Speed Networking: A Great Way to Engage Senior Executives
When I was president of the Indiana Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (IC-AFP), I constantly heard and realized that many senior professionals never show up or engage in chapter activities. I always tried to think of ways to excite senior executives. No stone was unturned. From social events, luncheon panels, individual mentoring activities plus pleas for involvement, we always had mixed results when seeking greater attendance.
I also utilized a comprehensive survey to obtain a pulse of interest. There were always excuses but no consistent commitment from this group. All of us knew that AFP chapters typically serve individuals who are in their early or mid-careers. I also believed that our members would greatly benefit from communicating with their older counterparts. Diversity is very important in building and maintaining a progressive organization.
Many of my senior-level peers are truly dedicated to serving the profession and want to share their experience with others. I was frustrated because I wanted to see greater numbers of my peers at AFP luncheons and meetings. Many get involved early in their careers only to move on and let others take their places. With leadership changes in AFP chapters, the importance in determining how to engage elder statesmen changes from year to year.
Some feel involvement consists of attending the annual philanthropy awards dinner. The out of sight, out of mind theory is very real. In other cases, younger members do not encourage or seek to welcome older members at activities. I have not experienced an event in recent years that provided hope and excitement for the marriage of young and old until now.
Recently, the IC-AFP sponsored a "Speed Networking With an Experienced Fundraiser" event. This concept matched 22 senior-level professionals with a combined 600 years experience with 22 younger professionals. The time frame for this meeting was 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. on a weekday. The site was a local nonprofit in Indianapolis. I was invited to participate. The purpose of the event was to share ideas and insight with others.
F. Duke Haddad is currently associate director of development, director of campaigns and director of corporate development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition, he is also president of Duke Haddad and Associates, LLC in Fishers, Indiana.
He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the past 12 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.