Altruism and the Importance of Philanthropy
Nicole Hrehirchuk - President, AFP Manitoba Chapter
March 10, 2021 – Altruism according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary listing means “unselfish regard for or devotion of the welfare of others.” “Selfishly, altruism has a direct impact on our own fulfilment, mental health, and satisfaction.”
In this hurting world, altruism shines brightly - like a beacon illuminating our humanity, proving that there are millions of people who care, and that the joy of giving and prevailing love and concern for one another survives.
Personally, my life has been filled with incredible role models who put others first. They lead by example, investing their time, talents and treasures in others and social causes. I’m so grateful for my parents, teachers and others in my life who taught me the joy of giving what you can and in whatever way you can. I can tell you from personal experience that altruism absolutely has a direct impact on our own fulfilment, mental health, and satisfaction. That also means you need to take care of yourself so that you can give the best of yourself to others! And making sure you are at your best certainly doesn’t detract from the true meaning of altruism. I believe the more you give, the more you receive and the more you can continue to pay it forward. Giving truly has a reciprocal effect.
Recently, we’ve witnessed humanity at its worst of our time and generation. At times it’s hard for us to witness but it’s even harder for those people who are considered “collateral damage” in the face of so many atrocities. But along with the barbarity, we’ve witnessed incredible acts of generosity and love. People give because “it’s the right thing to do.” Giving food, shelter, safety. And for those of us unable to provide such tangible support, we give money to those who can immediately impact those in need.
Philanthropy alone can’t fix the world’s problems; many of them are systemic beyond our immediate understanding. But altruism can certainly help. The world needs this help now, without question, to impact today and generations of tomorrow.
As AFP professionals, we’re a key part of this generosity cycle. Isn’t it incredible to foster acts of love and concern for our communities?! Nobody is forced to give their money, their time, or of themselves. There is no mandate, no rule, no law of any kind. People give to people (& animals!) because they WANT to. How awesome is that? Think about it for a moment. Giving is by will and will alone. Our part in it as fundraising and charitable sector professionals can be as a simple conduit, an encourager, an asker, or a thanker. All our roles are significant and an important part of the cycle of giving for nonprofits and other organisations connected to our sector.
Thank you for being a part of a community who cares. For encouraging philanthropy and each other in a world where some days are much harder than others. You light the way for others to help a hurting world. You are part of something that lives on forever. Altruism at its finest.
Take heart in hope.
A Retrospective of the past 25 years1 | Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Manitoba and Manitoba’s Philanthropic Sector
Joan Blight - President & Managing Consultant, Strategic Philanthropy
AFP Manitoba was formed in 1996, one of 26 Canadian chapters. Fifteen members have grown to 165+, among 3,000 Canada-wide.
AFP Manitoba thrived as the profession grew and changed. Members attended national and international conferences and shared their learning with others. Larger professional development opportunities were held locally and regionally, attracting excellent speakers, authors and thought leaders. This contributed to people becoming better practitioners, pursue certification, and mentor others. There is a much greater awareness of philanthropy in our province today, thanks, in part, to AFP hosting National Philanthropy Day and an awards luncheon since 1998.
Governance in the philanthropic sector has received attention in recent years. What has progressed little, however, is a board’s understanding of the need to provide leadership in giving.
Annual campaigns/fundraising programs have been an integral part of the fabric for decades. Funds are now raised in areas previously unheard of, such as public schools. Multi-millions of dollars have been raised through capital campaigns, which have raised the bar in terms of giving levels and attracting new donors. New physical assets have been added to the landscape, such as the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, Assiniboine Park Conservancy, facilities at the Universities of Manitoba and Winnipeg, Qaumajuq at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and the Manitoba Museum, among others. This also applies to many locations in rural Manitoba, e.g., recreation centres such Stride Place in Portage la Prairie. On a less visible scale, funding has also been raised for research, student and program support.
A refreshing attitude that has evolved is that Manitobans deserve world class amenities in our province.
While annual operating fundraising has grown incrementally over the years, endowed funds at public and private foundations and donor advised funds have grown exponentially, the latter established in the philanthropic as well as the commercial sector.
A trend during this time is that fundraising has become more staff driven, which eliminates a peer-to peer approach provided by volunteer involvement. There is also a high rate of staff churn among fundraising professionals. The same churn applies to AFP’s membership. These are concerning trends.
Research related to the sector and to fundraising has advanced materially, based on understanding that a case for support is central to fundraising and donor research must be grounded in fact.
The role of technology and the digital environment has altered our lives. The role it plays in the sector is no less significant. This interfaces with marketing and communications, how messages are communicated, and how gifts are solicited. The challenge for organizations is to keep pace with the technological changes, in part due to the resource requirements, both human and financial.
