President's Perspective Blog

Mike’s Monday Message: The Wall of Connection

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Pushpins with string

While many in the U.S. were celebrating the Fourth of July,  Birgit Smith Burton (AFP Global’s board chair) and I found ourselves in the country we (the USA) gained independence from, attending the Chartered Institute of Fundraising’s convention, the largest in-person gathering of fundraisers in the UK. The theme of this year’s event was “Connection”, which if you know me, you’ll know is something I place great value in and always advocate for in the fundraising community. 

In line with this theme, the conference featured a Wall of Connection, where attendees were encouraged to add a piece of artwork or message about how they planned to better connect with their cause, colleagues, friends, or family over the next year. This concept really resonated with me and made me think of all the many and varied connections in our own AFP community. 

During the pandemic, connection was hard to come by, so we made a conscious effort to make connection a priority. As the pandemic has subsided, however, connection has become less of a focus, somewhat falling by the wayside as we struggle with other economic and societal challenges. 

So, what would you write on the Wall of Connection? What can we do to reconnect this year across the different aspects of our lives? For example…

Cause: Your connection with your cause is crucial. It’s part of why you’re able to relate to donors and convey the importance of their gift. So, take another look at the success stories; talk to the community you’re serving. Remind yourself of the impact you’re making. 

Colleagues: Have you done anything lately (or even differently) to connect with your fellow AFP members? Make a post or reply to a discussion on AFP Connect. Join an affinity group to meet people who share your background and interests. Make plans to attend an AFP event such as AFP LEAD, coming up in October. Having a network of people you can bounce ideas off of is so important to keep you motivated and engaged with your work. 

Friends/Family: It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of day-to-day activities and forget to take the time to really connect with friends and family. Make sure that you’re taking your vacation time and prioritizing work-life balance. Vacation doesn’t have to be a big trip. Take a daytrip somewhere local, or just have a stay-at-home vacation (aka StayCation) in your own backyard, as long as you’re making some time for yourself and your loved ones to relax this summer! 

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

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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