We have a lot to learn!

| by Bert Armstrong

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.” 
― Michel Legrand

Some things I learned early in life in the typical ways we were all taught through elementary, middle and high school:  Reading, writing, arithmetic, science, foreign language, PE, and typing.  That’s right, typing – and with a non-electric typewriter to boot!

Basic education, check!

Then there was my college education at THE Wake Forest University a place of great learning and exploration for me in and outside the classroom.  I’ll skip the lessons that came from those Spring Break trips and fraternity pledging duties.  But I will offer my gratitude for the professors who introduced me to a host of classroom discussions and assignments that broadened my view of the world. I’m also thankful for classmates and friends who taught me much about life by seeing the world through their eyes and learning important and sometimes hard life lessons from our shared experiences.

College degree, check!

And then there is my “after-school” learning.  For many of my classmates it was off to grad school or into a job that was born directly from their major studies.  They knew exactly what they wanted to do and how to get there.  My career path was a bit more crooked and I credit my arrival to the great profession of nonprofit fundraising in part at least to dumb luck and good fortune.  Once there however, I am forever thankful to my former nonprofit employers, clients, and to places like the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), for the teaching moments, course offerings, and introductions to great fundraisers, philanthropists, and nonprofit leaders.  These continuing education and on-the-job learning opportunities continue to shape my career and my passion for philanthropy. 

Through my educational experiences I’ve met some really interesting, kind, smart, driven, creative, chill, different, and successful people - many who continue to serve as great teachers, coaches, mentors, debate starters, assumption challengers, and role models for me.

While I have learned a lot through the years, I don’t believe I will ever check the box and say I’ve achieved all my lifelong learning goals.  The world is changing – fast.  My professional world is evolving in big and small ways.  The opportunities for growth and sustainability of the nonprofit sector are always shifting just as new, improved or repackaged methods for addressing the challenges emerge. It is incumbent on me and my team to keep up with the changes if we are to continue providing great service to our clients.   

Next Thursday, August 17th, the NC Philanthropy Conference will take place in Durham, NC.  This annual event is organized by the local AFP chapters across the state to provide great learning opportunities for fundraising beginners to the most experienced professionals and volunteers.  Armstrong McGuire is proud to serve as a sponsor of this important learning opportunity.  Two of our Senior Advisors, April Anthony and Mendi Nieters, will be offering workshops during the day. If you are attending, I hope you’ll find your way into one or both of their sessions. 

I will be there as well, and am looking forward to doing a lot of listening and learning so that I am better equipped for the work ahead with my clients. 

Smart enough to know I need to learn more, check! 

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