Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Right Questions Yield the Right Answers

Marketing and Technology instructor, Merritt Engel is impressed by the critical thinking of the students in her AFPTeaches class. Read her latest blog here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Another Student Perspective

AFPTeaches student, Katelin Saalfleld attended the Alliance Management Institute (AMI) Conference in Atlanta, GA. Here, she shares how her AFPTeaches experience is helping prepare her for a career in  fundraising.

This past winter break, I attended the AMI 2013 conference in Atlanta Georgia. It was a wonderful experience and it really helped me understand how large the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance really is.  I loved being able to talk to other students and CNPs from around the nation about the work that they were doing in this inspiring sector.  Throughout the different breakout sessions and workshops, one thing stuck out to me more than anything: I already knew most of the information that was being covered.  I view this as a testament to the AFP Teachers at Rockhurst University.  While going through the Nonprofit Leadership Studies degree program, I learned not only the answers to questions like Who, What, and When but also, How and Why.  We learned mostly through hands-on case studies and really delved deep into answering why these nonprofits were doing what they were doing and their outcomes.  I feel very prepared going into the working world with the amazing education I have received from my teachers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

An AFPTeaches Student Chimes In

AFPTeaches student, Josh Goralski shares how the skills he's learning through AFPTeaches helped him serve the organization where he served his summer internship ...
"When I think back on the nonprofit classes I have taken at Rockhurst, they really equipped me with the skills necessary to be an asset to the Food Bank at which I interned this past summer. I come to Rockhurst from the Chicago suburbs. One of the main reasons I decided to come to Rockhurst was the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program. With only one Nonprofit class to go I can say with certainty that it was well worth coming this far to go to school.
All the nonprofit classes have benefited me in one way or another during the summer. Additionally, I can say I have gained so much from the class discussions we have and the ways in which the faculty tie in their current nonprofit jobs into class discussions.
One of the many tasks I did while I was interning this summer was some grant writing. The Fundraising Class I took at Rockhurst was fantastic and equipped me with the skills necessary to write a $10,000 grant that was fully funded from a new donor. Being able to intern at a nonprofit with grant writing knowledge is a huge asset as I found out this summer. In addition to grant writing, I also did a lot of grant research. Rockhurst helped me serve as an asset to the organization."

Friday, September 21, 2012

AFPTeaches Students Put Their Skills to the Test

Find out how two Rockhurst interns—both AFPTeaches students—secured $10,000 grants for their respective organizations during their internships. Read the story.

Great work, Haley and Josh!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Student Feedback - Marketing and Technology Trends in Fundraising

My students were asked to write a reflections blog about the course and the topics we covered. Here are some notable excerpts. —Merritt Engel

“It is crucial to not be left behind. So it is important now more than ever to start learning the benefits, capabilities and endless possibilities technology has to offer for nonprofits.”

• “Being in an IT career for decades, I was old school in technology. I was excited to hear the latest and greatest technology trends in marketing for a nonprofit. But I've gained so much more. I'm sure the younger generation already knows all about tweeting and mobile apps, etc. But this class isn't just about how cool the technology is or how to use it personally. This class has focused on when and how to use the technology to benefit the nonprofit cause.”

• “I currently sit on a board for an organization that is looking to diversify its revenue by utilizing direct marketing strategies. This class gave me ample opportunities to learn different methods to use direct marketing. More importantly the class really taught us how to use social media.”

• “I was impressed by the speakers who came and were willing to share their knowledge that clearly was gained through experience.”

• “Social media has the ability to create an extraordinary concentric circle of friends, but it has to be treated as true “friendships”(a two way street). Get to know your donors and don’t be afraid to let them get to know you. Offer them more engaging opportunities to interact with your organization. Share your story. Get them involved.”

• “It is a rare day when I feel the need to stand up and say that I need more class time. But I am now.”

• “I thought I knew email and social media… ha! I was surprised how much I didn’t know. Tweetpic? Foursquare? AB Email Testing? This class definitely reinforced my belief that Facebook and Twitter are literally taking over the world. It’s kind of scary actually, but as a 21-year-old, I guess I should be on top of the technology trend

Monday, February 14, 2011

Technology and Marketing Course Welcomes Top Professionals

(AFPTeaches Instructor, Merritt Engel shares her thoughts as the semester wraps up)

Confession. Teaching a course with the word “Trends” in the title is intimidating. It’s an ever-changing fundraising landscape … what works one month can be passé the next … a great new technology emerges only to fade into oblivion. So I opted to go a bit untraditional: less emphasis on textbooks and theoretical lectures and greater focus on the best practices that are working right now (without overlooking strategies that will always endure).

To that end, this semester, we’ve welcomed some of the most cutting-edge marketers and fundraising this city has to offer:

Libby Knox, President, Knox Creative—A nonprofit web guru and content expert, Libby shared terrific examples of her work with Special Olympics and other usability tips.

Jessica Best, Marketing Director, emfluence—Kansas City’s go-to gal of email marketing, Jessica told our group how to send emails ethically, legally and effectively (United Way is among her key clients).

Monica Tiffany, Principal/Creative Director, Merrigan & Co.—A nonprofit copywriting expert who has written for organizations like Komen and Shriners Hospitals for Children, Monica explained her career path and how technology and message are perfect partners.

Chris Lakin, Social Media Advisor, Mailprint—Chris gave us the 411 on the increasingly sophisticated techniques in variable data printing—and how those new technologies are being used to help nonprofits better communicate with their constituents.

Annie Noll, Social Media Specialist, Ottawa University—How do you build a great nonprofit community and how do you grow it? Annie told us how to go viral, what missteps to avoid and offered great video examples.

Angie Olson, Web Content Manager, Unity— Angie manages the flow of information for an international faith-based organization. She gave us the behind-the-scenes view of balancing competing demands and a diverse constituent base.

Angela Ridpath, Experience Planning Director, Bernstein-Rein Advertising—A founding member of the national DMA’s Mobile Marketing Council, Angela gave us insights into the emerging world of mobile marketing.

Looking ahead, we’ll hear from:
Bob Merrigan, President, Merrigan & Co., and Angie Heer, Director of Development, Harvesters—They’ll present a great case study on integration.

Dawn Brelsford, Chief Strategy Officer, Brickmill Marketing (Baltimore, Maryland)—She’ll describe why data drives the best decisions for nonprofits.

A big thank you to all our speakers. I’ve learned a lot, as have the students!
Follow our class on Twitter, hashtag: #afpteaches.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Major Gifts & Capital Campaigns Course Wrap Up

From Steve Byers, Instructor

At the outset, I told the students that this wasn’t merely a class on major gifts, this was a class about life. The skills that make someone a successful major gift fundraiser are skills that make people successful no matter what they do for a living.

Being a good listener, for example, doesn’t just apply to meeting with prospective donors. Being a good listener is beneficial in developing any meaningful relationship, whether it is romantic, platonic or collegial. Persuasive speaking and writing, which are fundamental to major gift fundraising, are helpful in just about every other endeavor you could undertake as well. And understanding what motivates people will not only help you obtain major gifts, it will give you important insights in virtually every aspect of your life.

I don’t know how many of the students will go on to become professional major gift fundraisers. But I am confident that learning and practicing the skills that are covered in this class will have value for them wherever their career paths lead.

Here's what student, Janice Taylor had to share about Steve's class ...

"Instead of just lecturing about elements involved in asking for a major gift, we were able to demonstrate it. We not only used our writing skills in designing a case statement and understanding our prospects, but we actually practiced making the personal ask. This exercise was very beneficial. Videotaping it and learning with practice was just what I needed to give me confidence that I can do this."