Are you wondering if it might be a good idea for you to join the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)? If you are in charge of fundraising for a nonprofit organization as an employee or a volunteer, or you want to learn more about what's involved in entering this profession, becoming a member of this professional organization may be an excellent choice for you.
What is the Association of Fundraising Professionals?
The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is an international national association representing the interests of individuals who work in the field of charitable fundraising. The organization is headquartered in Washington, DC and has hundreds of local chapters located throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is the largest and most active professional association focused on the field of fundraising in the world.
AFP: What's In a Name?
The organization now known as AFP has changed names three times since it was founded in 1960. Originally named the National Society of Fundraisers (NSFR), the organization was started to provide a professional association specifically for individuals engaged in charitable fundraising efforts as a career, a need that had long gone unmet.
The organization quickly began to grow, with local chapters opening in communities throughout the United States. The name was changed to the National Society of Fundraising Executives (NSFRE) in 1977, then to Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in 2001.
Why Become a Member of AFP?
Belonging to relevant professional organizations is very beneficial, particularly for individuals who recognize the importance of networking with like-minded individuals and continuing to grow and develop throughout their careers.
National AFP Membership
When you belong to AFP on a national level, you will have access to many benefits and you will know that you are doing your part to advance your chosen profession by aligning yourself with the important education, research and advocacy work performed by the organization.
One of the most appealing benefits of AFP membership is the fact that members have access to the organization's Fundraising Resource Center as a source for fundraising-related research. Additionally, a subscription to the Advancing Philanthropy magazine, a monthly ezine covering topics of interest to fundraising professionals and access to the online database of members are included with national membership dues.
AFP members may also choose to attend AFP's annual conference or enhance their credentials in the filed by earning the Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) or Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive (ACFRE) credential granted by the organization.
Local Chapter Benefits
On a local basis, AFP chapters host regular meetings and networking opportunities designed to help members advance in their careers as professional fundraisers. Speakers are brought in to discuss topics related to the field of fundraising. Subject matter for meeting programs is typically determined based on member interests. Examples of possible meeting topics include effective grant writing, managing a capital campaign, tips for generating publicity, volunteer recruitment and more. Visit the AFP Chapters page to find the local group that is most convenient for you to attend.
Getting Involved: What Can You Expect?
As is true with membership in any professional organization, it's important to realize that you will enjoy benefits from your membership in AFP only to the extent that you choose to get involved. If you send in a dues payment so that your name will be on the membership roster but you never participate in any of the group's events or activities, you won't likely see much - if any - benefit.
However, if you take advantage of the valuable resources made available to members, attend local chapter events and actively engage in networking with the other members, you will likely experience many career benefits and develop lifelong professional relationships, as well as friendships, with others who work in your field.