Guides & Resources

Tips for AFP Chapters to Engage Young Professionals

As the fundraising profession continues to evolve, it is important to help prepare future generations of professionals in our field. Based on feedback from the membership, a list of opportunities and resources has been compiled to help you develop or build upon an already existing program within your chapter.

Whether it is utilizing AFP’s online resources or providing networking and training opportunities, some targeted efforts should provide long term results. While it is not an exhaustive list, we hope these tips will help you build a stronger and broader foundation for our profession and more specifically for your chapter in order to foster the development and engagement of young fundraising professionals. In addition, your chapter can benefit from their new ideas, enthusiastic perspectives and attitudes about trends in philanthropy, volunteerism and serving for the greater good.

#1 - Get Started

  • Access the AFP website for resources targeting young professionals and share with members.
  • As part of your chapter’s strategic plan, institute a communications/educational plan of outreach specifically related to young fundraising professionals.
  • Assess the environment: are there young professional groups and activities already taking place in your area? Share with members. Develop some collaborative opportunities.
  • Specifically identify a listing/roster of members who are young professionals (30 and under).
  • Identify, personally contact and engage collegiate chapter graduates to get involved with your chapter.
  • Consider specific marketing for membership with chapter-created incentives.
  • Get the word out for opportunities to engage through social media.
  • Purposefully connect with young professionals where they intersect with philanthropy.
  • Contact your Chapter Service Director to get ideas about what other chapters are doing with young fundraising professionals in their area.

#2 - Actively Engage With Young Professionals

  • Create awareness of the young professional member price – tag onto IHQ’s annual promotion.
  • Work with seasoned professional members to adopt a young professional to bring to a luncheon, presentation or webinar.
  • Encourage current members to engage with young professional members, as well as prospective members.
  • Invite a young fundraising professional liaison to serve on the Board.
  • Develop opportunities for young professionals to network. Consider creating young professional cohorts according to the year they joined the chapter.
  • Develop single-based informational or educational mixers: For example, the Membership Committee of the AFP Greater AZ Chapter organizes after-work mixers to help recruit new members, provide social opportunities for existing members and present various educational topics in a relaxed setting.
  • Provide reduced rates for various chapter events.
  • Involve young professionals in your Youth in Philanthropy Program or Award.
  • Encourage all committee chairs to recruit young professionals to their committee.
  • Become involved with social networking opportunities, like, an international website that connects people according to their interests and revolves around meeting in-person to participate in that interest.
  • Explore expanding your communications to include social media outlets, such as Twitter.
  • Promote and participate in the Youth in Philanthropy Programs and Award.
  • Consider young professionals for appropriate teaching opportunities, including roundtables.

#3 - Educate – Knowledge is Power

  • Create a career path for young professionals covering fundraising fundamentals, ethics, including the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Practice, the Donor Bill of Rights and other learning opportunities through your chapter and community.
  • Offer the Fundamentals of Fundraising Course and target it for young professionals.
  • Encourage a learning path toward certification.
  • Establish scholarships specifically for chapter, state and/or international conferences.
  • Promote the Chamberlain Scholarship for the AFP International Conference.
  • Encourage young professionals to access the many resources available on the AFP International website 

#4 - Serve the Next Generation – Mentor!

  • Institute a Chapter Professional Mentoring Program.
  • Check out and utilize the AFP Virtual Mentorship Program online. (Coming soon)
  • Meet one-on-one with a young professional.
  • Invite your membership to offer volunteer opportunities to young professionals.
  • Build a core group of mentors who are available to young professionals through your chapter.

#5 - Walk the Talk –They ARE the future

  • Ask for young fundraising professionals’ involvement – one on one.
  • Respect young fundraising professionals as colleagues!
  • Engage the younger generation – today’s young professionals are tomorrow’s chapter leaders.
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