Membership benefits...how far will they take you?
Why did I join AFP?
Heidi Boyd, CFRE, Associate Director of Individual Giving, Wisconsin Humane Society
Why did I join AFP? Early in my career, I worked in small shops and was often the only Development staffer – and AFP provided not only the tips and tricks and educational resources to help me learn how to do my job well, but also the camaraderie and necessary support through an amazing network of colleagues.
I participated in the Mentorship program and was paired with the perfect match for me – Jean Gurney. Jean guided me through everyday fundraising and overarching career decisions, usually over a delicious lunch and a few good laughs.
Our local AFP chapter has also provided the resources for me to attend two AFP International Conferences. In 2014, I had the privilege to represent our chapter as the Chamberlain Scholar; I returned to the conference in Boston this year as a Chapter Scholar. My first conference experience was overwhelming but inspiring as I was in a “small shop” at the time, and felt that there was simply no way I would be able to absorb and take back all of the ideas I learned – but I did come away with a few great nuggets to implement. My key take-away from that first conference is one I still practice today – setting aside an hour a week for donor stewardship, thank you calls and handwritten notes. No matter how busy I am, I take the time to thank our donors.
Now that I work for a larger organization, my role is more narrowly focused on major gifts and planned giving, so this year’s conference experience was shaped by goals I set ahead of time to focus very specifically on these two topics. I was also far more comfortable networking with other conference attendees – and used skills that I had practiced and honed by attending our local chapter’s luncheons and education sessions.
Finally, being a member of the local AFP chapter and serving on the Education Committee last year inspired me to pursue my CFRE – which I achieved in December 2015. I am proud to say I am a Certified Fund Raising Executive, and I know that the learning has only just begun as I continue to work in this amazing profession of ours.