently Barbara was a contributing author to the latest Wiley/AFP publication Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy.

Today, Barbara serves as the Volunteer Director of the Charity Review Program of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona.


Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Presented by Julie Ragland & Debi Chess Mabie

After last year’s AFP talk on diversity & inclusion at our monthly meeting by Debi Chess Mabie and Liane Hernandez, a small group of people banded together to continue the conversation and explore ideas about how to take action towards greater diversity, inclusion, and equity in our community. After months of planning, the group is hosting an event called Looking In the Mirror: An Introspective Conversation on Race on June 21st, with hopes that the event will be the first step towards expanding the conversation and making progress towards greater diversity, inclusion, and equity in our non-profit community and beyond. Debi Chess Mabie returns in July as a guest speaker, along with Julie Ragland, to talk about the process of putting together the event, what came out of the event, and what’s next as we all learn how to be more inclusive in our practices and better allies, accomplices, and community leaders.

A Tucsonan since 1994, Julie Ragland has served as the Development Director at the Rialto Theatre Foundation since April of 2016, heading up the Rialto’s membership, charitable giving, and community outreach programs. Her work supports the Rialto Theatre Foundation’s mission of protecting and restoring the historic Rialto Theatre and bringing high-quality, diverse live performance to the Tucson community. A lover of the arts, animals, and nature, she’s been proud to serve many Tucson non-profits including the Center for Biological Diversity, Tohono Chul Park, Fox Tucson Theatre, El Rio’s Birth & Women’s Health Center, and the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. She has also been working on grassroots efforts towards greater diversity, inclusion, and equity in the Tucson community.

Debi has over 25 years of nonprofit program development and leadership experience in a variety of sectors– including youth and community development, and arts-based economic development. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Wright State University, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She served in the United States Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991.  Prior to moving to Tucson with her husband and children in 2010, was the Executive Director of BooCoo Cultural Center and Café in Evanston, Illinois.

She was the Development Director of the Loft Cinema for three years. She recently resigned her position as the Executive Director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (formerly Tucson Pima Arts Council) where she helped lead and shape the newly emerging conversation around the role of the arts–and funding for the arts– in economic development and city planning endeavors. She accepted a Community Impact Fellow appointment by the University of Arizona School of Social and Behavioral Sciences in November 2017. She is working in that capacity at the Dunbar Pavilion: An African American Center for Art and Culture, to help build capacity and steward the organization into its next 100 years of cultural significance in Tucson and Southern Arizona.

She is the Board Chair and a founding member of the Tucson Black Film Club, and a board member of the Non-Profit Loan Fund. 



How to Become a Master Conversationalist

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Whether at a networking, social or donor event you know the inevitable question is coming, that’s right, ​“What do you do?” ​ But how do you answer it in a unique, personal and authentic way so people remember you, and most importantly, want to follow up?

In this fun, interactive talk you’ll learn how to kick off a great conversation with anyone, use personal stories to create meaningful connections, and overcome anxiety so you can achieve your conversational goals.

Ashley’s a father, entrepreneur and passionate storyteller. After 16 years as a leader in the design and marketing industry, in 2013 he founded Ashley Bright Presents. Through workshops, one-on-one coaching and speaking engagements he empowers leaders and teams in the nonprofit and business community with skills to confidently communicate their ideas and achieve their goals.



Are you creating value for donors?

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

What is value creation? We know why we are here, but why are they (donors) here? To walk a mile in their shoes, you have to personally experience your customer’s perspective. But how do you do that? While fundraisers are typically adept at practicing empathy, they are often challenged with using empathy to innovate and create value. During this session, you will learn how to use your skills to create value through innovation by testing assumptions, experimentation and using evidence to make informed decisions. This process will help you reduce the amount of time you spend doing activities that have no concrete results for your donors or your organization. Sound good? Then join us for a lively discussion! 

