Advancing Philanthropy

From the President: Fundraising…The IMPACT Profession

big wave

I’m sure you have seen or heard about some of the changes at AFP recently. Not just our new website, though that’s a critical part of our changes, but also this magazine, Advancing Philanthropy, as well as our newsletters, our emails, and the general look and feel of your AFP fundraising community.

Part of the strategy behind that change is to better reflect who we—the fundraising profession—are and what we do. The stereotype is that we sit in an office all day and call people, and that stereotype needs to end immediately. We are out in the community, reaching out to all groups, creating connections and relationships and inspiring people to take action. We’re energetic and inspired, passionate and engaged, personable and knowledgeable. We seek to be innovative and dynamic, inclusive and diverse, equitable and just. We don’t just raise money, we create change that transforms the world. We are “the IMPACT profession” and that will be one of our key messages to the public moving into 2019 and beyond.

We intend for AFP to reflect those attributes and ideas through our communications and other materials, and I hope you will agree that we’re moving in that direction.

Another important reason for the change is to more accurately reflect what AFP does. We’ve always existed to serve the profession. At its core, AFP is your partner, helping you to change the world. But how we’ve done that over the years has evolved significantly.

AFP was formed in 1960 in large part to help create the building blocks of the profession: a code of ethics, best practices and standards, education and training programs and research and certification initiatives. Those steps were critical to strengthen and solidify our profession in the early years and help develop a cadre of trained and effective professional fundraisers. Of course, those programs remain critical. AFP will always be committed to ethics, education, networking, research and other core programs.

But in 2019, we have to be more than simply an association that provides education and networking. It’s not enough anymore to just raise funds in a vacuum and pretend that our causes are not affected by major changes in our profession, our society and our world. It’s not enough to raise funds in a silo without the help of the CEO, board, staff and volunteer leaders. Our profession demands so much more.

That’s why we’ve created campaigns like IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Impact) and the Women’s Impact Initiative—to ensure that we have a profession that represents the communities we serve, and that all fundraisers, regardless of any trait or characteristic, have the same opportunity to find success and advance as far as they want in the profession.

That’s why we’re launching new initiatives focusing on leadership development and building cultures of philanthropy in our organizations. We have to learn how to lead up, sideways and even down—and work with many different people to create environments where fundraising and philanthropy are respected and nurtured.

That’s why we’ll be spotlighting our code of ethics this year—because few people outside the profession understand how important our code is—the only enforceable code in the philanthropic sector. Our code is a powerful, positive document that helps define our community and our profession, and we’ll be using it as an important communications and education tool.

That’s why we’ll be focusing on attracting new members to the profession, especially younger people who represent the future of fundraising. With a record number of retirements over the coming years in the sector, we have a talent gap we must address. 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.

We had a great 2018 but we are absolutely NOT resting on our laurels—not when there’s so much more that needs to be done. You’ll hear more about all of these exciting programs this Spring and during ICON2019 in San Antonio, March 31–April 2.

The philanthropic sector is a driving force and light that seeks to create amazing change and impact in the world, and fundraisers are a key driver of that change. AFP is your partner to make that all happen—to help you change the world.

We are leaders—the IMPACT profession.

photo of AFP President Mike GeigerI’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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