AFP News

5 hopes for life after the pandemic

Leadership and Teams: Boards and Volunteers
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Although many people find it hard to imagine life going back to “normal” after 15 months of being turned upside down by a global pandemic which impacted every aspect of our lives, the advancement of the vaccine program and the lessening of new cases of the coronavirus has many thinking about tentative steps forward.  We asked several board members of AFP Canada and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy - Canada to tell us what they hope for in life after the pandemic. Their answers provide a vision for the future and reveal what many have been through during the pandemic.

One: Prioritizing employee health. “The wellbeing of employees, volunteers and team members must be considered the most important part of success,” says Maral Tersakian, CFRE, based in Montréal and a member of the AFP board of directors.

“We hope for ‘respectful workplaces’,” adds Sarah Lyon, CFRE, AFP Foundation board member working out of Halifax. “I think the top interview question workplaces will receive from job candidates will be, ‘what did you do to support your employees during the pandemic’?" 

Two: Seeking out a diversity of voices. We must continue “the soul-searching we are doing as a society and profession around commitment to under-represented populations in the fundraising sector, especially BIPOC folks, women, and LGBTQI2S+ folks. We can, should and must do better,” says Dane Bland, CFRE, Ontario-based AFP Canada board member. “The pandemic, and the murders of innocent Black people that saw the Black Lives Matter movement grow even more and shown that our sector need to amplify and support more diverse voices,” adds Lyon.

Three: Being a channel of good. “I hope donors keep supporting pure philanthropy, which promotes giving for giving’s sake,” says Tersakian. Bland agrees: “There has been an exciting giving response from donors, especially corporate and foundation donors, out of what is sure to be a big economic boom and recovery.”

“With in-person special events cancelled this past year, I have seen more major gifts announced, more effort in planned giving education, and a push to build better relationships with donors on a micro-level,” says Lyon. “That intentional focus will lead to better impact.”

Four: Coming together in solidarity. We must “encourage the coming together in solidarity for the common good of our societies,” says Tersakian. “We want to continue to help each other with our mental and emotional health,” adds Lyon. “When family, friends, neighbours and even strangers, were in need, we helped. We gave money, supplies, our time. We stood outside and banged pots to thank essential workers and participated in drive by birthday celebrations for kids. We asked each other, ‘How are you doing? How can I help’?"

Five: Being prepared. I hope to see “a commitment to never being caught this off-guard by a crisis again,” said Dane Bland, speaking for many in the sector.

A special note: “I can't talk about things that give me hope coming out of the pandemic, without talking about the number one thing that happened to me during the pandemic: having a baby, says Sarah Lyon. “I have hope because I see that the world has changed and that there are good people wanting to continue with the changes made. From better representation of the BIPOC and 2SLGBQT communities, better work environments, dedicated and passionate fundraisers being able to do their jobs which helps those in need, to people putting others first. That is the post-pandemic world my son is going to grow up in. And that gives me hope for the next generation.”

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