Learn from your colleagues, celebrate their accomplishments and find out why AFP membership is important to them. Each month we profile a different member of our Chapter. This month's profile is featured below.
Annie serves as Development Associate for Auberle where she is responsible for grant writing, foundation relations, and marketing and communications. Annie has been in development for nearly two years.
1. What is the most rewarding thing about being a professional fundraiser?
Obviously the mission! Auberle is an organization that serves at-risk youth and families. I know that the money my department raises helps create opportunities for these children and families to improve their lives and become happy, successful and independent.
2. How did you first become involved in development?
By chance – my background is as a reporter and then media relations. I was looking for a position that would allow for me to take ownership and manage projects and increase my skill set. As any fundraiser knows, this happens the second you walk into a Development Department.
3. What keeps you in development?
It’s something different every day. I like the fact that I always have to be on my toes because no two days are exactly alike. I feel constantly challenged.
4. How is fundraising different compared to when you started in the profession?
Well with only two years in the field I can’t say much, but even in that short amount of time I am amazed at how creative Pittsburgh nonprofits can be. Funding streams are changing daily and fundraisers are constantly changing to meet the challenge.
5. What advice would you give anyone starting out in the profession?
Don’t give up! It’s hard work, chaotic and sometimes stressful but it’s worth it. The work you’re doing is so important.
6. What was the best training you attended as a fundraiser and why?
My team attended a training by Simone Joyaux through AFP recently. She was candid, honest and really had a sense of the challenges facing non-profits. With all of us facing limited time and resources, she provided quick, practical steps that we could implement immediately
7. What do you think is the best way for someone to get involved in development either as a volunteer or as a professional?
Just dive in. I don’t think you can really understand the inner workings of a Development Department until you become enmeshed in it. As long as you have an interest in fundraising, I think it’s worth it just to take the plunge and find out if it’s for you.
8. What is the best piece of advice you received?
Remember the mission and why you’re doing what you do.
9. Why are you a member of AFP?
As someone new to the profession, I need advice from people in the field who have been there and done it!
10. What would you like to see happen in AFP in the next five years?
I think many people come to Development careers through different paths and many young people may not think of fundraising as something that could be their lifelong career. By strengthening our younger membership, we could retain these young people and their energy and build a really dynamic, experienced fundraising community in the coming years.
11. Where do you see the future of fundraising?
In the hands on the donors! Donors want more choices in terms of how and why they give. They want to see the tangible impact of their donations. I really believe that the days of hard checks by direct mail are dwindling and that we have to learn to listen to our donors. We have to be flexible to respond to their requests.