Join the AFP — and Get Off the Bench!
I recently attended a luncheon sponsored by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana Chapter. I was amazed, as I only knew about 20 percent of the group in attendance. I did not view that as a bad thing. In fact, I looked at that statistic as an indication of an organization growing and changing. I laughed to myself and thought that 15 years ago, I was president of the chapter and served on the board for many years and knew 90 percent of the members personally. In fact, I was also very involved with the Southwest Ohio Chapter of AFP when I worked in Dayton for a time. My role in Ohio was focused on creating a new mentoring program.
If you aren't aware, the AFP was created to promote philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. In 1959, it was just a dream promoted by Benjamin Sklar of Brandeis University, William Simms of the National Urban League and Harry Rosen of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. From their vision, the National Society of Fundraisers was born in 1960. In 1977, the organization became the National Society of Fundraising Executives. In 2001, the name was changed to the Association of Fundraising Professionals. (Click here for a complete history.)
The current organization has 30,000 members in 235 chapters throughout the world. It promotes many issues, including fundraising ethics and the Donor Bill of Rights. Members of this organization proudly promote fundraising in the right way.
If you desire a career in the fundraising profession and are not a member of AFP, I strongly encourage you to not only join your local AFP chapter but get off of the bench! Within each chapter, there are numerous opportunities to serve in a variety of areas. During my greatest chapter involvement, I was the keynote speaker at our first National Philanthropy Day event, chair of the philanthropy awards dinner, marketing vice president in charge of weekly speakers, plus other educational functions. As chapter president, I decided to give out little Oscars at each weekly luncheon to members that supported the profession in extraordinary ways.
The point is, you can get involved in so many ways that are fun and stimulating to you while helping others.
This organization also can give you the opportunity to network, improve your skills, mentor with others and find out about job openings before they're made public. You truly get out what you put into it. I am proud of the fact that I have been a member of the AFP for 30 years and a continuing CFRE for 20-plus years. I did get off the bench and still stay engaged with the chapter.
Whatever your career level, I encourage you to promote the profession through involvement within the AFP. I firmly believe that each one of us has an obligation to serve others in the best way possible. I will always try to set an example of service, and the Indiana Chapter of AFP provides me with a platform to help in many ways.
Over the next 12 months, my challenge is to get to know the 80 percent of the Indiana AFP Chapter members in attendance that I did not know. It's back to the future time for me!
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.