President's Perspective Blog

Creating Meaningful Change for the Long-Term

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There are so many things happening right now at AFP which are energizing me and that I want to share with you.

But my enthusiasm is also tempered by the senseless shootings that occurred last week in Atlanta. I hope you’ve seen my statement from last week. Even as we mourn the victims, the incident only strengthens our resolve to fight for a fair, equitable and inclusive society free of racism and bias.

I want to mention our unique role as fundraisers—something we do that very few professions can claim to do. We bring people together, regardless of their background. We unite individuals that may have very little in common except for a belief in a particular cause. That’s not a role we should take lightly, because it gives us the opportunity to foster greater understanding between people—to help them see that we have so much more in common than what separates us. That can be a powerful way to bring up and discuss issues related to equity, diversity, fairness, compassion and justice, and I hope you’ll consider how you can make that happen.

We have work to do in our own profession, and that’s why we’re launching our IDEA survey later this month. This is a ground-breaking survey that we’re collaborating on with 8 other organizations, and I urge you to participate in the survey when you receive it. With so many organizations involved in this survey, the resulting data will be instrumental in expanding our baseline knowledge of the state of diversity and inclusion in the charitable sector and how we move forward.

And we continue to celebrate Women’s History Month—because lifting up the stories of women in philanthropy and recognizing the impact they have made, while continuing to fight for gender equity in fundraising, are critical priorities for AFP. I want to thank Liz LeClair, CFRE and Michelle Edgerton for sharing their stories and perspectives earlier this month. Last week, Dr. Erynn Beaton and Dr. Megan LePere-Schloop, our research partners at The Ohio State University, unveiled new data on the prevalence of sexual harassment in the profession. We were also so honored to be able to recognize Dr. Elizabeth Dale as our Emerging Scholar for her research related to gender and philanthropy; the LGBTQ community and giving; and diversity, equity and inclusion in fundraising. 

But equally important to me, and to all of AFP, is that we do not simply tokenize months like Women’s History Month, Black History Month or the upcoming Celebrate Diversity Month. While we want to celebrate these moments appropriately, we are firmly committed to ensuring that we hear from diverse and unique voices throughout the year, not just in one month. All of our departments at AFP have made plans to ensure you receive a wide diversity of perspectives, and that we highlight these issues and work to solve challenges related to equity and inclusion throughout the year.

We are in a new era—of addressing long-ignored inequities and understanding what it means to be truly inclusive and diverse—and it is much-needed. We’re all learning along the way, and we’re going to make mistakes. But as long as we’re not afraid to have tough conversations, and as long as we remain committed—for the long-term—to our key principles, we can march forward, create impactful change and celebrate the incredible work of so many different voices that make up our society and the fundraising profession.

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05 Aug 2021 AFP News
02 Aug 2021 President's Perspective Blog
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