Programs & Events

The value of your membership in WIDN is access to our monthly informative and interactive programs.  We send out registration opportunities with our monthly e-newsletter. Guests may attend up to two events at no cost, except the Winter Holiday Party and June Best Practices program which are members-only.

Meetings are usually held the first Tuesday of the month, September through June, with informal networking starting at 11:30 (feel free to bring your lunch). Program presentation runs from 12:00 – 1:30 and is hosted by a different non-profit organization each time.

If you are not yet a member and are interesting in joining our group, please contact Sarah Schmidt at


The Intersection of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Fundraising: Why it matters @ Virtual Zoom Meeting
Oct 6 @ 11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Time: 11:45 Small Group Networking
     12:00 -1:00 Program
Venue: ZOOM Link will be emailed 24 hours prior to meeting.
You must be a current WIDN member to attend. You can renew your membership or join WIDN via the link below.
Price: Free to current WIDN Members. Join/Renew your WIDN membership here.
In this time of pandemic and the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, our society has faced a new reckoning about systemic racism. Most of our non-profits/educational organizations took a stand earlier this year. We sent out emails denouncing racism. We put BLM banners on our websites. Yet taking a stand is not enough. Where do we go from here?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion might be articulated in our organizational goals, but many of the successful fundraising techniques developed over time (giving clubs, high-end events, expensive donor walls) are exclusive and meant to be that way. And, while most nonprofits espouse a vision of equity where all people have the opportunity to thrive, there are significant barriers for participation, especially for people of color, when it comes to employment, leadership, and involvement.
A seasoned not-for-profit management professional, Brenda Asare, CEO, the Alford Group, will help us examine why now, more than ever, our organizations need to be more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive to meet the challenges of the future.
How do we examine our own personal implicit/unconscious biases?
How can we – as fundraisers – influence the way our organizations integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion into their DNA?
How can we change our hiring, management, and leadership cultivation in fundraising so that people of color see themselves in our fundraising operations?
How can we adapt fundraising cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship methods to build relationships with people outside of our usual circles?
Brenda assumed the role of President & CEO in February 2014. Since joining The Alford Group over a decade ago, she has assisted clients in taking their organizations to the next level by building their capacity, strengthening their boards, creating donor-centered relationships, and elevating the culture of generosity to support bold visions to impact communities in more meaningful ways. She has partnered with clients to raise over $2 billion to create
game-changing results to fuel their visions.

Brenda brings over 25 years of not-for-profit management and resource development experience. Prior to joining The Alford Group, she was Chief Development Officer with the American Red Cross in Chicago where she spearheaded a $13 million campaign to build the country’s first Disaster Operations Center. She also headed up various disaster fundraising efforts raising over $100 million. There she recruited and mentored talented
development professionals who have gone on to work as leaders in the nonprofit sector.

She is a frequent speaker on Why Diversity Matters in Philanthropy, Principal and Major Gifts development and Board Governance. Workshop attendees enjoy her sense of humor and the way she creatively makes topics come to life. Her passion lies in ensuring brighter futures for children in need of positive influences and access to opportunities so they have a springboard to succeed.