AFP Emerging Leaders

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young professionals

AFP is committed to engaging young professionals and youth exploring philanthropy and building their fundraising careers. AFP recognizes the importance of outreach to young professionals in order to assure that effective and ethical fundraising is practiced well into the future.

Serving Young Professionals
To serve young professionals, men and women 30 and under working in development, AFP created the Next Generation Committee. The goal of the Next Generation Committee is to seek ways to engage, serve and support young professionals to help support success  and career development.


AFP/Blackbaud Emerging Leader Mentor Program
Our mentorship program connects emerging leaders with inspirational mentors to help grow, evolve and further new fundraiser education to develop leadership skills and create an inclusive and equitable future of our profession.

AFP/Alford Group Women’s Impact Initiative Mentor Program
The Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) was launched in 2018 to assess, address and highlight the specific issues and challenges that women in the fundraising profession face and to continuously create and market resources that help overcome gender inequity issues in the profession.

Leadership and Career Development 

Leadership Institute
AFP Leadership Institute: As baby boomers retire, nonprofits are having trouble finding qualified individuals to fill key leadership roles. AFP Global, in partnership with the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, is addressing this gap with a new leadership development program, designed to provide the next generation with the skills they need to claim a seat at the leadership table. Learn More

AFP LEAD is AFP’s annual leadership conference which features sessions specifically designed for current and future fundraising leaders. Learn More

Start now to build your portfolio to become a Certified Fundraising Executive, the internationally-recognized baseline professional credential for nonprofit fundraisers. Learn More


Sean McCarthy and Destiney PattonAFP Award for Outstanding Young Professional: The Award for Outstanding Young Professional recognizes fundraisers under the age of 31 who display excellence in raising funds, inspiring donors, managing campaigns and dedication to the charitable sector. Learn More

AFP Voices of Emerging Leaders
AFP’s Voices of Emerging Leaders series spotlights the career paths and accomplishments of young professionals. To be featured, reach out to

Madelyn MartinecEmerging Leader Commonly Asked Questions with Madelyn Martinec, MBA: "I think the most important factor to decide where to work or stay in a current position is to really look into the organization’s ethics. This is essential if you are seeking a fundraising position. If the organization isn’t ethical or there are red flags, it may not be a good fit." See more advice from Madelyn's Q+A.  

ChelseaEmerging Leader Commonly Asked Questions with Chelsea Rudisill, CFRE: "While there’s no prescribed length of time for a job to run its course, I would recommend trying to stay in a new role for at least a year. I find that in a development job, it takes about that long to really understand the organization and its fundraising cycle. It’s also helpful to stay long enough to be able to report on major accomplishments, such as a project you completed or meeting or exceeding revenue goals." See more advice from Chelsea's Q+A.

Engaging Young Professionals 

Young Professional Engagement Guide
The next generation is the key to the future of the fundraising profession and of your chapter. This new guide will provide tools to help you engage the emerging leaders in the profession!

Tips for AFP Chapters to Engage Young Professionals
As the fundraising profession continues to evolve, it is important to help prepare future generations of professionals in our field. Based on feedback from the membership, a list of opportunities and resources has been compiled to help you develop or build upon an already existing program within your chapter.

Tips for Young Professionals
As a young professional in the field of fundraising, it is important to remember that you are not alone. There are many members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals who are in your community and willing to help you find the resources for success. We hope these tips will provide you with a good place to start in your new career or to become more engaged with your profession and your association.


  • - The Chronicle of Philanthropy: News source for charity leaders, fund raisers, grant makers, and others involved in philanthropic enterprises.
  • - Young Non Profit Network: an organization that supports the growth, learning, and development of young professionals in the nonprofit sector.


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