Member Snapshots

My AFP Membership has helped me connect!
by Elizabeth Murphy, Vice President, Colum Consultants and AFP Board member

I’ve been an AFP Member since I started fundraising in 2015. At that time, I had just moved to Vancouver and was told by my boss that National Philanthropy Day was coming up and I’d better register for AFP Vancouver Chapter’s professional development day.

I had a great time getting to know other fundraisers and trouble shooting different aspects of managing a Foundation- for which I was now responsible. Over the next three years I participated in many education sessions, networking opportunities, and as a mentee in their mentorship program.

In 2018, I moved home to New Brunswick and joined the AFP New Brunswick Chapter. I enjoyed meeting the Chapter members from all over NB in a communications training session, various local meet-ups, and at two annual National Philanthropy days.

Once I felt I had gotten my feet wet, I ran for a seat on the AFP NB Board and was elected Communications Chair. As a board member, I have worked closely with the team to continue offering professional development opportunities and communications during a pretty wild time in the world.

During this time, I had my son, Cormac. Like many others, I found myself reflecting on the life I wanted to lead and the legacy I wanted to leave. After much discussion, I decided to join my husband in the family business and expand its offerings.

Colum Consultants helps companies secure cash refunds through the Science, Research & Experimental Development program. Now that I’ve joined, we are also offering fundraising services!

Lucky for me- I have a big mouth and shared my plans with my some of my AFP colleagues, because it was not long after sharing this news that I got a phone call from Chris Gilliland to say she may know of a non-profit who could benefit from my services. After a video introduction with the prospective client and Chris as well as a few follow-ups later, I am excited to say I’ve signed my first non-profit client at Colum Consultants!

AFP New Brunswick is a supportive community. No matter where you’re at in your career or life, it’s worth getting involved.

Colum Consultants is proud to sponsor AFP NB's 2022 Annual General Meeting. 

Elizabeth Murphy
Vice President
Colum Consultants



You may already know Darren McLeod.

I’d be willing to bet that if you’re in the nonprofit field anywhere in Canada, you've met him.

Darren is the executive director of the New Brunswick Medical Education Foundation. It’s Canada's only nonprofit organisation to provide return-to-service medical education scholarships for New Brunswick medical students.

He’s connected. He’s kind. And he’s one of our longest-standing  AFP New Brunswick Chapter members.

Join us in a walk down memory lane with Darren. We’ll chat about how he got into the nonprofit field in the first place (and why he’s stuck with it for so long!)


Chris (AFPNB): You began your career in marketing and communications. How did you make the move to fundraising and development roles?


Darren: I got my first crack at a fundraising role at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. I had already been volunteering on a couple of committees when I was offered the role of manager development and marketing. That contract became a full-time job for almost three years. So, it was my first real foray into fund development.

My job was all-encompassing. I was in charge of all special events, galas, member events... At one point I had the gift shop in my portfolio. It was a little crazy…


Chris (AFPNB): Laughing

Which leads nicely into my next question: What has kept you in this dynamic industry? What do you love about fundraising?


Darren: I really enjoy the personal interaction. Building stewardship for donors and connecting people to a cause they care about.

I love the donor engagement component of development work. There are donors that I connected with early in my career that I continue to work with.


Chris (AFPNB): So it's about relationships...?


Darren: Oh, yes. Hugely about relationship building and understanding donors’ interests. What compels them to give. Finding ways to nurture that relationship and build on it. Staying in touch and making them feel valued.

I've built a network of friends across the province and the country who are like-minded and work in philanthropy.


Chris (AFPNB): Has your AFP membership helped you expand your network and grow in your career?


Darren: Absolutely! In particular, I really value conferences - when we could go to the national conferences, that is.

Conferences have been game-changing in areas I was trying to learn more about - whether it was topics like planned giving or DAFs (donor-advised funds).

They’re a chance to learn from others who have been in the business for years, or who are fresh and have a different focus on the power of philanthropy and what it means.


Darren suggested an AFPNB fundraising mini-conference in the near future. It sure would be great to meetup, get introduced to new friends and new ideas, and re-connect with our old pals.


What do you think? What are your thoughts on future professional development sessions? We’d love to hear your opinion. Your feedback in this short survey will help us as we complete our activities plan for 2022 and beyond.