Keynote speaker was Mayan Quebral, who is one of my idols in "friendraising", and who is ED of Venture for Fund Raising.
It was a joy to also see very familiar faces. Joy because they never tire doing what they love to do best. It was also good to hear that what we have been doing are still effective methods in sustainability. Then there are new ways of doing things which we can try out for ourselves.
I sat in a special interest session (there were 4 different ones simultaneously) on database management and donor research. Funny that I was in a lecture being given by someone much younger than me. Though that was nothing really. It didn't help much however that he was from La Salle. He only had one thing to say about Ateneo: that one of La Salle's biggest donors is an Atenean (while he did not say the reason, we all know that this Atenean was "snubbed" by Ateneo). I think he also said this to sort of even things up as Mayan mentioned earlier that Mr. John chose to give to Ateneo, rather unusual for someone who was more inclined to "greener" pastures.
These gatherings of NGO's are always welcome too as usually there are some stories, success stories, good practices stories that are presented. We really like that. In an ocean of negative stories from many media, goodnews stories make for good gatherings. One participant in the open forum reacted that the stories paint a rather rosy picture of reality as opposed to what we read in the newspapers, to which another reacted: Don't read newspapers. Or you probably read the wrong newspaper. I tend to think the first suggestion was more like it, hehe. I thought that he was new to the NGO movement. Because I must say that we in the not-for-profit, NGO sector find it really important to hear good news. It keeps us hopeful always. There just isn't any room for discouragement in our line of work.
Another point taken was the need to put controls in governance. Heck, to run the organization as a business, not like a business. This was also as a reaction to one of the presentors, who after telling us their success stories, also confessed that they are hoping that what they have done will not all go pfft, as they were recently faced with resignations of 5 key personnel; a review of the incident points to fund mismanagement, and a more thorough audit is in the works.
Another issue taken was the role of government. It was pointed that NGO's like to act as if government did not exist. But they also have the role of checking on government and to also help government. NGO's also accept the fact that there are also many in government who are virtuous, and NGO's role is to find them and enter partnerships with them.
There was also a little tense moment when a person from a workers rights advocacy group gave a spiel that was a little critical of corporate management (there were reps of corporate foundations whom he asked whether their mother companies were "good" to their workers, even as their foundations were practicing corporate social responsibility programs for communities and causes outside of the mother companies). Funny, later, at the end of the forum, when his name was picked from the raffle box, and he won a Vista-ready desktop PC and a licensed Vista OS from a corporate donor. You would think he would not accept. He accepted (the PC goes to the organization), and said that he wasn't really anti-business but was just talking about social justice. I did not understand him, but maybe that justified his accepting the raffle prize.
Of course, there was occasion to talk to some friends. I talked to two groups whom we just might have some cooperative projects going for us. Nice.
I would have liked to have won the PC for my office. Oh, well, I never win in raffles, so events happened as they should have.