Presenters: Heather Hiscox, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Social Impact Programs of Moves the Needle and Jennifer Jones, CFRE, Director of Donor Engagement for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

Heather Hiscox is a social entrepreneur passionate about creating communities focused on assets, abilities, and abundance. Heather is the co-founder and co-director of Social Impact Programs at Moves the Needle, a company that enables organizations, including nonprofit, philanthropy, government, and higher education, to operationalize innovation. Heather and her team work with organizations across the country to empower their staff to eliminate unintended waste in how they create efficient, effective, and long-lasting social change. Heather is the creator of Wish List, a website that unites nonprofit needs and the community and publishes the greatest wishes of nonprofits each week in the Arizona Daily Star. Heather also provides nonprofit and business development counsel and entrepreneurship education via her company, Seven Degrees Consulting and is the co-founder of Women of Purpose, a Tucson-based Lean In Circle selected as a Lean In Regional Leader. Heather has received numerous awards for her leadership and commitment to the community and was the recipient of the 2015-2016 University of Arizona Honors College Young Alumna Award, recognized as a 2015 TEDx Starr Pass Women Local Leader, was the Greater Tucson Leadership, Class of 2014 Ronald L. Kurth Awardee, and in 2013 Heather was recognized as a 40 Under 40 and Inside Tucson Business Up and Comer.

Jennifer’s career in the nonprofit field spans over 25 years. Beginning as a Program Manager for the American Lung Association in both Missouri and Arizona, Jennifer worked her way up to executive management, honing her skills in event management, volunteer development, annual and major giving, corporate partnerships, marketing, and strategic planning before accepting a position with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona. At CFSA, she oversaw development and marketing during a period of growth in which the foundation increased its assets by $30 million.

Returning to her home in St. Louis, Jennifer continued her community foundation work as Director of Donor Engagement for the St. Louis Community Foundation, working with high-net worth families to facilitate charitable giving in the St. Louis region and beyond. During her time in St. Louis, Jennifer also worked as a nonprofit consultant, supporting a variety of organizations such as Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center where she led the first Homers for Health campaign. She also supported the successful completion of a $4 million capital campaign for an early childhood education center, started a nonprofit bioscience organization, led a fundraising event for a youth behavioral organization,   passionately supported a HIV/AIDS housing organization known as DOORWAYS, and became a proud member of the Spirit of St. Louis Women’s Fund.

In May of 2017, Jennifer returned to Tucson to accept the position of Director of Donor Engagement with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona (CFSA). Today, she happily serves as CFSA’s primary relationship manager, leading CFSA’s donor engagement work and its campaign to raise $4 million for the CF Campus opening in the fall of 2018. Jennifer has two daughters, Audrey (12) and Avery (9) in the Catalina Foothills School District and a Miniature Pinscher named Dandy.

STRENGTHEN Everything You Write

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Fundraising professionals spend lots of time communicating, often in written form. Poorly written messages can be hurried, distracting, and ultimately ineffective. Mistakes in writing can also affect your reputation and credibility.

This hands-on session with Barbara McNichol serves as an insightful refresher for using fundamental writing skills well. Fun and highly interactive, you’ll focus on specific techniques to improve everything you write.

You’ll learn to:

  • Avoid email mistakes that cost you and your recipients valuable time.
  • Learn the nuances in word choice, sentence structure, and punctuation.
  • Apply ways to kick-start your writing and add interest to your message.

Plan to come away with easy-to-use techniques that will maximize your time, prevent embarrassing mistakes, and strengthen everything you write. And you’ll reap the benefits every day (not everyday)!

Your presenter is Barbara McNichol.

On a crusade to boost the quality of business writing, Barbara conducts Writing Essentials WordShops and edits nonfiction books. Over the past 24 years, she has placed more than 350 books on her editor’s “trophy shelf.” She is the author of Word Trippers: Your Ultimate Source for Choosing the Right Word When It Really Matters.

On an ongoing basis, you’ll gain valuable writing tips by requesting her free monthly ezine Add Power to Your Pen and subscribing to her Word Trippers Tips program (details at

Feel free to contact Barbara at 520-615-7910 or and connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Originally from Saskatchewan (can you find it? spell it?), Barbara has called Tucson home since 2001. She loves to dance Nia-style, play tennis and pickleball, and soak in the rays of sunny Arizona.