Hidden AFP Benefit: That Consultant in the Crowd

The presence of experienced advisors makes membership valuable

woman and man having a conversation outdoorsSo you’re chatting with a group of fellow AFP members, asking around for solutions to your latest fundraising challenge, when one of the group replies, “Wow, your situation sounds familiar. I’ve worked with about a dozen organizations who approached that challenge in five different ways.”

Suddenly you’re all ears -- and grateful to AFP for bringing you in touch with this helpful expert.

According to an AFPSEWI member survey, more than 80% of members informally consult with or network through a fellow AFP member at least once a year.  Because our membership includes a strong contingent of experienced consultants, these casual conversations can turn into highly valuable relationships.

“Granted, we consultants make a living by selling our expertise,” said Doug Diefenbach, principal of Diefenbach Communications Strategies. “But all of us are willing to listen and provide helpful perspective and suggestions regardless of whether that turns into a contract for services.  Those conversations keep us sharp!”

Access to local consultants couldn’t be easier.  As a benefit of membership, AFP maintains a list of Milwaukee-area fundraising and marketing consultants on its website – an excellent place to start for organizations interested in seeking out a consultant or for consultants who want to raise their profile.

But lest you think consultants join AFP just to find clients, there is no doubt of their commitment to the chapter.  Indeed, three of the last four chapter presidents (Nancy Seidl Nelson, William Martin, and Amalia Schoone) have been consultants, and professional advisors fill many other important roles as AFPSEWI board members and volunteers.  Clearly, the benefit of membership goes both ways.

Joan Rudnitzki, CFRE, Consultant for the Washington County Campus Foundation, and long-time AFP member, shares how AFP has benefited her over the years.   

“Trying to narrow down the value of my 25+ years of AFP membership is not an easy task. When I started in the nonprofit field in 1987, formal training for nonprofit executives was almost nonexistent so the educational offerings of AFP provided a valuable platform for learning the business of philanthropy. In addition, the CFRE accreditation was not only a superior learning experience but it also identified my additional skill set to potential employers beyond my work experience.  I continue to value the educational offerings of AFP, as well as the networking, camaraderie and professional exchange and I encourage anyone who is interested in the fund development field to become a member.” 

For Nancy Seidl Nelson, CFRE, SPI Consulting LLC and past President of AFPSEWI, both membership in AFP and being a part of the consultant listing has proven to be a valuable asset in her career path.

“I’ve been a member of AFP for more than 20 years and have formed great friendships and a strong network.  Continuing to be involved as a member and volunteer is enjoyable and valuable.  Sharing my expertise also highlights my business.”

The next time you look across the table at a local AFPSEWI chapter event – whether in person or through a virtual opportunity like our new Free For(u)m for Fundraisers events, find out who is sitting next to you. You may find a new friend, or you may discover that consultant that you’ve been searching for – someone to share their perspective or professional expertise and to assist with a challenge that you might be facing.