President's Perspective Blog

AFP ICON: It’s All About You

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A week from now, three thousand fundraisers will be coming together for the first time in three years at the largest gathering of our profession in the world: AFP ICON 2022. It’s been three years since we last met in person!

I hope I’ll see you there (I mean, you HAVE registered, right?).

It’s going to be an amazing experience, and there are so many reasons you should go. How about more than 100 educational sessions covering every aspect of fundraising—plus you get the recordings of ALL the sessions with your registration—presented by some of the top minds in the profession? The amount of fundraising knowledge and experience gathered in Las Vegas is going to be off the charts, and you won’t be able to leave the city without tons of new ideas you can implement at your organization.

You’ve probably heard me in my videos talking about the incredible networking opportunities, including our community receptions, speed networking sessions and our ICONic After Party on Tuesday night, sponsored by our host AFP Las Vegas Chapter. Not that fundraisers need any help meeting people and striking up conversations, but we try to make that as easy as possible.

I’ve also discussed in previous messages how extraordinary it is when our community comes together. There is nothing in the world like being surrounded by thousands of colleagues who understand your challenges, opportunities and triumphs—colleagues who get you and the daily work you do. That’s a powerful and inspiring feeling that makes you feel like you are truly part of something bigger that’s creating incredible change in the world.

But as much as the conference features great presenters, speakers and thousands of your colleagues, AFP ICON is really about one person: you. And while selfishness isn’t a word I’d apply to fundraisers, I’d encourage you to be a little selfish when it comes to your AFP ICON experience.

What do I mean? First, AFP ICON is your opportunity to present your ideas, opinions and perspectives. That idea for a new campaign you’ve been thinking about, or that slightly off-the-wall innovation that gets your fundraising blood pumping? AFP ICON is the perfect place to gather feedback from presenters and colleagues here in Las Vegas. Looking for new ideas? ICON is the place to get those.

Second, AFP ICON is not just an opportunity to meet people, it’s an opportunity for people to meet YOU. You’ve got a lot to offer, and the people you meet at AFP ICON might be future employers, employees, project or research collaborators, mentors or mentees, or thousands of other possibilities. Get out there and let people see and meet you.

Third, AFP ICON is your time to relax. And no, AFP President and CEO Mike Geiger didn’t just give you the green light to spend ALL your time at the casinos or shows or the myriad of great restaurants available. What I mean is that ICON is your time to get reinvigorated about what you do, and to learn new things in a (relatively) stress-free environment without constant emails, phone calls and Zoom meetings. So maybe a capital campaign or major gifts initiative or crypto currency program isn’t in your immediate future, but you still want to take those sessions. Maybe you bring along that research report you’ve been meaning to review and now you finally can in some out-of-the-way location with your favorite coffee drink. Maybe you create an AFP study group to work on this.

The conference will be there for you, however you want to engage. The choice is yours.

I strongly suggest that you spend some time thinking intentionally and in advance about how you can make the most of it for yourself. And yeah, go ahead, be a little selfish. Because it’s all about you, your development, and your career. That’s what AFP ICON is here for—that’s what AFP is all about.

Can’t wait to see you in Vegas! And if you haven’t yet, go register now!

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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