We were recently inspired by a group of young professional women who came together on a Saturday morning to discuss fundraising for their upcoming conference. These women were under 40, energized, and engaged. They were getting ready to launch their sponsorship program and wanted guidance regarding how to solicit.
We appreciated their reaching out and inviting us to meet with them. During our time together they discussed conference goals and content, brainstormed potential sponsors, and practiced role playing. They closed with a list of action items and a date (the following Wednesday!) for their next meeting. All this was accomplished in less than 90 minutes. These are women of action.
We were inspired to be in their presence for a number of reasons. First, they launched their inaugural conference in 2013 in response to their need for a way to connect with other young professional women, to learn from women who are a bit more established in their careers, and to create a supportive environment of like-minded women here in Memphis. They called their conference the Modern Day Woman Conference (MDWC) and it was a great success with over 200 women attending. The 2014 conference topic is balance: how do we create balance in our lives? How can we grow in our careers, be active in our communities, and enjoy our roles within our families? These are questions women of all ages grapple with. Too often we grapple with them as individuals, or with a small circle of friends. The MDWC 2014 creates a public forum for the discussion.
The conference is organized by Young Women Philanthropists (YWP) an auxiliary of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Here’s how they define themselves on Facebook: “We are young, energetic, professional, resourceful, confident, family-oriented, insightful, influential, persuasive women committed to learning, contributing, and owning… PHILANTHROPY!!”
We love that! They focus on educating, empowering and training the next generation of philanthropic women leaders through active participation in fundraising. “We are training today to fill the shoes of the more experienced philanthropists tomorrow.”
This racially diverse group of women is busy setting their agenda, helping to create the city they want to live and work in, and giving back. They are supporting each other, and looking to women who are a bit more experienced in life, work and philanthropy to help guide their growth. We share their story to inspire you to join with others in creating community solutions. If you are under 40, you are the future of your community and our country. We need your collective engagement. Claim the title of “philanthropist” – one who loves humanity – and join with others in creating the world you want to live in.
Learn more about young women philanthropists at www.wfgm.org.
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.