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Chapter President's Message

What is a Fundraising Professional?

In the past few weeks I’ve had many conversations about what exactly it means to be a nonprofit fundraiser. To some strangers to our profession it seems a thankless task, and people sometimes express sympathy for our “difficult job” – one they often say they could never do. But among my peers, in our AFP meetings and social networking events, I find energy, enthusiasm, optimism and joy. 

There are some truths that I think explain why some of us are drawn to this work. It is a mission. In fact it is the mission of our organizations that attracts us. It is a life’s work to foster and protect, to grow and nourish, to inspire and uplift those values that we hold most dear. 
And that is the key. It’s not about me, or you, as individuals. The work we do is simply bigger than that. It’s about shared community, our commonality, about our humanity. Whether directed by our spiritual beliefs, our conscience, an inner sense of purpose, our respect and awe for our natural world… we all have values that lead us to the organizations for which we work, organizations that are improving our world. 

And connecting those of means in our community who share that vision, to those with the skills and training to see the vision into action – that is our task as fundraisers. We make the work possible by fueling the organizations for which we work with the resources needed to make a difference. It is a noble calling. 

To accomplish those goals, we must constantly improve our skills. We must hold ourselves to high standards. We must protect the trust placed in us by others. And this is why I believe that our profession attracts the best people, with the best intentions, who are passionate, dedicated and relentless. We bear a responsibility to the world. And to each other to maintain the highest ethical practice, because our actions reflect upon more than ourselves – they affect our organizations, our colleagues and our entire profession. 

That’s why you joined AFP. That’s what we do our best to support you in your professional growth and practice. As one of the tools to help guide us in these efforts, AFP first adopted a professional code of ethical principals in 1964, and most recently updated in 2014. It is always worth taking a few moments to review. View them here, to help you find your spring renewal in the high calling of our profession as nonprofit fundraisers. 

Best regards,
Chris Sar, CFRE
President, Greater Arizona Chapter