Five Things Members Say About Being Members of AFP
When we talk to people about what they get out of being members of AFP, we hear a wide range of answers. With more than 3,000 members in Canada, and more than 30,000 members throughout the world, everyone is unique. But we decided to ask three representatives of AFP chapters in Canada to see what belonging to a large global organization means to them. Sabrina Ali, AFP Edmonton chapter president, Daphne Carter, AFP Nova Scotia Chapter president, and Adam Say, AFP South Eastern Ontario president were kind enough to indulge our questions. Here’s what we heard.
1. Building my network.
Connecting and building relationships with our members, colleagues, partners and others in the nonprofit sector all over the world is a feature of being an AFP member. “I really like the chance to expand my network beyond the people I work with, as well as accessing big events across the country. The ability to network in our region, nationally and internationally,” Adam Say, AFP South Eastern Ontario president, told us. “I like connecting and building relationships with our members, colleagues, partners and others in our NFP sector near and far,” says Daphne Carter, AFP Nova Scotia chapter president.
2. Further develop the breadth of my knowledge and experience.
Building new skills and sharpening others from local, national and international experts is seen as an opportunity provided by AFP. “It’s given me a really good opportunity to expand my skill set, get involved in things that wouldn't be part of my daily job, get a lot of different experience, and further develop within the sector but in a totally different way from my normal job. It’s awesome,” according to Say. “We want to ensure all of our educational sessions are inclusive, whether you are up north in Alberta or you're in Edmonton or if you just don’t want to come to an in person session,” says Sabrina Ali, AFP Edmonton Chapter president. “We want to ensure that our members are getting the full benefits of being a member, regardless of where they are located or any barrier they may face.”
3. Free stuff.
Having access to a range of resources without cost. “The professional development and education that’s available for free is one of the most important things a member can get out of AFP,” says Sabrina Ali, AFP Edmonton Chapter president. “There's so many different opportunities and different resources that basically you can find everything you need,” Say told us.
4. It’s helped build my career.
AFP is seen, especially at the chapter level, to support members in their professional development. And to understand what our chapter members need, not to dictate to our members what we think that they need. “When I first started in fundraising, AFP was the place where I learned the basics of fundraising. I owe a lot to AFP for helping to build my career,” says Ali. “There are a lot of new resources being added all the time. AFP is trying really hard to find those value added pieces that work for you wherever you're at in your career,” according to Say. “They are working at finding things that work for you.”
5. Advancing our sector with one voice.
For charities of any size, it’s important there’s one voice to make those in government and the general public aware of the importance our sector holds for our economy and communities. For our donors and funders, AFP is seen to add a level of integrity and ethics that validates the profession. “Having a national organization coordinating our partner organizations and speaking on behalf of our sector in once voice is vital to ensuring the success of the Canadian charitable sector,” says Carter.
If you’d like to read about the “official” benefits of AFP membership, check out Placing Value on AFP Membership, published in Advancing Philanthropy in January 2018.