Member Story

NL Chapter Spotlight: ‘It’s about the people’

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Group of Newfoundland Chapter Members


The hospitality that has become synonymous with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador will be on full throttle this summer as the AFP Newfoundland and Labrador chapter hosts the Canadian Leadership Retreat in St. John’s from July 20–22. 

The retreat, which is one of many activities of this busy chapter, will bring AFP leaders from across the country together to discuss the fundraising profession in a Canadian context. Chapter board members are encouraged to attend, especially chapter presidents and presidents-elect, in addition to board and committee members of both AFP Canada and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy - Canada.  

“We are expecting about 80 people this year,” says Kelly Reid, president of the AFP Newfoundland and Labrador chapter, who is organizing the event with three of her fellow chapter board members—president-elect, Christina Morgan, CFRE, past-president, Emily Geary, and government relations director and AFP Canada board member, Rebecca Dutton, CFRE.

The purpose of the retreat is to create a forum for community and national leadership to contribute to initiatives led by AFP Canada and the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada, as well as affording the opportunity for chapter leaders to learn from each other, including what’s working and what’s not working at their chapters.  

“The retreat gives us a chance to talk about things we normally don’t have time to talk about throughout the rest of the year,” adds Reid. “The issue of sexual harassment in the profession was part of last year’s retreat, for example.” Leaders discussed AFP’s new resource Speaking Truth to Power in Fundraising: A Toolkit as one of the topics at the retreat in 2022. 

Hosting the retreat is only one item on the agenda of this busy chapter. It holds an average of one professional development activity a month. Often attended by more than half of all chapter members which, at any given time, ranges between 50 and 60 fundraisers, “the PD activities are popular,” says Reid.

“One of the things that makes fundraising in Newfoundland and Labrador a bit different than from fundraising in the bigger centres is that we have a lower capacity donor base, where there is a generous, but limited, group of prospective donors that all charities are approaching,” says Reid, “and that really impacts major gift fundraising.” 

Because the same cohort of people is being asked constantly, Reid says building those relationships is the top priority for any fundraiser seeking major gifts. 

“It’s the hardest on new fundraisers who don’t really have experience in that environment,” she says, “and that’s why it’s so important for their organizations to invest in their fundraising professionals. They need the support and guidance the chapter’s professional development initiatives can provide.” 

The AFP NL chapter also has a unique mentor program—the Barbara McInnes Mentorship Program—which pairs ten mentors with ten mentorees, based on their experience and desired learnings. It commemorates the life of Barbara McInnes, a well-respected fundraiser who passed away in 2021. 

The program was endowed by Mclnnes’ daughter, Leah McInnes-Eustace, ACFRE, to reflect her mother’s special bond with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and ran its first group of pairings in the summer of 2022.

In addition, the chapter is planning a full agenda for its Fundraising Day in June. Government relations work at both the national and provincial level has not escaped the attention of the chapter. To make holding special events easier by eliminating some out-dated regulations around the kind of license needed to hold an event, the chapter wrote to the provincial ministry explaining the consequences of current regulation. It is now in conversation with government officials to make the necessary changes. The chapter is also very involved in AFP Canada’s advocacy holding meetings with Members of Parliament about the importance of creating a dedicated secretariat in the federal government for the sector. 

“It all comes down to people,” says Reid, “and we have the most amazing board, who is active and roll up their sleeves for any job. And because communication turned virtual during the pandemic, we were drawn closer to our colleagues in AFP. That’s why there’s so much happening here, and we love it.”

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