President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message: LEADers in IDEA

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People in a room brainstorming

It may not feel like it yet in D.C. with temperatures still well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, but yesterday marked the unofficial end of summer here in the U.S. – Labor Day. 

I promise Mike’s Monday Message hasn’t been replaced with Mike’s Tuesday History Lesson, but I do want to reflect briefly on the meaning behind the parades and picnics, because it is still extremely relevant to us today. 

Labor Day became a U.S. federal holiday in 1894, to recognize the progress made by the men and women of the labor movement, who campaigned for the basic worker’s rights we take for granted today, such as the 40-hour work week and paid time off. 

This feels particularly timely thinking back to last week’s message about the 2023 AFP Compensation and Benefits Report. Many of these benefits we enjoy are a result of the unending perseverance of those who came before us. And that’s not to say after 1894, everything was fixed. We know even today marginalized groups are not enjoying equal opportunities (for example, the 15% pay gap that still exists in fundraising for women). But that’s where you come in. 

The people whose efforts led to the first Labor Day were leaders of their time. We too have the opportunity now to be leaders and work towards further inclusion, diversity, equity, and access, for our fundraising industry and the broader communities we serve. 

One way you can do that is by joining us at AFP LEAD, AFP’s leadership conference in Philadelphia, October 19-21. 

Many of this year’s sessions incorporate principles of IDEA, demonstrating the role that a culture of belonging plays in communication, strategic planning, change management, and other key leadership skills. 

You don’t need to be an executive, a board member, or a manager to be a leader. Regardless of your job title, we all have the ability to be leaders of change, with our everyday actions and how we choose to treat our fellow employees, our donors, and the communities where we make an impact. 

So, I welcome everyone, in every career stage, to join me, and hundreds of your fellow fundraisers, in Philadelphia next month. The Advance Rate ends September 8, so make sure you register this week to get the best price. 

I hope to see you there!

In the meantime, 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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