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Ops & Asks

The Musings Of A Houston Fundraiser

  • Writer's pictureJuliana M. Weissbein CFRE

Fundraising Day In New York 2020

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Moving forward amid a global pandemic...

When I was first approached by AFP-NYC to co-chair Fundraising Day In New York (FRDNY), I could not have been more thrilled. I'd been supporting the event for many years, throwing my hat in the ring as both an attendee and presenter. FRDNY, the nation’s largest one-day conference on philanthropy, is an event I wouldn't miss for the world. I quickly accepted their offer and got to work.

I'd been tasked with designing two workshops focused on innovation within philanthropy. Unlike the traditional presentation tracks, FRDNY workshops are longer in length and intended to be a more hands-on and in-depth learning experience for attendees. I couldn't wait to begin planning and I reached out to colleagues immediately in hopes of collaboration.

And then, like a silent and sudden storm, COVID-19 hit New York City and I awoke to find myself living in the epicenter of a global health crisis. I watched in horror as, in the blink of an eye, fundraising events were canceled, offices closed and our budgets put in immediate jeopardy. Fundraisers, a sector of helpers, were now in need of help ourselves.

"And then, like a silent and sudden storm, COVID-19 hit New York City and I awoke to find myself living in the epicenter of a global health crisis."

Over the coming days, I witnessed countless small and mightly miracles. Resource guides were drafted, contingency plans released, town halls organized, and, overnight, we learned to thrive as a virtual workforce. Following suit, the AFP-NYC board convened for an emergency (virtual) meeting. We discussed what it would take to transform FRDNY into a virtual event. Could we shift gears and produce a quality product in only a little more than a month's time? We unanimously agreed to accept the challenge and I was inspired once again.

“Each year, we provide the sector’s best educational content to approximately 1,800 fundraising professionals at FRDNY.  Given that the COVID-19 pandemic makes an in-person conference impossible this year, our move to a virtual platform for FRDNY will give fundraisers the flexibility to access our critical content at a time suitable for them,” said AFP-NYC Chapter President Steve Jacobson, CEO of Jacobson Consulting Applications, Inc. “At a time when nonprofit organizations around the country and in our backyard are struggling to stay afloat, it’s more important than ever to share ideas, techniques, and strategies with fundraisers to help them raise more money.” Steve, I couldn't agree more.

Putting pen to paper, here is a sneak preview of what we have in store for the workshops track at FRDNY:

Amid these uncertain times, as fundraising professionals, our top concern isn’t only knowing our supporters and donors and what motivates them. We also have to consider the current (and changing) economy, whether or not we have enough potential donors in our pipelines, and where our programs can make the most impact on a society that has needs that didn’t even exist a couple of months ago.

With the growing demand for increasing resources, nonprofits of all shapes and sizes are being asked to do more than ever. It’s critical for nonprofits to show impact today while also finding ways to fund the future of our missions. Artificial Intelligence (or AI) represents an opportunity to re-imagine and re-position the way we support our organizations. How do we play a strategic role with today’s resources? What is AI and how can it benefit our fundraising efforts? How are our peers using AI and how can we begin to explore solutions at our own organizations?

In this session, we explain the technologies that encompass AI, highlight the research of the AAAC's State of AI in Advancement report -- the first benchmark on AI in this field, and showcase real-world case studies of organizations using AI to transform advancement. 


Debora Brown: Lead Solutions Engineer, Salesforce

Chris Campbell: Vice President of Sales, Gravyty

David Woodruff: Associate Vice President and COO, MIT Resource Development


Leveraging Mobile Technologies to Engage Donors and Advance Strategy

People today are overwhelmed with email, and social media is impersonal at best. Apps are great – but only 16% of people use an app more than twice. SMS is the most pervasive means of communication available to us today. This method exceeds calls, e-mail, and even apps themselves.

In this session, I trust that you will learn how your development team can close the gap of donor communication and integrate mobile technology into your offline revenue streams. No matter the size of your shop, you'll walk away with innovative tips that can be applied to your existing fundraising and marketing programs.


Laura Lane: Associate Director of Marketing and Analytics, Planned Parenthood

Amanda Silva: Integrated Marketing Strategist, Planned Parenthood


"It is more important than ever that we learn from one another as we navigate our way through this incredibly challenging time.  While we cannot be together physically for FRDNY this year, we will move forward together virtually.  A huge thank you to the AFP-NYC Board, the FRDNY Chairs, and all our speakers for thinking outside the box to create meaningful sessions to help educate our already talented and determined nonprofit community." said Gregory Boroff, Chief External Relations Officer at City Harvest and the Conference Chair for FRDNY 2020. I couldn't agree more, Greg, and I can't wait to "see" you there!

To learn more about Fundraising Day In New York 2020 and purchase your tickets click here.


Juliana M. Weissbein, CFRE is a respected leader and decision influencer in regard to fundraising operations best practices. With over a decade of experience, Juliana thrives on professional growth, team success, measurable results, and inspiring fundraisers to utilize data-based strategies. Juliana currently serves as the Associate Director of Development Operations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is an AFP Global Board Member, AFP Global's 2019 Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser and is a member of the AFP Global Women's Impact Initiative. Juliana is immediate past chair of the AFP New York City chapter’s Emerging Leaders Committee and currently serves on the chapter’s board chairing their mentorship program. She resides in Austin, TX and never turns down a good kombucha.


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