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2019 Canadian Leadership Retreat Recap

Career Development: Your Fundraising Career
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Late in July, 80 AFP leaders gathered for what has become one of the most popular AFP events in our country: the Canadian Leadership Retreat. This gathering offers the opportunity to connect with other fundraising leaders and AFP staff for meaningful dialogue on uniquely Canadian issues that affect our profession.

For those who took part in this year’s retreat, I hope that you returned to your workplace with renewed energy. I know that Susan Storey, CFRE, chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada, and I did. Starting with our opening dinner, to the closing session on the new Narrative for Canadian Fundraising, I believe each delegate returned with a new understanding of our profession, our community and, like me, themselves. It was a great few days!

We are grateful to the Greater Vancouver Chapter for engaging Brad Marsden, Gitksan Nation, residential school facilitator, suicide awareness and personal growth advocate, who gave a very powerful session on Truth and Reconciliation through the lens of trauma associated with the Canadian Residential School System. And Kris Archie, executive director of The Circle, who challenged each of us in our positions of power not to be complicit in perpetuating racism within our families, our workplaces and our communities by staying silent. It’s up to each of us to make change happen.

Ian MacQuillin, from Rogare–The Fundraising Think Tank, challenged us to be wary of a “voluntarist ideology” around the fundraising profession and to shift our mindset and our language toward a “professionalist ideology.” This was perfect timing! We recently wrapped up the creation of a new Narrative for Canadian Fundraising and only two days before had trained our first cohort of 36 fundraisers on how specifically to use this narrative in conversations with our stakeholders, including the media, the public, donors, boards and bosses. If you want to catch a glimpse of the new narrative in action, you can watch Juniper Locilento, CFRE here.

Our chapter and national leaders also spent time delving into important topics such as ethics, government relations, Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access (IDEA), and chapter succession planning to name just a few examples.

These sessions, and our chapter-hosted west coast salmon BBQ, provided a great backdrop for some fruitful conversations—conversations that will ultimately serve to make our work as leaders of AFP just that much better.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce that the Foundation raised $13,000 during the retreat, monies that will go to support a variety of different programs including the national scholarship program.

Finally, the board members of both AFP Canada and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada had the opportunity to begin to sow the seeds for our continued collaboration during a facilitated session. This work will allow us to work effectively and collaboratively together for the benefit of the national AFP, our chapters and members across Canada.

On behalf of Susan and myself, I would like to thank the generous sponsors, along with the Greater Vancouver, Okanagan and Vancouver Island chapters, for making our retreat possible.

We are excited that next year’s retreat will take place in Montreal. We know the Quebec Chapter will do a super job hosting it!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Lisa Davey.


Paula Attfield, Chair, AFP Canada

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