President's Perspective Blog

Creating Impact: Our Roadmap for 2021

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In his first message as chair of AFP, Kevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE, discusses AFP’s new strategic plan for 2021 – 2023, the key pillars in the plan and how it serves as a roadmap for the association’s work in both increasing member value and advancing our most important principles and values.

This is my first opportunity to introduce myself as your new chair. First and foremost, I hope you join me in celebrating that we have officially arrived in 2021! As I reflect on the past year, much of it has been a blur where days merged into weeks and then into months. Keeping focused on our professional goals, while dealing with everything else that life has offered over the last year, has been a struggle. So, I offer my sincere congratulations to all of us for making it through 2020, and hopefully you found “pockets of joy” in an otherwise challenging year.

Of course, 2021 hasn’t started the way we all envisioned either. Like you, I was stunned by the riot at the U.S. Capitol Building and have been thinking about what it means for our work as we talk with donors and supporters. As our president and CEO Mike Geiger mentioned in his message last week, fundraisers have a role to play in bringing people together, rebuilding trust in our organizations, and advancing the principles of inclusion, equity and justice in our society.

I couldn’t agree more, and that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to volunteer to serve as your chair. I’ve been a member of AFP for a long time—since 1993—and AFP has helped me so much personally and professionally in developing my skills and expanding my fundraising knowledge. But equally important for me is being part of a community that exists to help people—that unites people around causes and enhances the quality of life for all.

I’ve always wanted to feel that my job is about more than just making money but about making an impact, and fundraising is exactly that—the IMPACT profession. We make a difference, and in doing so, we demonstrate the values of our work: generosity, commitment, equity, fairness, inclusion and justice.

That’s what I’ve wanted (and received) in my AFP experience, and I imagine it might be what you’re looking for too. And that’s why I’ve ensured that we have covered all of those ideas, principles and values in our new strategic plan for 2021 – 2023.

One of the highlights for me over the last two years as I served as chair-elect was having the opportunity to guide our strategic planning process. I am so appreciative of the Strategic Planning Committee that heard from so many different perspectives and viewpoints—including our boards, chapter presidents, focus groups, past volunteers, Foundation donors, members and nonmembers—to create a plan that will help us make an impact on our profession, the sector and all of society.

I’m delighted to announce we have developed a comprehensive plan (which you can find here) that provides a roadmap with key landmarks and milestones in four critical pillars or issue areas. The pillars are:

  • Promote Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (IDEA)
  • Provide Relevant and High-Quality Fundraising Education
  • Increase Capacity and Strengthen Community
  • Champion Ethical Fundraising Practices

We felt these pillars were core to the AFP community, ensuring that members have a great experience while also driving us forward to advance philanthropy—as well as inclusion, diversity, equity and access—across the nonprofit sector and beyond.

The AFP staff is now in the process of creating key performance indicators (KPIs) with measurable goals within each landmark and milestone so the board can provide meaningful oversight of our progress on an annual basis. Our hope is that by using a strategic plan as a living document that provides a roadmap along our journey, we will continue to deliver value to our membership by differentiating and elevating AFP while creating impact in the sector and all of society.

Most critically, I know that chapters play an instrumental role in fulfilling the goals of our plan. To that end, the Strategic Planning Committee developed a companion toolkit for our chapter boards to use as they develop their own strategic plans, and our staff will continue to provide ongoing support to chapters throughout their own strategic planning processes. As a reminder, our chapter engagement team can help chapters by delivering strategic planning workshops and advising chapter leaders on implementation. Please reach out to Taryn Gold ( if your chapter is looking for support in developing your strategic plan.

We face incredibly challenging, uncertain times, but we now have a roadmap, our strategic plan, to show us the way—to ensure that we create impact both as individuals at our organizations and collectively as a profession. I’m excited to lead our community as we work to raise funds and create a more just, fair and equitable society. I’m proud of who we are, what we do and, most importantly, where we’re headed. I hope you are too, and thank you for joining us on this journey.

Kevin FoyleKevin J. Foyle, MBA, CFRE, is the new chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Global, the largest organization of charitable fundraisers in the world. He is the vice president of development and public affairs for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and has nearly 25 years of development experience in the Houston community and has previously served in numerous volunteer leadership positions for AFP Global

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