Fundraisers on The Strip
For the first time in three years the AFP ICON was held in person in early May at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Nearly 3,000 fundraisers and people in related industries gathered together to challenge the future through more than 100 education programs and general sessions. I didn’t attend but have received stimulating reports. A common thread — it appears to be since our environment has changed so dramatically, we should not only not be afraid, but we should welcome opportunities to challenge the status quo. Ask yourselves: What would you include if you had a do-over and build your resource development program from scratch. It’s time to re-evaluate what we do and how we do it. Special events for example — do we really need to depend on them so much, or perhaps should we replace them with other tactics that might be more cost-effective. ICON recordings will be available in late May … we can’t wait to review them. The keynote speaker was the inspirational Allyson Felix– the most decorated woman in Olympic track and field history and the most decorated American track and field athlete in Olympic history. Her amazing accomplishments include winning 29 global medals at the Olympics and World Championships. At this stage of her career Allyson is using her celebrity-dom to champion good causes. She has found passions off the track which she believes are her true calling. She loves children and serves as a member of the Right To Play board hoping to raise awareness for underserved children in developing regions. She continues to strive for greatness in all areas reminding us that we all can achieve things we never dreamed of. Success of a conference is not so much we enjoy it, but how we can return and improve our fundraising operations. AFP conferences have a tradition of measuring up to that standard.
You heard it here first: The indefatigable Laura Fredricks, who has already authored six books, revealed during her latest appearance in our webinar series that seven is a lucky number, and, we don’t know how she finds the time, but she is working on a new book that will pull together the wisdom and inspiration of her first six books and introduce new insights on THE ASK. I am pretty sure there’s no one else on the planet who is better at demystifying the art and science of asking as the gateway to getting what you want and deserve out of life. We were on the phone the other day and I asked her to share a few highlights of her career, so she sent me the long form. Put it this way: I don’t know what groups she hasn’t spoken to, media interviews she hasn’t done and what awards she hasn’t won. Go to her website to sign up to receive updates on the new book and how to be among the first to get a copy. I’m no dummy because I am the first person to register on this special list. I’ve enjoyed all her books — they are genuine page turners, and she has played such a pivotal role in inspiring me to follow in her huge steps of empowering professional and volunteer fundraisers to overcome their fear of asking for gifts and replacing such fear with comfort and confidence. The new book will become available next year. You can watch a replay of Laura’s webinar with us here.
A quarterly update to the state personal income indicator for Pew Research’s Fiscal 50 project shows that total personal income climbed in every state during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic as the economy continued to recover, with Idaho and South Dakota experiencing the strongest gains. Americans’ earnings from work, which account for the bulk of personal income, recorded the sharpest annual increase in over two decades. Federal aid and other public assistance also added to states’ gains, surpassing 2020’s elevated levels. Total personal income rose across states in 2021 as the economy largely followed an upward trajectory after severe losses early in the pandemic. Nationally, the sum of personal income from all sources was up 3.1% from 2020, after accounting for inflation. Idaho recorded the nation’s largest total annual personal income growth — 5.3%, after accounting for inflation. Significant gains in construction, retail trade, and other industries boosted total earnings, while the state also experienced among the sharpest increases in government assistance. South Dakota (5.1%) similarly benefited from strong growth in both government aid and workers’ earnings as farm income soared. Other states with the largest annual increases included Florida and Nebraska (both 5%), and New Hampshire (4.7%). Vermont (0.3%) and Michigan (1%) experienced the weakest growth for the year as higher work-related earnings were partially offset by declines in government assistance income.
Eskin Fundraising Training is grateful to Jeff Jowdy, President, Lighthouse Counsel for featuring us on his Beacon Podcast series to discuss our common sense approach to fundraising training and our book, 10 Simple Fundraising Lessons. After a distinguished career as a practitioner, Jeff launched his agency in 1999 and has partnered with a wide range of non-profits to develop and implement strategies that increase mission awareness, organizational effectiveness and philanthropic support. We continue our collaboration when Jeff serves as our subject matter expert on High-Performing Development Officers in our Non-Profit Empowerment Webinar series on Wednesday, June 15th, 4 to 5 PM, central time. It is a privilege and pleasure to collaborate with Jeff and his team. His podcasts include some of the most respected voices in philanthropy — so it was a genuine honor to participate. You can listen to the podcast here.
On Bookshelf: A New Watergate History
In the early hours of June 17, 1972, a security guard named Frank Wills enters six words into the log book of the Watergate office complex that will change the course of history: 1:47 AM Found tape on doors; call police. The subsequent arrests of five men seeking to bug and burgle the Democratic National Committee offices — three of them Cuban exiles, two of them former intelligence operatives — quickly unravels a web of scandal that ultimately ends a presidency and forever alters views of moral authority and leadership. Watergate, as the event is called, becomes a shorthand for corruption, deceit, and unanswered questions. You probably thought we didn’t need another book about Watergate. Think again. Now, award-winning journalist and bestselling author Garrett M. Graff, in A New Watergate History explores the full scope of this unprecedented moment from start to finish, in the first comprehensive, single-volume account in decades. The story begins in 1971, with the publication of thousands of military and government documents known as the Pentagon Papers, which reveal dishonesty about the decades-long American presence in Vietnam and spark public outrage. Furious that the leak might expose his administration’s own duplicity during a crucial reelection season, President Richard M. Nixon gathers his closest advisors and gives them implicit instructions: Win by any means necessary. Within a few months, an unsteady line of political dominoes are positioned, from the creation of a series of covert operations code-named GEMSTONE to campaign-trail dirty tricks, possible hostage situations, and questionable fundraising efforts — much of it caught on the White House’s own taping system. One by one they fall, until the thwarted June burglary attracts the attention of intrepid journalists, congressional investigators, and embattled intelligence officers, one of whom will spend decades concealing his identity behind the alias “Deep Throat.” As each faction slowly begins to uncover the truth, a conspiracy deeper and more corrupt than anyone thought possible emerges, and the nation is thrown into a state of crisis as its government — and its leader — unravels. Using newly public documents, transcripts, and revelations, Graff recounts every twist with remarkable detail and page-turning drama, bringing readers into the backrooms of Washington, chaotic daily newsrooms, crowded Senate hearings, and even the Oval Office itself during one of the darkest chapters in American history. Grippingly told and meticulously researched, Watergate is the defining account of the moment that has haunted our nation’s past — and still holds the power to shape its present and future.
Maybe the image is not racy, like the one of Marilyn Monroe with her dress flying up in the movie “The Seven Year Itch,” but it recently became the priciest. In under four minutes of bidding, Andy Warhol’s 1964 silk-screen of the actress’ face, “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn,” sold for about $195 million to an unknown buyer at Christie’s in New York, making it the highest price achieved for any American work of art at auction. The 40-inch-by-40-inch painting, a trophy given its vibrant colors and glamorous subject matter, eclipsed the previous high price of $110.5 million for a Basquiat skull painting at Sotheby’s in 2017 as well as Warhol’s auction high for a car crash painting that sold for $105.4 million in 2013.
Quiz: Rudest States
Stratagems is published monthly by Jim Eskin, Founder of Eskin Fundraising Training, LLC. We offer workshops and customized training sessions for board members, staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations of all kinds and sizes. For details about our services and information, or to find out how to schedule a training session for your organization, visit our website. Follow our events on Facebook, and read more articles about philanthropy on our LinkedIn page.
Jim Eskin, Founder
Eskin Fundraising Training
ANSWERS TO THIS MONTH’S QUIZ: 1=c, 2=e, 3=a, 4=b, 5=d