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How the ​Association of Fundraising Professionals Silicon Valley Chapter (AFP SVC)
turned around a tired annual event

The opportunity to recognize the contribution of donors—of both time and money—began when President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation officially recognizing November 15, 1986, as National Philanthropy Day® (NPD). Since then, the day has been recognized by numerous state, county and local governments across North America. For 30 years, AFP SVC has celebrated National Philanthropy Day with a luncheon to recognize excellence in local philanthropy.


Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day is an opportunity to honor individuals who stand stand with the nonprofit community, put their concerns and passion into action and make a difference to the region.


Nominations for honorees are made by those working in the nonprofit sphere and reviewed by a volunteer panel of professional fundraisers and local community and business leaders. They look for those who exemplify the best in Silicon Valley giving.


Unfortunately, the event had lost its luster and saw dwindling attendance. The 2018 Vice President of Philanthropy Day took on the challenge, with EVENTures, to refresh the event.


To accomplish the goal of reviving the event, it was time for a new look and feel. 

  • Hire a graphic designer to replace the tired graphic identity

  • Create an evocative feel 

  • Carry the new design into all collateral, online and in print

  • Hold the event in a new, fresh venue


The nominations of honorees needed to be refreshed. The process was outdated: all done by email and handwritten forms.

  • Use an online form for nominations

  • Manage responses closely, e.g., when incomplete

  • Create a new award: Outstanding Innovation in Fundraising


Many of the nonprofits honored are from social service and educational organizations. Visual and performing arts are rarely honored. 

  • Add culture to the event

  • The event opened with an singer from Opera San Jose

  • The tribute to those who passed away the previous year was accompanied by a solo clarinetist

  • Unique hand-blown glass award was designed and made by a San Jose artist

  • Centerpieces were made by nonprofits


The event never ended on time. The room was half empty when the big awards were presented. Our goal was to end it at 1:30 PM. It did.


  • Write a tight, timed script

  • Tell speakers they had 1 minute to speak, not 4

  • Build a script-driven slide deck that was run by one person

  • Hire a Voice of God to read introductions

  • Run the show professionally

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