2 Ways to Look at AFP During Your Career
I recently attended an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) luncheon. I had not attended an AFP event for a while, but have been a proud member of this organization for 40 years. In fact, I served as president and on the board for the Indiana AFP chapter during the ’90s. This organization has been important to me in my fundraising career.
If you are not familiar with AFP, it is a professional association of individuals and organizations that generate private philanthropic support for a wide array of charitable institutions. Founded in 1960, AFP — known as the National Society of Fund Raisers until 2001 — has advanced philanthropy through its 30,000 members and 240 chapters worldwide. This association has supported efforts that have generated more than $1 trillion. Members of AFP raise more than $115 billion annually. The goal and purpose of AFP is to promote philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.
AFP requires members to comply with a Code of Ethical Standards. It maintains The Donor Bill of Rights, which shows what donors should expect from the nonprofit organizations that they financially support. The association provides educational programs about fundraising, offers career and leadership development programming for all fundraisers, and raises public awareness and interest in philanthropy.
It is an original founder of the Certified Fund-Raising Executive (CFRE) program. Through testing and renewal, I have held the CFRE designation for 30 years. AFP strongly encourages research on philanthropy and partners with notable organizations in the field of philanthropy. It supports legislation that encourages ethical fundraising practices and giving. It provides services to members, awards members for outstanding service, and promotes activities, such as National Philanthropy Day each year.
From a professional career standpoint, there are two ways you can look at AFP. The front- and back-end professionals might tend to look at AFP differently, but with the same degree of importance.
1. Front End of Your Career
One way to look at it is from the front end of your career. This phase applies to those with less than 20 years in the fundraising profession.
The front-end professionals are seeking to learn about the profession and grow into the profession. They view AFP as an association where they can obtain mentoring, receive learning benefits in theory and practice, obtain education from experienced professionals on a variety of subjects, seek research that blends theory with practice, network with others, engage with peers, make lifelong friends, and interface with professionals, donors, volunteers, board members, seasoned staff and others.
They want to advance their careers and understand that AFP is an outstanding association to validate their career choice of servant to others and to the fundraising profession. When I was in the front end of my career, AFP enabled me to obtain contacts, enhance my resume, perfect my interview skills, meet recruiters and obtain job opening endorsements. I can cite examples where my leadership involvement in AFP, over time, led to job changes, which helped me advance up career ladders.
2. Back End of Your Career
The back-end professionals have more than 20 years in the fundraising profession. I am now securely in the back end of my professional career. I want to give back to the profession through writing, reading, speaking, mentoring and promoting philanthropy. I get excited when someone wants my opinion on a matter related to fundraising. When a young professional from AFP seeks advice or needs tips on research, I want to assist them. I hope other senior professionals feel the same.
Having been there and done that, I feel compelled to help AFP in any way possible. The good news is that as you engage in local chapters, AFP members remember you and your reputation. Over time and as you hit later career years, people will tend to forget about you, what you have accomplished, and what you could teach them. Back-end career professionals may feel that their relevance to the profession is waning. When this happens, they might pack up and go permanently home.
I encourage senior, back-end professionals to continue to attend AFP events and stay especially engaged with local AFP board members, who will know who you are and determine ways you can still help your chapter. Each AFP chapter needs to have a blend of young, middle-aged and senior professionals to generate the best perspectives on relevant philanthropic topics. If you have not done so, I encourage you to join AFP today and stick with this association over the long haul. It has served me very well and can do the same for you.
Duke Haddad, Ed.D., CFRE, is currently associate director of development, director of capital campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis. He also serves as president of Duke Haddad and Associates LLC and is a freelance instructor for Nonprofit Web Advisor.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO since 2008.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis on education administration plus a dissertation on donor characteristics. He received a master’s degree from Marshall University with an emphasis on public administration plus a thesis on annual fund analysis. He secured a bachelor’s degree (cum laude) with an emphasis on marketing/management. He has done post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
Duke has received the Fundraising Executive of the Year Award, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. He also was given the Outstanding West Virginian Award, Kentucky Colonel Award and Sagamore of the Wabash Award from the governors of West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana, respectively, for his many career contributions in the field of philanthropy. He has maintained a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) designation for three decades.