President's Perspective Blog

AFP: Your Community and Professional Support System

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Here are we, heading into August, right in the middle of the dog days of summer. I hope you’ve been able to beat the heat while having a good year of fundraising and are on track to meet—and exceed!—your goals.

We just held our virtual Chapter Presidents Council (CPC) meeting last week, and as I looked at the faces of over 100 different AFP leaders, I realized I am continuously amazed at the strength, resilience and vibrancy of our community.

Obviously, the rise of the delta variant of COVID-19 in communities across North America and around the world is a stark reminder that we are not out of the woods yet. It was definitely on the minds of many in attendance at our CPC meeting, and I know many of you are beginning to prepare for different contingencies while remaining optimistic about the future.

But hearing the stories of our chapter leaders—your stories really—and how we have adapted and transformed our work was so inspiring. Our chapters have done an amazing job of creating a strong sense of community in their local areas, and I hope you have been able to join them through different events or functions.

Maybe you’re still working from home and feeling a little isolated. Maybe you’re back in the office and feeling a bit anxious. Maybe you’re not quite sure what your fundraising campaign at the end of the year is going to look like.

Whatever you’re feeling—whatever you’re going through—your AFP community can help and support you. Reach out to a chapter leader or member, even if it’s someone you may not know well (yet). Attend a chapter event. AFP members are your colleagues, people who understand some of the things you’re going through. AFP isn’t just a place for education and training—it’s your professional support system as well, and I hope you think of us that way. As I like to say in my presentations, we’re are #OneAFP, and what happens to one of us all affects all of us.

On the global level, we’re focusing on community as well and ways we can connect our members—and keep you connected. One way is, in fact, AFP Connect, our online community forums where you can meet and talk with fundraisers from around the world. We’ve just unveiled a new, improved look, as well as some new functionality, for AFP Connect. Check it out and let me know what you think.

We’re also highlighting the wide diversity of thoughts and perspectives through members “taking over” this column, my Monday Message. You might have noticed that lately, half of my messages are from other members. I’m encouraging that. I want you to hear from others so we can all gain a better appreciation of what AFP means to the community, what we offer, and even what we can do better.

I’m personally excited about seeing our community again in-person at our leadership conference, AFP LEAD, Oct. 18 – 20, in Indianapolis. It’s going to be a great event covering all aspects of fundraising and leadership. We are planning to be in-person, though we know things can change, and we are monitoring the situation daily.

However you find your AFP community—whether through individual connections, chapter functions or AFP Global services—I hope you’re reaching out. Human beings are gregarious by nature. Nearly all of us do better together, in a community. And AFP is here in whatever capacity you need us—providing education, unveiling new services, and creating new ways for you to connect with colleagues.

Thanks for being a part of the AFP community—and be sure to reach out to your own network. It bears repeating. We’re all in this together: #OneAFP.

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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