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StarChapter of October: AFP East Central Illinois

The East Central Illinois Chapter Association of Fundraising Professionals supports regional philanthropy for a very diverse group of non-profits in seven cities by providing education and networking events to sustain the work of 500+ fundraising professionals.  Their board of directors is a dedicated group of fundraising professionals from a cross-section of area non-profits. 

We recently connected with Terry Goode, Chapter President and Jacqueline Joines, Publicity Chair to learn how their chapter approaches such an ambitious mission.  

1. How has your chapter managed to recruit and maintain members in so many different communities?

We literally take our chapter “on the road” by holding monthly activities in various communities throughout the year.  Our board of directors is a dedicated group of fundraising professionals from a cross-section of area non-profits.  They help plan and host events in their community and invite their peers to get involved. 

Many fundraisers are a one-person shop, and it’s so invigorating to meet people who understand you and share your passion!  Add to that our training, certification opportunities and seasoned mentors and we’re offering a very unique package to help professionals succeed.

2. What’s something special that you’re proud of to offer the area?

Each year we use the largest amount of our funds to sponsor a big event with a national speaker.  Central Illinois isn’t a thriving metropolis, so it’s a huge plus to collaborate with another chapter or organization to bring a “big name” to our beautiful cornfields!  Area fundraisers get a national conference experience at a fraction of the cost because they don’t have plane fares and hotel expenses.   This year we had Rachel Muir and we went out to eat and chat with her after the workshop.  What a treat! 

We’ve been fortunate to host many fundraising and marketing celebrities—Bill Sturtevant, Jerold Panas, Laura Fredricks, and Ty Bennett.  Feeding that culture of giving back in our communities is part of what we do best!

3. How do you promote a climate of giving with area businesses and donors?

We celebrate National Philanthropy Day for our area by hosting a luncheon and recognizing donors, businesses, organizations, youth in philanthropy, an outstanding professional fundraiser, and a volunteer fundraiser each year.  We honor awardees through videos, sponsor speeches, trophies, and program bios.  We involve the community by asking them to nominate awardees, sponsor an award category and then announce and recognize the winner(s) in their category.   This year we’re honoring the top three to increase the excitement and honor more people who make our communities strong!

StarChapter allows us to publicize this event, solicit and collect nominations, register attendees, and complete the event analytics.  It’s our partner start to finish!

4. Speaking of StarChapter, your new website went live in January. How has StarChapter helped you promote your group and achieve your goals this year?

As Publicity Chair, Jackie Joines shares her experience with our new system. “StarChapter is a good full-bodied product that allows us to communicate with members and non-members alike.  [That’s really critical as 80% of our audience is non-members.] It handles the meeting administration process, all communications, and serves as a reservoir for chapter resources.  It may seem a little daunting at first, but the StarChapter staff is ready to help at any time and make the process easy.”

As Chapter President, Terry shares what StarChapter has done for our group.  “We love the new site; it’s professional and easy to navigate.  We’ve had so many more job ads posted this year and all the ad posting fees are collected immediately.  It’s the same for event registrations.  The workload for our Treasurer has literally been cut in half. 

StarChapter has increased our communications effectiveness.  It allows us to collect better information about who we’re reaching and who we’re not.  It’s taken some sleuthing, but we’ve been able to get updated email addresses for all our members and about 20% of non-members that we weren’t reaching.  That’s helping drive the success that we’re seeing.

We’re very happy with StarChapter; we’ve been excited to discover new capabilities and watch how that’s impacting progress on our goals!+

AFP East Central Illinois

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