Chapter Leadership Brief 3.2.2018
By Jill M. Scibilia, CFRE -- AFP-NYC Secretary
My first fundraising experience was selling stuff—stuff that offered immediate, tangible benefits to the buyer. First it was Girl Scout Cookies. Then it was the Toblerone chocolate bars I sold for French club in high school. My best customers: physics class, third period.
I did not seek fundraising as a profession. What hooked me was a stint volunteering at an organization I supported. I worked the phone bank and had the opportunity to speak to volunteers who cared about the mission and who were prepared to do something about it. This inspired me to pursue fundraising as a career. Fast-forward 16 years and there is nothing I enjoy more than engaging with people who share the goals of the organization I serve professionally and those organizations I serve as a volunteer including AFP.
I no longer sell chocolate bars (or even Girl Scout Cookies—though I do work for the Girl Scouts. Girls sell the cookies). When I think about it, I am still offering a product. And it is a product that has benefits and a great deal of good attached to it. As fundraisers, the product we offer people is the opportunity to make a difference. We facilitate this opportunity for them. Through their support, our donors make a difference to our missions. We know this makes a difference to them, too. When a donor thanks us for giving her the opportunity to give, it feels magical.
As fundraisers we know it is not magical. We know the time we need to invest to build meaningful, lasting relationships with donors. We also know that even when we invest this time, it doesn’t always work the way we wish or in the time we wish. If only we could predict the optimal timing for our asks as easily my third period physics class when the chocolate bars I offered got my customers through the last period before lunch.
AFP understands this. And AFP understands fundraisers. Since I have joined AFP, it has helped me to do my job better; it has helped me to become a more effective volunteer and most importantly, it has connected me with some of the most incredible people on the planet—people like you who are making a difference every day.
As a member of AFP-NYC’s Board and Executive Committee, I am committed to amplifying the difference we all make as fundraisers every day. This impact is tangible, and it offers benefits to countless people and causes across our city every day.
I hope to see you at an AFP professional advancement event this spring or at Fundraising Day on June 22nd. Thank you for the work you do to make New York City a better place.