The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Toronto Chapter recently created a new young professional position on its board of directors – a reflection of its desire to support young fundraisers to prepare for leadership in an ever-changing and dynamic sector.
This new board member is Sarah Midanik, a Métis professional who is passionate about building capacity within the indigenous community. Ms. Midanik, the executive director of the Native Women's Resource Centre of Toronto, is excited about her new role at AFP.
"It is very important for charities to engage with the next generation of fundraisers and properly provide the supports, the mentorship and the resources to set up new fundraisers for success," she says. "Role models are particularly important. We really want to facilitate connections between people in the earlier stages of their careers and mentors who can guide them."
Professional development for fundraisers of all levels is a major focus of the organization's Congress 2016, to be held in Toronto from November 21 to 23, 2016. With the theme of "lead from where you stand," the conference will include presentations and workshops on fundraising best practices, as well as an overview of the state of the fundraising sector – today and tomorrow.
Preparing emerging and mid-career fundraisers for leadership roles is an important strategic focus for AFP Greater Toronto, according to the president of the chapter, Krishan Mehta, who is a fundraiser at Ryerson University.
"We're developing a vision for the future of fundraising," says Dr. Mehta. "Much of this work is based on what we have been hearing from senior leaders in the sector, many of whom are thinking about succession planning and nurturing the next crop of fundraisers."
"As emerging donor groups begin investing in causes that matter most to them, they should be able to seek guidance from fundraisers from within their own community."
- Dr. Krishan Mehta
is co-chair of the Inclusive Giving Fellowship Program
"We have to prepare fundraisers with knowledge and experience in both tried and true and emerging fundraising practices because the sector is transforming in significant ways," he adds.
"Today's fundraiser needs to know a lot more than how to solicit donations. Charities are also looking for people who know how to manage volunteers, collaborate with other charities, use social media effectively and employ newer forms of giving, just to name a few," according to Dr. Mehta. He adds that the chapter is beginning to explore how new partnerships between professional fundraising associations and post-secondary programs can provide this knowledge and training.
Another imperative is to continue to recruit representatives of different ethnic and cultural groups to the fundraising talent pool, in light of the growing diversity of the donor community.
"As emerging donor groups begin investing in causes that matter most to them, they should be able to seek guidance from fundraisers from within their own community. Having a diverse fundraising force is really critical to the success of our sector."
Dr. Mehta is co-chair of the Inclusive Giving Fellowship Program, run by the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada, with the support of the Ontario government. The 70 Fellows who went through the education and mentorship program came from various underrepresented backgrounds. Ms. Midanik was among them.
"Going through the program has helped us become ambassadors for inclusion," she says. "We are now able to share many innovative ideas about how to facilitate broader conversations within our organizations and communities, and fulfill our roles as change makers."
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