President's Perspective Blog

Helping You Change the World in 2019

change sign in neon

Last week, I talked about AFP’s key accomplishments from 2018—our new website, microlearning videos, the Women’s Impact Initiative and AFP Connect, among others—and how they helped you become a better fundraiser, colleague, professional and leader. I hope you had a chance to review that list and are using some of those important benefits and programs that AFP offers.

This week, I want to focus on 2019. While we had a great 2018, I’m even more excited about what we can do for you this year—how we can help you change the world! Some of our key priorities include:

  • Leadership development: I think this is one of the most important, but least understood issues that we must address. By the nature of our work, fundraisers need to be leaders. We must be able to bring together not just donors, volunteers and leaders in the community, but also staff at all various levels. We need to be able to lead up, down and even sideways—and work with many different people to create work environments where fundraising and philanthropy are respected and nurtured. In 2019, led by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, we’re going to being launching a series of initiatives aimed at developing leadership and other related skills in fundraisers across all levels of experience.
  • Next Generation of Fundraisers: Another key challenge is the record number of retirements over the coming years in the fundraising profession and nonprofit sector. We need to bring more fundraisers into the profession—especially younger people who will serve as the backbone of our field into the future—and keep them engaged. This means getting them ready for the first job—AND all future jobs. Fundraising is an attractive career option, and I’m excited about several new programs we’ll be offering this year to help members identify and build their career path. Members will be able to receive real-time AI interview coaching and receive one-on-one guidance from resume experts, job search strategists and others. This is a long-term project but one that is crucial for the continued strength and vibrancy of our profession.
  • The Women’s Impact Initiative: In 2018, we launched the Women’s Impact Initiative (WII) because we can’t have a profession where women make up nearly 75% of all practitioners, but account for only 30 percent of leadership positions. This year, we’ll be producing new research on preventing harassment in the profession and identifying ways to close the gender salary gap. In addition, we’ll be holding the first Women’s Impact Summit. October 5 - 6, in Phoenix, Ariz., linked with our Leadership Academy, Oct. 3 - 5.
  • Ethics: We haven’t done enough to tell government, the media, the public—the world! —that AFP has the only enforceable code of ethics in the profession. We haven’t done enough to educate donors and the public about why ethics matters in a very real, tangible way. In 2019, that’s going to change. Our Code is a differentiator—it says we hold ourselves and each other to a higher standard. We’ll be using this powerful, positive document to educate the public about our profession, our impact and how we safeguard and enhance the public trust.

These are just some of the major projects we have already embarked on in 2019, though you’ll see many more changes as well, such as new educational offerings and member benefits based on our educational audit and call for proposals completed last year. The centerpiece of our work will continue to be our new dynamic website,, and I encourage you to check back there often for all the latest news, trends and information you need to know about fundraising.

It’s all about offering you the best programs and services, and the best value and member experience possible. I hope you see AFP as your partner, and everything we do is to help you create impact and change the world.

Thanks for being a member of AFP and being dedicated to the highest ethical standards and best practices. I and the entire staff and boards look forward to serving you over the next 12 months (and beyond) and wish you the best of luck in your fundraising.

I’m Mike Geiger, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Though I’m the one posting, it’s really your thoughts and views that we'll be posting, as much as mine —it's about the AFP community and the fundraising profession. I want to keep you up-to-date with what’s happening at AFP, but I really want to hear from you. So e-mail me your comments, questions, concerns, feedback, and items you think I should be covering.

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