What has remained constant is donors’ desire to make a difference with the gifts they make and seeing their impact. Manitobans are very generous – and when there is a need, they respond.
Joan Blight | President & Managing Consultant
1 These views are those held by the author of this blog.
2 Some of the professional development opportunities were held in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Gift Planners Manitoba (CAGP).
Our Commitment to Reconciliation - September 30th, 2021
Nicole Hrehirchuk - President, AFP Manitoba Chapter
AFP Manitoba commits to fostering a culture in which Indigenous Peoples and all members can contribute to their fullest potential by promoting and providing opportunities for people to learn from one another.
Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord is a tool in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous Winnipeggers can come together and explore reconciliation. On September 9th, 2021, AFP Manitoba officially signed on as a partner with Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord joining over 200 organizations within Winnipeg thus far.
We have made a written declaration in alignment with TRC Call to Action 92:
We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
- Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
- Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
In response, our goal as AFP Manitoba chapter, is to help ensure Aboriginal Peoples have equitable access to professional development training. We will continue to open membership meetings by practicing Traditional Territories Acknowledgement and/or alternate acknowledgements, and to make intentional efforts to include Indigenous perspectives on Philanthropy in our programming.
We are launching conversational sessions for our membership highlighting the themes of: ‘Reconciliation and Philanthropy’, an exploration of Indigenous perspectives on Philanthropy, and ‘De-colonizing Philanthropy’ examining the characteristics of colonization, looking at the ways in which philanthropy perpetuates colonial inequities, discovering how we participate in this system as fundraisers, and undertaking the process of decolonizing our practice. These three conversations are part of a series of five exploring IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access) principles as they specifically relate to our practise as professional fundraisers. We hope that these sessions will generate ongoing conversations among our membership.
We will also explore offering scholarships for fundraisers from diverse communities and conducting intentional outreach to Indigenous led organizations to explore how we can work more closely together and learn from each other.
Our Progress to date:
We were proud to offer education on the history of Aboriginal peoples to AFP Manitoba members. This two-hour online class was offered at no cost through the Indigenous Leadership Development Institute, Inc. So far, 68 AFP Manitoba members have taken part in this two-hour online class, available at no cost. We collaborated with AFP chapters in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC to make the opportunity available to AFP members across western Canada.
We continue to include a traditional territory and land acknowledgment at our regularly scheduled professional development sessions and other events. We have incorporated an Indigenous perspective on Philanthropy into our programming by inviting Elders to open the annual Manitoba Philanthropy Awards event with a traditional greeting and prayer.
If you as an AFP member have other ideas or wish to be more involved, please do reach out! Pat Robertson is our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Ethics & Access) Chair and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please consider joining us in this critical endeavour towards Truth & Reconciliation in Winnipeg. Download the Partner Information Guide to learn more about:
- Getting involved as a Partner.
- Opportunities to build knowledge with friends and colleagues; and,
- Links to resources to build understanding.
Together with the City of Winnipeg, “we hope to make our city a better place to live based on mutual respect, equal opportunity, and hope by creating partnership-based initiatives that bring Winnipeggers together.”
Complete the online application form to become a Partner to Winnipeg’s Indigenous Accord.
Reflections On Pride In Winnipeg - September 2nd, 2021
Bryce Byron and the IDEA Committee, AFP Manitoba Chapter
What does Pride Month mean to you?
Pride is a time to reflect on the activists who have stood up and fought for the rights that we now enjoy. I think of the people who marched in Winnipeg’s first Pride parade in 1987 and the fact that some of the poster advertised that anonymity masks would be available for those that wanted them. We have come so far as a community, and it is thanks to the tireless work of those that came
What is the importance of acknowledging and celebrating Pride Month?
For too many members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community we are raised to believe that our identities are shameful and something to be kept hidden. Pride challenges these beliefs and encourages us to celebrate and find joy in our identities. Pride is also a way to let those who are still in the closet know that there is a safe place for them in the community.
What challenges or barriers does the LGBTQ+ community face in Manitoba?
While the legal landscape in Manitoba has come a long way for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community social acceptance of our community is not always consistent for everyone. Trans and non binary folks still face barriers when accessing healthcare and proper identity documents. Homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia are still prevalent and are often made worse when they intersect with things like racism and xenophobia.
If you are unsure of where to start, here are some resources:
Video on being a better ally:
It's Winnipeg Anti-Racism Week - March 22nd, 2021
Roxanne Tackie and the IDEA Committee, AFP Manitoba Chapter
How we're leading change in our charitable community - February 18th, 2021
Nicole Hrehirchuk, President, AFP Manitoba Chapter