Get thee to AFP Congress! My story

You changed my life when we first met.
You have helped so many, you give so much.
I respect you, I want to be with you
and now, we can be together.
AFP Congress, you had me at hello.

In 2000 I got a job in fundraising
but it was my first Congress in 2001 when I knew this would be my career.

Like so many fundraisers,
at work, I was a leper,
an ambulance chaser
the person sent after little old ladies for bequests
A necessary evil

And I show up to this huge conference,
full of peers it wasn’t just about the learning,
but there was much to learn
it was about the vendors, information sharing, networking

Here, people knew my worth and value
I am a bit of a romantic and I love the changing of the seasons.
That first day when I left Congress I walked up University Ave.
The sky opened up, and the first snow fell
And I was transformed, in a phone booth

I wrote my personal mission statement
scribbled it in that booth, it serves me to this day.
Since then I went back a few more times learned so much,
made so many connections but then, something changed.
You see, like event, telephone and direct mail fundraisers
I am a specialist, a gift planner

We are served skillfully by the Canadian Association of Gift Planners
who embraces charity staff and financial/legal advisors alike
So for a number of years I could only be a member of CAGP
I got to a few AFP sessions but not many
I missed that big picture, the community spirit,
the professional diversity and networking big picture
I needed to get back

So in 2004 I snuck into Congress as a woman!
Sorry, no cross-dressing involved
– the huge org I worked for let 15+ of us share a registration,
we had to hand off the nametag to each other on breaks
A wonderful peer named Alexandra, (code name Alex)
handed me a nametag in the washroom area and I was back in!!

The glory and pageantry of the awards luncheon!
The engaging and dynamic exhibitors!
Jaded vets and doe-eyed newbies all networking, solving problems
It was like a spa-day for your professional soul
Screw chicken soup- Congress is what the doctor really ordered.

Since then, the investment of many mentors and my passion for planned giving has allowed me to attend as a speaker a few times. A supporter and at times fan. At times groupie, I’ve crashed the party for the past couple years

To bring new members into the fold
to promote Canada’s largest fundraising conference
and the wonderful book booth too few people visit

This year, AFP has asked me to participate in a number of ways
speaking at sessions and helping with networking programs.
My current employer agrees as I do
– Canadian philanthropy is better because of AFP
we need to cultivate and grow membership and the network
so I am again, for the first time in almost seven years
A proud member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals!

Although, I’m no longer a “fundraiser” on paper
I am still a charitable gift planner
I will always be a fan,
a groupie, permission or not, because of my debt to repay

So I won’t be at the whole conference but I’ll be there Monday night to network run a book booth tour and to contribute to the evening dinner dine-around

Wednesday night, I’ll be running my “unofficial” after-party for the wonderful students of Humber and ANY others who wish to join us

But if you are a stranger
Maybe you are on the fence
let me share – it’s worth it.
Every penny, every moment invested

Let’s be honest,
the public
doesn’t like fundraisers
no one
likes fundraising
who stands up for what we do
who believes
in the excellence of how we do it?
A F P – that’s who

Fraser Green, one of those veteran fundraisers talks about saving your soul in his latest book

You will save it here
Passion starts here
GET THEE —– TO CONGRESS

Come with me
Crash with me
AFP rules

Paul

Ps. This is not meant to be smart or witty
I’m not a fundraising superstar, a leader or big name
I’m just some dork who loves what we do, believes it’s awesome
THIS is how Congress makes me feel,
about us, about our profession and what we do

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