Wednesday, June 22, 2016

To Serve You Better

It’s been a busy time at AFP – and elsewhere in the world.  We’re seeing so many examples of how the nonprofit sector and fundraisers are such a valued commodity in our communities.  From heatwaves and wildfires in the Canadian and U.S. west, to major flooding in Texas, and the brutal attack on the night club in Orlando, so many of the nonprofit organizations our members represent are coming together to provide support, comfort and to rebuild devastated communities.  Fundraisers and their colleagues are on the front lines every day, addressing crises large and small.  Let me take a moment to recognize all that you do to bring compassion, empathy and services to people who are in need.

With that in mind, I want to talk for a moment about what we are doing to serve you better in the wake of several significant transitions at AFP.  We are working diligently to create an environment that enhances stability and promotes managed growth.  Our core programs remain strong and we’re moving ahead with our strategic plan that advances our commitment to education, to diversity and inclusion, to advocacy and ethics and to capacity-building for the future. There are no plans for a future reduction in force.  We are proud of our staff and making a conscious decision to invest in their professional development and careers.

We have made a concerted effort to streamline our budget and to evaluate programs and opportunity carefully against criteria for measurable returns on our investment.  We need to consistently benchmark progress against revenue goals and advancement of strategies for education, diversity, ethics and advocacy and investment.  This is not simply in response to our annual summer cash flow issue; it is, in fact, a new culture of accountability and continuous refinement of our business approaches.

You’ll hear us talk more and more about value and the member experience. As we move forward with our plans for Leadership Academy in Portland in 2016, the International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco in 2017, our web and database upgrades, new educational offerings and other projects, we are calling on chapter leaders, volunteers and partners to join in on ways to define and deliver exceptional value in those areas.

We’ve already started bringing more people to the table to start Big Conversations about where AFP is going and how we are going to get there:
  • AFP Ethics Committee recently held its June call where it reviewed pending cases and considered revisions to our hypothetical case studies.
  • We hosted the Conference Education Advisory Committee (EAC) to review nearly 500 submissions for educational sessions at the 2017 International Conference. As part of the review, we engaged in a holistic discussion of the educational experience the conference offers, and thought through strategies to bring more relevant learning opportunities to more people in our sector.
  • We welcomed the ACFRE Board to the office for discussions around key issues such as candidate recruitment and the internationalization of the credential.
  • I participated in the Grow Charity Now event on Capitol Hill where 40+ attendees met with various congressional offices about charitable giving incentives and other public policy matters related to philanthropy.
  • Our volunteer-driven brand and mission/vision research projects are nearing an end and we are eager to hear results and recommendations detailed in July.  In advance of the big reveal, I can share with you that both are calling on AFP to present itself in a more aspirational, inspirational and human voice.
  • With the engagement and endorsement of the Marketing and Communications Committee, we have awarded a bid to a web developer and work will begin shortly on our web revitalization project.  We are planning soft launch of the site’s Phase One improvements t the conference in San Francisco in the spring.  More than 3,000 AFP members have volunteered for web project committees and user testing!  Web improvements coincide with our Personify upgrade that promises better, cleaner use of data.
I hope you will feel free to reach out to me or to our senior staff if you have ideas or questions about  AFP and our path forward.  If you plan to be at the October Leadership Academy or the 2017 International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco in April, or any of several gatherings we’ll be at in between, let’s connect and say hello.  I would love to hear what you are thinking about AFP and how we can continue to enhance our value to the members and the fundraising profession.

Thank you for all that you do for AFP, your chapters, and the profession. I look forward to working with all of you in my new capacity.



Unknown said...

I am on the board of the Alabama Chapter and I am sure I speak for my peers when I say we wish you good luck. Change is tough but necessary for growth.

I expect you may be hearing this from others, but let me add my voice to say that I would be grateful for a lot more support, guidance, and learning opportunities--specifically but not limited to practice tests--to help me prepare to take the CFRE. Please keep that in mind as you make improvements and changes.

Thank you!

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