Chapter Leadership Brief 10.10.19

By Jill Scibilia, CFRE, AFP-NYC Secretary 
VP, Development
Phelps Hospital Northwell Health 

My colleagues have written about the state of the fundraising sector in the last few leadership briefs, reflecting on results from a recent study about low retention rates among fundraisers.  They shared some insightful reasons for this and how we as a profession can work together to address this.

I think it is critical that professional fundraisers work together to ensure that the worthy missions we serve have the well-trained, effective fundraising staff they need and deserve.  The Association of Fundraising Professionals-NYC (AFP-NYC) gives us the platform and resources to do this.   

Training is an important part of the equation. AFP-NYC offers this through our flagship one-day conference:  Fundraising Day in New York, our best-in-class Professional Advancement Series and through a multitude of other continued education offerings. 

We also need to have the heart to do the work of fundraising to be truly effective.  Fundraising is exciting work, but we have tough days.  Our impact as fundraisers is not always apparent and truly transformative gifts can take months and even years to secure.  

So how do we avoid losing the heart we need to do our work effectively and the heart we need to stick with this work?  AFP-NYC is also a convener.  It brings fundraisers together so we can share stories that inspire us and speak to the heart of what we do.  We share best practices, and when needed, support each other on the tough days.   

I thought I would share a recent story of an encounter I had with a donor that spoke to my heart. 

I was speaking with a donor about a gift he intends to make towards a project that has meaning to him. We touched on many topics over the course of the conversation including the uncertain state of the world and his concerns about the future. 

Then he said something I will always remember. He said, “Jill, you know what I find? I find that Americans are generous people.” 

With this simple statement he reminded me that as fundraisers we have the privilege of matching generosity with mission.  This is the heart of what we do and it is why I love the profession.  

It is not every day that I hear this articulated by a donor so clearly—though there is a long tradition in the United States of solving problems through philanthropy.  We know generosity can change our communities and the world.

So that brings me back to our profession as a whole.  Worthy missions and the donors who ache to support them through their generosity need us. They need fundraisers who are effective because of the skills and heart we bring to our work.  

The Association of Fundraising Professionals understands this.  AFP is not just committed to advancing the fundraising profession; AFP is committed to advancing philanthropy to ensure non-profits can achieve their missions and make the world a better place. 

Through my engagement in AFP, I have the opportunity to meet and make connections with more fundraisers than I can count. It has made a huge difference to me and has helped me find heart on the days I needed it the most.

Thank you for your engagement in AFP.  I want to encourage you to attend National Philanthropy Day, our flagship event of the fall, scheduled for November 6, 2019.  This event is all about heart.  It celebrates inspiring leaders and nonprofit trailblazers in New York and throughout the world, and the power of inspirational stories to motivate generosity.

I hope to see you on the evening of November 6th or at another upcoming AFP event.

Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.

 

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