Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Chapter Visits: Understanding the Fabric of our Community

In previous organizations, I’ve visited local chapters or affiliates before. I believe it’s critical for leadership to be in constant touch with local members and understand first-hand the challenges and opportunities they are facing. For me, it’s about understanding the fabric of an organization and why it really matters to members. Plus, it’s fun to meet new faces and get to know members one-on-one.

But I have to tell you, nothing prepared for me for my first chapter visit to Toronto for the AFP Toronto Congress. Wow! It was an amazing conference, superbly put on and filled with so many interesting and insightful presentations. Thank you to Krishan Mehta and all the chapter leadership for inviting me.

But it was the people who really shined. I met so many fundraisers with so many fascinating and inspiring stories of why they got involved in the profession, or challenges their organizations has overcome, or donors and constituents who’ve made such a difference in their communities. Hearing each person’s story, and the impact their cause is creating, was so moving—I’m excited to be a part of this incredible community.

I have to believe, with all due respect to the Toronto Chapter, that it’s like this in every chapter we have. The excitement of being together, the pride you take in your jobs, the inspiration you provide to each other—I’m looking forward to visiting all of you, getting to know you better, and hearing how AFP can best serve you and the profession.

Chapters and their members are the heart of our association—the true fabric of our community. I’m committed to ensuring that you have the tools and resources to be successful. When our chapters are successful, AFP is successful, and that leads to the continued success of our profession, our ultimate goal.

I won’t get to every chapter in my first year, but I hope that I’ll see a lot of you at events like our International Fundraising Conference (ICON 2018) in New Orleans, April 15 – 17, and Leadership Academy in Toronto in October. And please know that I’m always happy to meet you via email or social media. Feel free to email me or follow me (and say hi!) on Twitter at @AFPMikeGeiger.

3 comments:

Kathy Kraas said...

Mike, Welcome to AFP. Your successes in previous positions gives me hope that you will bring fresh ideas and another set of eyes to AFP. I filled out an online survey a while back that led me to believe that there's a recognition that content and educational offerings can stand a refreshment. Local trainings and meetings are not as robust in attendance. Maybe local boards could use some coaching as well. Associations have taken a beating, especially since the Great Recession, so hopefully by visiting Chapters and treating the visits like a Focus Group or Town Hall, giving advance knowledge that you will be visiting and then allowing members and even former members to speak to you will be the best knowledge audit you can perform. Always be out among the members as tempting as it will be to tend to the myriad other thing that you have going on. Best wishes, Kathy Kraas

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