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Chapter Leadership Brief 7.13.2019

Chapter Leadership Brief 7.13.2019

Craig Shelley, Orr Group

By Craig Shelley, CFRE, Chapter Treasurer & Managing Director, Orr Group

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the chapter’s summer Happy Hour organized by our Emerging Leaders Committee.  It was an inspiring event; not a word that typically comes to mind when describing a Happy Hour!

There was a great crowd gathered, which served to remind me just how vibrant our profession is here in New York City.  There were countless old and new friends in attendance and in nearly every conversation I was struck by the passion with which the fundraiser described the mission they were advancing.  The diversity of the work we do starkly highlights the many needs in our society, but to see that each of these needs was being supported by a committed and passionate fundraiser was inspiring.  At times it is hard for each of us to see the forest from the trees as we focus so intently on our own work, but at a night like that it was easy to see how collectively we’re making the world a better place.

The event featured some special guests who each shared highlights of their own journey as a fundraiser and shared their top career advice tips.  I soaked up all the advice as eagerly as the most junior fundraiser in the crowd.  I was also excited to see my friend Diego Aviles amongst the featured guests.  For nearly 20 years I’ve counted on his advice and counsel in my own career and life choices.  I was glad to see others benefit from Diego’s sage wisdom.  Most notably he shared some guideposts on selecting jobs.  He always attributes my having originated this advice though I think it was born from one of the many meandering conversation Diego and I have had about the “meaning of life.”  Diego encouraged the crowd to consider three things when selecting a job – who you work for, what you work on and who you work with.  I haven’t thought much about that in a while, but it made me smile as it has proven to be great advice for me over the years when I’ve been disciplined enough to follow it; without fail when I’ve ignored even just one of those three things in taking a job I’ve regretted it.

Lastly, I was inspired by the organizers themselves, our Emerging Leaders Committee.  As I get older, I’ve certainly done my fair share of grumbling about “kids these days.”  “They” don’t work as hard as I did when I was their age.  “They” aren’t as committed to the sector as I was at their age.  “They” aren’t me.  Well, thank God.  Because “they” are so much better and more committed than I ever was then and probably am now.  As a chapter we struggle to get great volunteers to handle the myriad tasks of a thriving professional association.  Not on the Emerging Leaders Committee.  They have many talented hands making many amazing projects and initiatives move forward.  The future of our chapter and our profession in New York City is surely in great hands.

It was a great night and I encourage you to engage in the chapter’s activities; I have no doubt you’ll be as inspired as I am.

If you have ideas or suggestions for our AFP chapter please always feel free to contact me directly at  If you’re interested in my thoughts on fundraising and news in the sector, sprinkled with the occasional picture of my kids, please follow me on Twitter @craigshelley.

Thank you for everything you do.

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