President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message: Cheers to 6 Years

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6 years ago this week, I started in my role as president & CEO of AFP and the AFP Foundation. It goes without saying that a lot has changed since November 2017. I would have never guessed while opening registration for AFP ICON 2018 in New Orleans, that 2 out of my first 4 ICONs would be virtual. Or that I would soon be navigating transitioning my staff to remote work, while determining how best to continue supporting our members.

The constant for me throughout these changes has been that commitment to AFP’s underlying purpose, which is supporting you, as members of the fundraising profession. 

Over these last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the AFP volunteer leaders who define what that support looks like — what our priorities are as an organization and how we define the fundraising community. 

It wasn’t too long after I started, in January 2018, that I agreed to a joint research project with the Chronical of Philanthropy, focused on sexual harassment in our sector — this has become one of the most important studies with significant impact and importance for our members and non-members alike. 

Then in March of 2018, AFP launched the Women’s Impact Initiative, the first pillar in AFP’s inclusion, diversity, equity, and access program. I can’t express to you how proud I am to be part of an organization that has made IDEA not just an ideal, but a key part of the strategic direction with concrete goals and objectives. 

The research that has come out of the Women’s Impact Initiative has been crucial in addressing sexual harassment, salary inequality, and the lack of women in senior leadership roles. If you have not had the chance, I highly recommend downloading the Speaking Truth to Power Toolkit, which includes the results of AFP’s research conducted with The Ohio State University, as well as assessments and other resources that leaders can use to address and prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Since that first year, our IDEA program has expanded significantly through the tireless work of the IDEA Committee, and now our own full-time staff member, Othalene Lawrence, who was hired as our head of IDEA. 

All of this progress will inform our future, as we work currently on developing the strategic plan for 2025 and beyond. The Strategic Planning Committee, led by Roger Ali, CFRE, and Governance Ecosystem Task Force, led by Adrienne Longenecker, CFRE, have conducted research, surveyed the membership, and are working on not only a strategic plan, but changes to the AFP governance ecosystem that will make participating in AFP more accessible for members interested in getting involved. 

And there’s so much for all of us to look forward to in the months to come! 

I can’t wait to see everyone in Toronto, April 7-9 for the first ICON in Canada during my time at AFP (everyone, get your passports!). 

We will also be opening applications for the next cohort of our Leadership Institute very soon. We’ve already had one successful cohort in July of this year and another taking place right here in our Arlington offices next week. I would recommend checking out the stories from these participants to see if this is a program that could benefit your career as well. 

Finally, I want to remind everyone to keep your mental health top of mind as we move into the busy year-end giving season. Remember, your AFP community is here to support you! 

As always, please feel free to email me at or connect with me directly on X at @AFPMikeGeiger. I’d love to hear from you.

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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