President's Perspective Blog

AFP Leading: Practicing our IDEA Ideals

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In September 2020, AFP led our sector once again (and encouraged others to follow suit) by requiring salary ranges and accepting lived experience as the equal of institutional education on all our job postings. Here’s the link to that statement.

When we implemented this requirement on our job board, we knew that we would lose revenue because not everyone agreed with this or were willing to post their salary ranges. This despite the fact that jobs with salary ranges received 30% more impressions than those without salary ranges.

Well, guess what? Your AFP community is back at it—we are going to lead once again and we hope that others will follow. Many did on the salary ranges and the lived experience… but not all.

Before continuing, let me take this opportunity to challenge all those organizations that aren’t including salary ranges on all their job postings and that aren’t accepting lived experience on equal footing with institutional education. I ask that you please step up and join AFP and many other organizations in living these important IDEA principles.

So as you know, promoting inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA) is one of AFP’s four strategic pillars. It’s at the heart of many of our initiatives, and it’s woven throughout our goals, our events, our many offerings, and our day-to-day work. In the five years I’ve been at AFP, while building upon our expansive suite of educational offerings, we’ve been laser-focused on bringing more diverse voices to the forefront. Diversity, of course, encompasses so many different social, ethnic and experiential components.

Two of the ways in which we’ve sought to enhance that diversity and lift up leaders of our community is through our Boards of Directors and with our subject matter experts.

People of color represent half of our AFP Global Board of Directors this year, and we have an incredible mix of experience, expertise, and different perspectives that will only strengthen our work in advancing ethical and effective fundraising. Furthermore, in 55 days, AFP’s most diverse board ever will be led by our first Black female board chair–here’s looking at you, Birgit Smith Burton (Founder and Executive Director of AADO–the African American Development Officers network).

Regarding subject matter experts, AFP provides many opportunities for fundraising thought-leaders to share their expertise, and two high-profile examples are those chosen to speak at AFP ICON, the most significant fundraising conference in the world, and at AFP LEAD, our premier leadership conference. Each year our amazing staff members and volunteer leaders work painstakingly to curate gold standard content for these two events.

Remember I started out this message talking about another leadership moment for AFP? Let’s get back to that. While we’ve focused on diversity on the stages of those two events, we haven’t shared those details publicly. Until now. We want to hold ourselves accountable, track our progress, and keep you invested and informed of that progress.

Below are our speaker demographics for AFP LEAD 2022.

picture of a graph depicting AFP LEAD demographics

a graph depicting AFP LEAD 2022 demographics

We created these graphics because we think this is important information to share as AFP continues our work towards a more IDEA-guided world. It’s important to note that this is not just a one-off graphic. We intend to present this graphic for each of our events and, over time, we intend to expand our diversity demographics.

We hope that our speakers will join us in this disclosure so that eventually we will not have any speakers identifying as “prefer not to say.” While that is our hope, we do acknowledge and respect that not everyone will be equally comfortable answering these questions.

As you can see in the graphics, and as you know about our sector as a whole, we still have much work to do to lift up diversity and underrepresented communities.

My final comment is a challenge—a challenge to every organization that holds events with speakers:

Publicly share the diversity of your speakers.

Sometimes you will feel good about your diversity and, honestly, sometimes you won’t—and that’s ok. We are all on an incredibly important journey. Let’s support each other along the way.

This is the magic of the AFP community—supporting, lifting up, encouraging, but also holding each other accountable.

If you have thoughts on this or anything else, please don’t hesitate to reach me via email at or on Twitter at @AFPMikeGeiger. I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. If you’re able to vote this week, please do. We may not all agree all the time, but it’s so important for all voices to be heard.

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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