Member Story

AFP Mentors and Mentees Share Their Experiences During National Mentoring Month

Career Development: Your Fundraising Career
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Originally launched in January 2002 as a campaign to promote youth mentorship, National Mentoring Month has become an opportunity for professional organizations to celebrate mentor relationships and encourage exchange of knowledge between members. 

This January, AFP is recognizing our mentors, and asking others to get involved, by applying for our 2023 mentorship programs. 

AFP Mentors and Mentees Share Their Experiences: 

AFP currently offers two mentorship programs, the AFP/Alford Group Women’s Impact Initiative Mentor Program and the AFP/Blackbaud Emerging Leader Mentor Program. Both are currently accepting applications for mentors and mentees for 2023, with an extended application deadline of January 25.

These programs aim to pair mentors and mentees based on the career and fundraising skills each is looking to teach or learn. Mentor/mentee pairs will participate in a virtual, structured, eight-month program with skill-based trainings, tailored to each mentor/mentee partnership. 

Here’s what some of our past participants have had to say about their involvement in the programs:


Ligia Pena, CFRE (WII Mentorship Program – Mentor)
“I found the experience to be incredibly reinvigorating because it basically forced me to look at the sector through a fresh set of eyes, through the eyes of my mentee… sometimes we get a little bit jaded and so having that fresh perspective was really invigorating.”

Tara Stone Medina (WII Mentorship Program - Mentee) 
“I had recently gone out on my own starting my own consultancy, and I was paired with a person who has had her own consultancy for going on 40 years, and it has been a fantastic match."


Lisa Chmiola, CFRE, CSPG (Emerging Leader Mentorship Program – Mentor)
“Mentorship has been a key part of my success as a fundraising professional, all the way back to when I started more than 20 years ago. I felt that the guidance mentors have offered me through various parts of my career have been so important and I believe in paying that forward and giving back to other professionals in that same way.”

Miguel Lopez (Emerging Leader Mentorship Program – Mentee)
“In working with my mentor, and the targeted webinars and educational opportunities through AFP’s Emerging Leaders Program, I was able to think about the possibilities. I was able to expand my thinking on where my career can actually go.”

AFP Mentor Program Committee Shares Tips for Applying

We asked mentor program committee member, Allison Quintanilla, Ed.D., CFRE, CAP®, CNP, to share with us her tips for a great mentor or mentee application: 

1. Be thorough. This application is the only information we know about you so make sure to use the text to your advantage in explaining who you are, what you have done, and what you hope to get out of the program.

2. Have clear, measurable goals. Avoid vague goals like "be a better fundraiser" or "learn new skills". We want to see that you have thought carefully about what participation in the program means and how it can advance your career.

3. Understand what characteristics you want in a mentor. We often match participants based on the skill sets that we have available in our mentor pool. If you are unclear about the type of mentor you are looking for or the qualities you hope they will have, it is more difficult to find a pairing.

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, submit your application before the January 25 deadline! 

AFP/Alford Group Women’s Impact Initiative Mentor Program 

AFP/Blackbaud Emerging Leader Mentor Program


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