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Chapter Leadership Brief 12.06.19

Chapter Leadership Brief 12.06.19

Jill Scibilia, CFRE, AFP-NYC Secretary

“Do something every day that scares you,” was the advice of one of my early mentors, a high school teacher.  I am not sure I do something that scares me every day, but I will recount something I did recently that scared me.  

I ran a race last month and invited folks to sponsor me to raise funds for my organization.  

Of course we call this peer-to-peer fundraising in our industry.  There are now a multitude of excellent solutions provided by vendors who serve our industry, many of whom are generous in supporting our AFP chapter.  Their solutions are easy to use and sync with all of the social media platforms.  As fundraisers, we equip those who agree to walk, run, bowl—and yes, even rappel from a building—to raise funds for our worthy causes.  We provide tool kits, messaging, training, swag and pep talks.  All designed to make it easy, right?

Yes, and no. 

During my tenure as a fundraiser, I have helped to position more individuals than I can count who agreed to raise funds for worthy causes by inviting people to make gifts in their honor—individuals who agreed to be honored at a gala, those who agreed to walk or run…and so on… 

Now I found myself in the shoes of these individuals. 

I can recall many pep talks that I have had with these individuals over the years including some prominent figures with names you would recognize.  They asked questions like: Will people support me?  What if I fail to make my goal?  I always had a ready supply of answers for them.  But I had not truly been in their shoes or understood how it felt—until now.  

It is a humbling experience, and I will admit that I wondered who would respond and sponsor me and if I would make the fundraising goal that I set.  

The race was last month; I finished and completed my fundraising campaign, and I did make the fundraising goal I set.  I am deeply grateful to all those who supported me and encouraged me along the way.  And yes, I am grateful for the turnkey solutions provided by those who serve our industry.  Equally gratifying is what I learned from the experience.   

I encourage you to follow the advice of my high school teacher—maybe not every day, but with some regularity. Doing something that scares us (or that is outside of our comfort zone) can teach us so much.  It also allows us to achieve goals we did not think possible.  Think for a moment about the collective impact this makes on the organizations, causes and people that we serve.    

AFP provides the support and network that helps us to think big and to step outside of our comfort zones (and often the much-needed pep talk from a colleague).   

Thank you for the work you do and for the ways you stretch to make the world a better place.  Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season.

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