President's Perspective Blog

AFP ICON 2023 – Still In Awe

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Mike Geiger on Stage

Phew! It’s now been a little less than two weeks since I walked off stage at the end of AFP ICON 2023 in New Orleans. I’ve thankfully had some time to rest and recharge, as I hope you have too, but I’m also still in awe over how amazing this year’s event was. 

I got a chance to see over 3,500 members of our AFP community, including some old friends and many new faces. (In fact, nearly half of our attendees this year were first timers!) Anytime that many fundraisers come together, you can feel the shared passion and the collective impact made by the dedication you all have to the causes you support. 

I want to thank you all, one final time, for taking the time out of your busy work and personal schedules to join us. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and more importantly, learned a lot that will both improve your organization’s fundraising AND advance your career.

Judging by the wrap-ups I’ve seen from some of our attendees, it sure seems like a good time was had by all, and even those who didn’t attend had some FOMO about the lineup of sessions. Here’s a few that I’ve come across: 

Looking back over our time together, here are a few of my favorite moments:

Seeing the Future of Philanthropy
Honoring the recipients of this year’s Williams R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy, sponsored by Carter, filled me with hope for the future of our profession. Jonah Larson and Shawn Martinez are two outstanding young men who, while still in high school, have already done so much for the communities they support. It’s clear that the future of fundraising is in good hands. 

Youth in Philanthropy


Walking Through the Exhibit Hall
We wouldn’t be able to host AFP ICON without the support of our sponsors and exhibitors, so I want to thank all of them one more time, as well. Walking through the exhibit hall truly drives home what being back in person means, and I am so grateful to be able to be there in the same room again with our community. 


Soaking in the Local New Orleans Culture
The New Orleans Chapter planned an amazing FUNdraisers’ Fest for Monday night. We got to see the Mardi Gras floats, enjoy authentic jazz music, and get a taste of New Orleans cuisine. Not to mention the drinks… but I won’t go into detail about that! 


Getting Inspired by our Keynotes
Emeril Lagasse and Misty Copeland were all that I dreamed of and more. Not only are they amazing in their chosen professions, they are also using those talents to make a difference through their foundations, which is all the more inspiring. I appreciate how they opened up with us about the challenges they’ve faced and the visions they have for the future. 

Misty and Birgit

Even though we just got back, we’re already planning for 2024. I hope seeing this year’s presentations inspired you to submit a proposal of your own, next year in Toronto! The deadline to submit your proposal is May 8, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. CT. 

As always feel free to reach out to me via email at or on Twitter at @AFPMikeGeiger if you have any questions or comments. I’d love to hear from you.

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