Speaker: Strike Right Chord and Donations Will Come

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WASHINGTON -- It is the job of fundraisers to show the American people that the meaning of life is giving, Father Val J. Peter, executive director of Girls and Boys Town, said yesterday at the Direct Marketing Association's Nonprofit Federation Conference.

"Make your cause as attractive as it is," Peter said in the opening general session at the Grand Hyatt. "People want to help, and if we can touch that emotion we will succeed."

People will donate if given the opportunity, he said, even though direct mail giving is down about 20 percent.

Peter also said that the children who lived through the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the aftermath will be lifelong givers.

He compared the reaction to what happened after Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941 saying just as the world changed for us then, it has changed for our children now.

"Major events change people's thoughts, feelings and behavior," he said.

In an introduction to Peter's speech, conference chairman Nick Stavarz of InfoCision Management said this year's conference broke the attendance record from last year. While 400 delegates attended in 2001, 470 had already checked in as of Wednesday morning.

He also announced that 19 new organizations joined the DMA Nonprofit Federation over the past year.

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