What the Association of Fundraising Professionals Means to Me
I was recently home taking a vacation day from work when I received an email from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The email said that my Indiana Chapter membership was renewed until 2019. I was thanked by the organization that serves 33,000 individual fundraisers in more than 250 chapters throughout North America and worldwide. I became a member in 1982, so I have been a continuous member for 36 years.
According to the AFP, the association was established in 1960. Benjamin Sklar of Brandeis University, William Simms of the National Urban League and Harry Rosen of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies had discussions that led to the National Society of Fund Raisers (NSFR). Over time, certification standards were created with eventual engagement in legislative affairs. The organization created the Donor Bill of Rights. Eventually, the National Philanthropy Day was established. In 2001, the Association of Fundraising Professionals name was launched.
The goal and purpose of AFP is to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. Taken from AFP literature, AFP believes that to guarantee human freedom and social creativity, people must have the right to freely and voluntarily form organizations to meet perceived needs, advocate causes, and seek funds to support these activities.
To guarantee these rights, AFP’s purposes are to:
- Foster the development and growth of fundraising professionals committed to the preserving and enhancing philanthropy.
- Establish a code of ethics and professional practices.
- Require member adherence to a professional code of ethical standards and practices.
- Provide training opportunities for fundraising professionals.
- Implement programs that ensure cultural and social diversity in our membership and leadership.
- Collect, research, publish and disseminate historical, managerial and technical information on philanthropy and philanthropic fundraising.
- Promote public understanding of philanthropy and philanthropic fundraising.
- Conduct activities that maintain and develop legislation favorable to philanthropy.
- Enlist, organize and support members to achieve our purposes.
- Foster international cooperation, knowledge exchange and education among fundraising professionals worldwide.
- Use all necessary and proper means to accomplish our purposes.
- Provide a valid and reliable certification program for fundraising professionals.
Why should professionals—young professionals, retired professionals, students in college, businesses, nonprofits and others—join the AFP?
Here are a few reasons for anyone to join AFP:
- AFP’s online mentoring program
- A variety of general benefits
- Education for leadership and professional growth
- Research that links theory to practice
- Obtaining a vast network of research materials
- Use of AFP’s Resource Center
- The Virtual New Member Kit
- The opportunity to engage with hundreds of peers at different levels of experience
- The chance to make lifelong friends and colleagues
When I look back at my AFP career, at least 10 “moments” come to mind:
- The day chairing an AFP panel, as president of the Indiana Chapter, when a fellow AFP member came up to me after my presentation and handed me a business card. That person suggested I apply for a job at her organization and that moment changed the trajectory of my career.
- Writing many articles/short features and having them published in the AFP magazine.
- The day I attended both the Dayton Ohio Chapter Philanthropy Day Event at noon and the Indiana Philanthropy Day Event at night.
- The moment I received Fundraising Executive of the Year Award from the Indiana Chapter of AFP and when my organization received Civic Organization of the Year Award from the same chapter several years later.
- The joy of teaching a brown bag lunch topic on major gifts to a group of eager to learn professionals.
- Traveling to various chapters across Indiana to meet and present to fellow peers.
- Being encouraged through AFP to obtain a CFRE designation, which I have proudly retained since 1992.
- Continually interacting with fellow AFP peers for over 30 years.
- The joy of continuing to attend AFP lunches and meeting new comers to the field.
- The continuing excitement of meeting with one special mentee who appreciates my career advice.
If anyone decides to make a career out of the fundraising profession, they will quickly realize they need the AFP for career development. We are in a relationship business and need to connect with fellow peers in many ways for a variety of reasons. For the price of membership, you receive an amazing number of benefits; the greatest of which is connectivity with fellow members at all ranges of the career spectrum. I am proud of my long-term association with the AFP. The organization means a great deal to me, and I hope at the end of my career I have represented it well.
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.