AFP Chapter Spotlight: Greater Vancouver Chapter
Ask Me Anything – Virtual Professional Development Sessions
Greater Vancouver Chapter
As we all know, the global pandemic unfolded in March last year and in-person professional development events were cancelled. Amidst the prevalent uncertainty of not knowing when we would gather again, the AFP Greater Vancouver Chapter Professional Development Committee wanted to provide opportunities for members to continue to engage in professional development experiences, while also being able to engage with each other.
For many professionals, the shift to remote working has created some opportunities of increased flexibility of scheduling and also a heightened sense of their day-to-day work either created time for them to focus on improving their skills and participating in PD session, or, as we also recognized, many had to buckle down and truly adapt their practices because of not meeting in person, not having events and galas, etc. The AFP Greater Vancouver Chapter Professional Development Committee recognized there was a huge shift and wanted to make sure we were supporting our members during this transition.
Victoria Caros, CFRE, 2020 Professional Development Committee Chair came up with quick, accessible, and relevant online session program called AMA – Ask Me Anything. Hosted every couple of weeks, from September 2020 to March 2021, these 30-minute Zoom sessions connected members with industry experts to answer the most pressing questions on a variety of fundraising topics: from major and planned gifts, to management, diversity & inclusion, and more. The schedule was every two weeks so we could keep the learning and the growing and the support happening in a more frequent basis.
We included our IDEA committee into co-leading this AMA sessions as well, recognizing that fundraising knowledge and PD were important, but also the emotional and human part of our work also needed to be supported.
Because sessions are short, these sessions are almost like an intro, where speakers are open to connect after the session. It is like a bite size way of knowing that there are people there to support our member’s needs and then they can get deeper if that is what they need.
In summary, we found that members really appreciated the opportunity to actively engage and not just sit on a webinar and listen, but to ask questions and see friendly faces, identify with other people and their challenges, as well as how they have adapted in these times. AMA will continue through 2021.
By Luigi Ronchi
2021 Professional Development Co-Chair