Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Plans and Transitions

I hope you’re recovering from the year-end fundraising craziness that tends to envelope most charities. Studies continue to show that December is the busiest month for fundraising, and I hope your 2010 overall giving totals continue the slight upward trend we saw throughout the year.

Like many of you, AFP used January as an important time to plan for the coming year. Part of that planning is our leadership transitions this year. As you know, I’ll be stepping down as president and CEO after our International Conference on Fundraising in Chicago in March. Our search team has narrowed down the list quite extensively. When a final candidate is identified, we will make an official announcement.

We also have a new chair for AFP in 2011. Robbe Healey did an extraordinary job of leading our association for the past two years, especially during some very difficult economic times, and we are indebted to her. Thank you, Robbe, and I know you’ll do a great job as immediate past chair and leading up the Committee on Directorship.

We now welcome Andrea McManus, our first chair outside of the United States. Andrea is from Calgary and has served AFP in a variety of volunteer roles. She’ll be a great leader, and you’ll get to see and meet Andrea in Chicago.

Andrea was instrumental in developing our new Strategic Plan 2011-2013. Many of the goals and outcomes in the 2011 -2013 plan are comparable to ones found in our previous plan, though they have been modified to reflect changes in the association and the external environment over the past several years.

The biggest change is a new goal to address the need to recruit and develop young fundraising professionals, which has long been one of my passions. Planning sessions with chapter presidents revealed that one of the top issues facing fundraisers is the lack of succession plans and the limited pool of talented, trained individuals to replace current leaders in future years. The seven goals are:
• AFP will develop skilled, knowledgeable and ethical professionals worldwide.
• AFP will advance effective, ethical and accountable fundraising standards as an essential component of global philanthropy.
• AFP will aggressively promote and defend public policy that encourages philanthropy, supporting principles important to AFP and the fundraising profession.
• AFP will deliver optimal value to members.
• AFP will create a community of inclusion by seeking, embracing and engaging diverse individuals, groups and organizations with a broad representation of experiences, perspectives, thoughts and cultures within the fundraising profession.
• AFP will provide strong leadership in promoting and supporting the fundraising community worldwide.
• AFP will engage young professionals and youth exploring philanthropy and building their fundraising careers.
It’s a comprehensive and ambitious plan, but thanks to Robbe and Andrea’s work, we’re well-positioned to accomplish all of the goals. With the new year, Bob Carter, our new chair-elect, assumes the chairmanship of the Strategic Planning Oversight Committee and will be monitoring our progress.

We began our work on the plan in earnest last weekend as we held our New Board Member Orientation at the AFP International Headquarters. It’s a new event we’ve held over the past several years to introduce our new board members to our strategic plans and priorities and the staff who will be helping them carry out the plan.

I hope your own organizational planning is going well, and I look forward to seeing you at our conference in Chicago!

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