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Scholarship Experience at ICON

Monday, July 1, 2019   (0 Comments)
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I am so grateful to have received a Next Gen Scholarship to attend the AFP ICON 2019 Conference in San Antonio, Texas. My attendance was only possible thanks to the generosity of the AFP Greater Houston Chapter. THANK YOU!


This was my first AFP ICON, and it was such a fantastic experience. The knowledge I received was overwhelming in the best way, and I headed east on I-10 full of ideas once the conference was over.



Some of my biggest takeaways from the conference were:

  1. The importance of diversity in your team and your donors. AFP International has taken a big stance with our IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access) initiative, and several of the sessions reflected this. I attended two very great sessions—The Color of Money and How To Reach LGBTQIA donors.
  2. Donors are not your donors—but you are one of their charities. This is a good reminder that you must continue to work for your donors and that you do not own them.

  3. How to Ask For Anything Artfully. This was one of the most informative sessions throughout the conference. Her three-sentence script provided a really great base for making any ask which is helpful when planning out what you will say on donor visits and meetings.
  4. Make impact front and center. Donors are now more than ever wanting to see where their dollars are going and how they are being used.
  5. Add personal touches to ALL donor engagements no matter how small. Utilize your CRM’s or third party systems to ensure that people feel recognized on a personal level through all the channels you communicate with them.

The AFP ICON Conference was a career-changing experience, and I encourage all fundraisers to attend at least once. Thank you again to AFP-GHC for this fantastic experience!


About The Author


Taylor Brione Ballard, MA, CWP


A native Houston, Taylor fell in love with fundraising when she was only a teenager working as a fundraising intern for a political campaign. Although she figured out politics were not her passion, she developed a love of raising money and interacting with people. After another internship at the Urban League, she was hooked on working in the charitable sector where she felt she could make the most significant impact. This resolve stuck with her throughout college and inspired her to obtain her B.S. in Hospitality Management and minor/certificate in Non-Profit Management from the University of Houston. Five years into her career, Taylor is now in a new role as Development Coordinator 2 at the University of Houston, working to raise money to give students the opportunities she had while in undergrad. Taylor Ballard has been a member of AFP Greater Houston Chapter for 3 years. She currently serves on the Ask The Experts Committee as well as the Holiday Mixer Committee. She is a proud dog mom to her Maltese, Sparkle, and will most likely be wearing pink when you see her.

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