By Barbara O'Reilly
When I first joined AFP many years ago, I looked to it as a resource for professional development and networking. As I got involved as a volunteer leader first on the Education Committee and now as a Board member, I’ve come to appreciate a few things about AFP and our chapter, in particular.
First, about our chapter. At ICON in New Orleans in April, I compared notes with friends and colleagues in other chapters. It made me proud that none of them came close to us. Our membership size of more than 1,000 members representing 600 organizations is the largest in the country (yes, we’re twinned with Toronto above our northern border). Equally as impressive, no other chapter seems to offer the breadth of programming and member involvement that we do. On any given month, there are at least one to two formal education or networking sessions. Add on our Bridge Conference (the second largest AFP conference behind ICON!), two webinars just for our chapter each year, and many more activities of our 10 affinity groups. Wherever you are in your career, whatever you want to learn, you can find a range of skills-building and peer engagement that strengthen and connect our nonprofit community.
Since we’re all fundraisers, here’s the pitch. Believe it or not, member dues cover less than half of what it takes to offer such a full suite of programming that puts us hands and shoulders above all other chapters. Besides talented and engaged members like you, the other reason we’re such a vibrant chapter is because we have terrific financial supporters. Chapter Partners like Campbell & Company, CCS Fundraising, DRi, Hazen Inc., Impact Communications, Mission Partners, PS/PS Digital, Pursuant, and Vivo Designs generously invest in our profession locally with their sponsorship of our events and programs. Last year, we launched the Advocates program to offer individual members and smaller-mid-sized vendors a way to directly give back to our chapter. If you are interested in learning more about how you can add your name to our Advocate roster, please contact me or visit our webpage.
But, there’s one more reason I appreciate AFP. It’s the AFP Foundation. Each year, you probably get a solicitation or a call asking you to consider making a gift to BE the CAUSE. Do you know why BE the CAUSE is important? Because it directly supports s the growth of our profession through
- Scholarships—In 2017 nearly 170 future fundraising leaders were able to attend ICON or Leadership Academy for the first time thanks to the Diversity, Chamberlain, or Collegiate scholarships.
- Research—Reports like the Compensation Benchmark Report, the Growth in Giving, Fundraising Effectiveness Project or the Ethics webinar provide us data and sector analysis to show us trends and best practices.
Plus, as, like politics, all giving is local, a percentage of all contributions made by our chapter members to BE the CAUSE is regranted back to us. It’s a total win-win. We’re about halfway toward our 2018 BE the CAUSE goal. In the months to come, as you hear further updates about our campaign, I hope you will consider joining me and the rest of the board in ensuring our chapter and profession remain strong to continue to carry on our important work.