An AFP Member You Should Know

Dan Mueller giving acceptance speech at 2017 NPD celebrationAFP SEWI Chapter – Member Profile of the Month

DAN MUELLER, VP & Chief Development Officer, AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin

Does AFP participation hold the key to your organization’s next $1 million gift?  It did for Dan Mueller.

Mueller, a 14-year member of AFP SEWI, was awarded the chapter’s Cutlip Award in 2017, honoring the area’s most exemplary professional fundraiser.  Over the last decade and a half, he has raised more than $30 million for the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.  He credits AFP for at least part of that success – including an idea that led to a $1 million gift.  

At an AFP International Conference, Dan heard a presentation about an organization that had grown its development program from almost nothing to a $14 million campaign almost overnight.  He brought the idea home:  “I wrote a manifesto on how we could adapt these small, board-led cultivational gatherings; my boss embraced the idea, and now we have hundreds of new prospects through our building each year.”  The payoff was not just quantity but quality of prospects.  “One attendee leaned over to me during the presentation to the group and said ‘It’s going to cost a lot to get that program going.’  An incredibly short time later, he had pledged $1 million. And that connection was made because of the idea I brought home from AFP.”

Dan began his development career at Marquette University.  During that period, his brother was dying from AIDS, and he often noticed ARCW in the news, and admired the ARCW’s CEO Doug Nelson’s ability to represent a cause that some found controversial.  One evening, Dan spotted Nelson in a restaurant, and went up to introduce himself and express his appreciation.  That began a relationship that eventually led to ARCW’s seeking out Dan when its CDO position became vacant.

Dan’s a believer in AFP.  Not only has he gotten million-dollar ideas from participation, he also appreciates the sense of community.  “Via AFP, you find you’re not alone in your worries.  In isolation, you might obsess on concerns or perceived shortcomings; AFP lets you connect with others so you can put your issues in perspective and gain encouragement.”