President's Perspective Blog

Celebrate Diversity Month

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access (IDEA): Diversity and Inclusion (IDEA)
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April is Celebrate Diversity Month, so I wanted to take this first Monday Message of April to celebrate the diversity of the AFP community.

It’s no secret that AFP has made IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and access) a key pillar of our strategic plan. It’s something that I’ve addressed often here in my Monday Messages, and something that you’ll hear me talk about in two weeks (wow, just two weeks!) when I’m on stage in New Orleans welcoming many of you to AFP ICON 2023 - and by many of you, I mean almost 3,500 already registered!!!

But even if you have heard some of our IDEA messages before, you may not know everything that our community has been working on lately. Because our volunteers and staff have certainly been busy! 

Here’s just a few of our diversity-focused initiatives from 2023 so far: 

Accessibility Toolkit

A few weeks ago we released an Accessible Fundraising Toolkit, which accompanies a webinar presented by Liz Chornenki and Alison Hughes earlier this year. The toolkit provides fundraisers with practical tips for making their events, outreach, and hiring process more accessible to individuals with disabilities. A big shout-out to Liz and Alison for their hard work on this amazing resource! 

Scholarships for Diverse Communities

Attending a large event like AFP ICON is a great career opportunity, but unfortunately not everyone has the resources to attend. Part of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy’s mission is to provide scholarships that ease the financial burden of attendance, so that more of our membership can participate. 

This year, we’re excited to award 30 Diverse Communities Scholarships and 42 Blackbaud Development Fund Diversity Scholarships, 31 more scholarships than we provided last year! Both of these programs are specifically for individuals from diverse backgrounds, who have never attended AFP ICON. The scholarships cover the cost of ICON registration and foster connection between program participants, helping them build a lasting network of diverse peers. 

I’m so excited that AFP is able to welcome this new group of attendees who may not otherwise have been able to join us, and I can’t wait to meet them! 

Women’s Impact Initiative

Although a majority in the fundraising profession, women still face numerous professional challenges, including a persistent pay gap, and a staggering rate of sexual harassment. AFP’s Women’s Impact Initiative (WII), is a key component of our IDEA program, that focuses on uniting female-identifying fundraisers, conducting research, and providing resources on gender issues.  

As part of WII, the AFP/Alford Group Women’s Mentor Program pairs mentors and mentees for a formal mentorship program, based around specific skillsets and shared experiences. This year’s cohort is due to start this May! Be on the lookout for videos and articles from them, as they share their experiences on AFP’s social media and in our daily newsletter. 

Head of IDEA

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that AFP has hired a new staff member who will serve as AFP’s Head of IDEA. This individual will coordinate our IDEA efforts, helping us make sure that diversity stays top of mind throughout all of our programming. You will have a chance to meet her at ICON - her first day.

In the meantime, I welcome your questions and comments on AFP’s IDEA work, or any of our other initiatives. You can reach 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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