What Is the AFP Canada GR Committee (And Why Should You Care)?
September 19, 2018
By Jessica Wroblewski
“Governments are essential to providing environments where fundraising and charities can thrive.” - “Friends in High Places” AFP GR Presentation, Caroline Riseboro, Ken Mayhew, and Brad Offman (2013)
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is the largest international association of fundraising professionals in the world. With more than 3,500 members, 20 professional chapters, and 2 collegiate chapters across Canada, AFP Canada provides essential leadership to Canada’s nonprofit sector and speaks on behalf of professional fundraisers in Canada.
Why focus on government relations?
One of the ways AFP Canada provides leadership in the nonprofit sector is through the AFP Canada Government Relations (GR) Committee. The GR Committee helps to guide AFP advocacy efforts in Canada by advocating for public policy supporting capacity building and sustainability of the nonprofit sector in general — and for the advancement of philanthropy and fundraising in particular — through the proactive engagement and education of all levels of government, as well as through effective communication with Canadian AFP members about our advocacy initiatives. The GR Committee’s main focus is on pan-Canadian issues and policies, but it will support and assist chapters as provincial and municipal issues arise. The GR Committee also liaises with other organizations advocating for nonprofit organizations and charities such as CAGP-ACPDP and Imagine Canada.
Who is on the GR Committee?
The GR Committee is chaired by the director, government relations on the AFP Canada Board of Directors. GR Committee membership is primarily composed of all AFP chapter GR chairs, but also includes a handful of ex-officio members and resource members. Ex-officio members, who are invited by virtue of their AFP position, include AFP International and AFP Canada staff. Resource members are individuals, either AFP members or external experts, who indicated an interest in being kept aware of Canadian GR activities and who may be called upon for assistance and action. For AFP chapters in Canada with no GR chair, chapter presidents are expected to remain abreast of GR activities, whether by participating in GR Committee meetings or reviewing GR Committee meeting minutes and documents.
Where and when does the GR Committee meet?
The GR Committee holds approximately 6 hour-long meetings throughout the year via conference call, as well as face-to-face meetings, usually at the AFP Canadian Leadership Retreat or AFP ICON.
I. Educate AFP members
- Make advocacy/government relations relevant to members
- Empower and equip government relations chairs to deliver sessions and help them become public policy "informed generalists"
- Continue to offer webinars to members on current and pressing public policy issues
- Inform sector research needs/topics and disseminate data (AFP Canada Foundation, Carleton University’s MPNL program, etc.)
II. Engage government officials
- Engage government officials, especially those holding elected office, in their home riding and in Ottawa and provincial capitals to raise awareness and establish AFP as a valued resource
- Engage government officials where appropriate and ask them to provide insight into existing and upcoming proposals
- Continue to engage in task forces, such as the Technical Issues Working Group, and in legislative processes, like the Standing Committee on Finance’s Pre-Budget Consultations, created by Parliament, Canada Revenue Agency and other national, provincial and local bodies
III. Advocate for professional fundraisers and the nonprofit sector
- Identify and focus on the next priorities
- Become known as a leader in shaping public policy and relevant regulations to develop a stronger charitable and nonprofit sector
IV. Lead AFP Canada’s GR efforts
- Provide advice to the AFP Canada Board on appropriate responses to current issues and on the creation of new policies to address identified gaps
For more information on AFP Canada’s GR Committee and its initiatives or to get involved, please email Lisa Davey, vice president, AFP Canada, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 AFP Canada GR Committee Members
- Dan Brunette – Director, Government Relations, AFP Canada Board of Directors
- GR Chairs for AFP Chapters
- Lisa Davey – Vice President, AFP Canada (ex-officio)
- Cynthia Quigley - Director, Canadian Services & AFP Greater Toronto Chapter (ex-officio)
- Jason Lee, Chief Advocacy and Strategy Officer & General Counsel, AFP International (ex-officio)
- Michael Nilsen, Vice President, Communications & Public Policy, AFP International (ex-officio)