Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Thank You

By now, you’ve probably heard that I’ll be retiring as president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) in March 2011 after our International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago.

From a professional standpoint, there’s never really a good time to retire. There are always new challenges and opportunities just on the horizon, and if you love your job, you relish those.
And I can assure you, I have loved every moment of this job. (Okay, well, almost every moment!) In fact, it’s hard to describe how much joy I’ve received from being able to serve the profession that I love so much.

As you all know, it’s incredibly inspiring to be able to serve a particular cause and inspire donors. I’ve experienced that feeling at places where I’ve worked, and especially the American Red Cross where I spent the first 14 years of my career for a cause that I still hold dear in my heart. But there is something equally satisfying about being able to give back to the profession, knowing that through the work of AFP, we’re helping each of you be able to reach those moments with your own donors.

I’m so proud of everything that AFP has accomplished over the past 12-plus years. We’ve changed our name, our offices and our governance structures. We’ve grown tremendously, both in North America and around the world. We’ve achieved extraordinary successes in education, government relations, public affairs, diversity and many other areas.

I feel like I’ve achieved the goals I’ve set for myself and this community, and it’s time to pass the torch to the next leader. In truth, I had originally planned to make this announcement last year, but felt that with the economic situation then, such a move wouldn’t be fair to the association. Now that the environment has improved, I think the timing is perfect.

I’m confident that AFP will continue to grow strongly and enjoy a bright future. Part of that is due to a very talented staff that has the knowledge and experience to work well during a transition. Another key ingredient is our board. AFP is led by some of the most remarkable and dedicated volunteer leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

But most importantly, AFP has you—our members—the heart and soul of our community. My favorite moments with AFP inevitably involve the trips I’ve made to visit our chapters and the one-on-one conversations I have with fundraising professionals. The stories that I hear—the incredible work that has been done, from the largest multi-national institutions to the smallest grassroots organizations, often against incredible challenges—are truly inspiring. You are what makes this job so wonderful. You are what makes this profession so important and so great. And what makes me very confident about the future of fundraising and AFP.

Thank you for the wonderful memories and for the opportunity to serve you. And we’re not done yet! I promise that over the next eight months, I and the rest of the staff will continue to work hard for the profession. We have lots of new ideas and programs to unveil, so stay tuned.