The Fundraising Professionals 1

Fort Worth’s AFP promotes the ethical standards that make fundraising better for everyone.

On the homepage for the Fort Worth Metro Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, an evocative quote appears front and center: “Philanthropy is based on the voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life.”

Anyone who has taken the time to volunteer or offered a donation understands the unique sense of satisfaction that arises from these efforts. The “charitable feeling” has been documented through a host of scientific research, including a 2008 study from Harvard Business School that revealed how giving money to others brought more benefits to personal happiness that spending it on oneself.

What goes around also comes around: those who scoff at notions of karma would do well to read up on sociological studies on the communal benefits of generosity. In short, philanthropic exchanges promote a wider sense of trust and cooperation; this strengthening of interpersonal ties within a community can generate broader positive social interactions — in other words, an extensive and reciprocal altruism that ultimately benefits the giver.

This last point gets showcased perfectly in the mission and efforts of Fort Worth’s Association of Fundraising Professionals. AFP Fort Worth has distinguished itself among the 30,000 member national organization as the chapter with the highest number of Certified Fund Raising Executives, a statistic that speaks volumes about the community’s commitment to helping others.

“As AFP members, we strive to strengthen the community we’re in,” says Vicky Payne, director of public relations for AFP Fort Worth. “We deliver high quality professional training, and promote an awareness of the organization through networking.”

The stated goals of AFP Fort Worth give insight into the value of this unique partnership of dedicated professionals. Alongside a commitment to financially sustainable operations, the promotion of itself as a leader in ethical philanthropy, and inclusive recruitment efforts, the presentation of high-quality professional development stands as a primary objective.

“The more people we can train in fundraising, the more it helps philanthropic organizations fulfill their missions and visions,” says Vicky. “It’s all about making a positive difference.”

The members of AFP Fort Worth — many of whom are women — display the diversity of philanthropic interests in our community. The 200 members represent at least 117 nonprofit organizations, including seven universities. Forty-two individual members have the Certified Fund Raising Executive credential, a professional certification that measures the highest standards of fundraising practice.

Throughout the trainings that provide the primary benefit of AFP membership, the organization emphasizes its code of ethical standards as the proper foundation for fundraising intent. Donors can trust that AFP members will safeguard personal information, and provide ethical advice about the value of contributions. Any worries about the use of contributed funds can be set aside, as AFP members always practice proper stewardship and act in accordance with donors’ intentions.

For those of us in Fort Worth, our local chapter’s distinction as one of only 75 ten-star AFP organizations should provide an extra layer of faith in the goodwill of our professional fundraisers. Members such as Vicky Payne and Katherine Curtis, the president of AFP Fort Worth, exemplify the professional excellence and personal integrity that the organization promotes through its monthly meetings.

“Since joining AFP Fort Worth, I have made new friends, networked to discuss how to handle challenges, and always leave chapter meetings and trainings inspired and perhaps a little wiser,” says Vicky of the benefits of membership.

Monthly meetings occur on the second Monday at the Fort Worth Club. Each lunch meeting begins at 11:30AM, and is open to both members and nonmembers who make advance reservations. The monthly meetings stand as professional development opportunities for anyone interested in fundraising or the development of leadership skills.

Presenters share expertise on a wide variety of program topics, and attendees also have the benefit of networking opportunities. Nonmembers can attend these meetings for $30, while members pay only $20 for the monthly meeting that includes lunch. For October, the chapter meeting falls on the 10th, with a scheduled topic of Stewardship and Retention. Members who make meetings on a regular basis not only gain the benefit of each meeting’s program, but also fulfill requirements toward the attainment of the CFRE.

For more information on how to join AFP Fort Worth, or to RSVP for a meeting, visit them online at www.afpfortworth.com. You can also check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AFPFortWorth.