Professional development is my New Year’s Resolution

| by Derwin Dubose

For the first time in ages, I have a New Year’s resolution. Shedding holiday weight should be at the top of my list, but I wanted to take a nontraditional route that pays dividends for my clients and for my future as a fundraiser.

I’m committing myself toward professional development in 2014, and I invite you to join me. Let’s spend the year finding new, creative ways to increase our professional chops in the nonprofit fundraising sector. By becoming better leaders, not only can we help our organizations raise more money, but we can also better position ourselves for bigger career challenges in the future.

There are plenty of professional development opportunities out there, but here are my three commitments for the coming year:

Become more active with AFP.  Every fundraiser should join AFP and get involved with the local chapter. The Association of Fundraising Professionals is the leading trade association for nonprofit development professionals. With more than 30,000 members worldwide, the organization advocates for fundraisers, produces cutting-edge research on our field, and has the most robust job posting system for our profession.

Most importantly, AFP allows nonprofit professionals to gain keen insight on best practices on how to raise more money. The professional development meetings, networking, and conferences have made me a stronger nonprofit professional, and there are special programs to help you learn tactical skills for fundraising.

Tip: The Triangle AFP is hosting its annual Philanthropy Forecast next Monday, January 27, 2014 at the Embassy Suites in Cary. It’s a great way to get involved with AFP.  Learn more by clicking here.

Go to a conference. Every fundraiser should expand his or her toolkit and networks by attending a conference. This year, plan your personal and organizational budgets to attend one of the following conference I have attended and highly recommend:

  • May: National Smart Start Conference - Greensboro
  • August: NC Philanthropy Conference – Location TBD
  • September: NC Center for Nonprofits Conference - RTP
I will be at one of those this year -- if not more -- and hope to see you there.

Go to school. Every fundraiser should gain professional skills through continuing education. As a graduate of Duke University’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management program, I highly recommend it to all North Carolina nonprofit practitioners.

For those who have completed Duke’s program, I invite you to try Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy’s courses with me. Their Fund Raising School offers workshops on major giving, sustainability, planned gifts, and strategic planning, among others.

By making these three resolutions for the year, I know I will be of better service to my clients. You, too, can make a difference in your organizations by raising more money, and you can also increase your professional skills and marketability  for your next career step.

Cheers to 2014!

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