Chapter Leadership Brief 3.16.18

Chapter Leadership Brief 3.16.18

By President-Elect Steven G. Jacobson

When I left the corporate world back in the mid-80’s (yes, I’m old), I started a computer consulting company with a friend of mine.  It seemed like the thing to do, given that businesses were hungry for PCs, computer networks and the latest software.  One of my first clients was NYU Medical Center and one of my first projects was to help them select and implement a new fundraising system.  I remember researching a lot of options – the old fashioned way, by perusing the ads in the back pages of nonprofit trade magazines.  Back then, who knew that there were actually publications for nonprofits?

I quickly found out that fundraising was complicated business.  Matching gifts, soft credits, donor clubs, restricted funds, irregular pledge schedules, tax deductibility. And the software had to do it all.  I was hooked!  Fast forward 30 years later and the systems have gotten so much more sophisticated.  So much so in fact, that they are no longer fundraising or donor management systems, they are Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  And why is that?  Because fundraising is all about relationships.

And relationships are what AFP is all about.  I’ve been a member since 1992 (I have my 25-year pin to prove it!) and have valued my AFP experience on a number of levels. I’ve learned so much through educational opportunities, especially those that our AFP-NYC chapter presents through our Professional Advancement series.  I’ve learned so much from our chapter’s signature event, Fundraising Day in New York.  But, while AFP has empowered me with so much knowledge, the value for me still comes back to relationships. 

I’ve met so many great people: fundraisers, event planners, planned giving specialists, capital campaign consultants.  So many interesting and dedicated professionals. There’s a camaraderie amongst our chapter’s members that’s palpable yet hard to define. Perhaps it’s due to everyone having a shared and noble passion.  Perhaps it’s the shared bond of doing what we do, when others don’t quite “get” it. Perhaps it’s the dedication to make our chapter the best that it can be.  Perhaps it’s a combination of this – and more – that makes it so special.

As a member of the AFP-NYC Executive Committee and Board, I encourage you to join me in becoming more involved.  Whether it’s attending one of our great Professional Advancement programs or volunteering for Fundraising Day, you can’t go wrong. I look forward to talking with you at one of our next events!

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