|Past and present AFP Vice Chairs of Membership (l to r): |
Alice Ferris, Joyce Mitchell-Antoine, Joseph Goepfrich,
Susan Earl Hosbach, Ann Hale, and Vice President Lori Gusdorf.
Bill Hallett, Phil Schumacher, Jay Frey
But how did this come to be?
Like a lot of things in life, when I started this adventure, I wasn't expecting much. I was serving my first year (of eventually four years) as president of the small but mighty AFP Northern Arizona Chapter. I got some letter (yes, letter) inviting me to serve on an international committee, and I blindly signed up. It was the Chapter Support Subcommittee, chaired by Susan Earl Hosbach, CFRE.
I had no idea what I was getting into, but before long, I volunteered to do something. I don't even remember what it was, but Susan immediately identified me as a "good volunteer." And someone with leadership potential, apparently, because when she moved up in the volunteer structure, so did I.
Phil Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, got into the mix as well, encouraging me in other volunteer and leadership areas in the membership division of AFP. Others in the division leadership also supported my involvement, including Roderick Reinhart, CFRE, Jay Frey, CFRE, Ann Hale, CFRE, Joyce Mitchell-Antoine, CFRE and Vice President of Member and Chapter Services, Lori Gusdorf, CAE. (Not a complete list, for sure!) Eventually, I served as Vice Chair of Membership in 2009-2010, which was one of my most challenging and most rewarding volunteer commitments to date.
So what did all these people do to encourage my volunteer service?
- Provided genuine appreciation for my work. I never felt like someone was just giving me lip service. They provided timely, personal and specific thanks for my efforts.
- Followed through on promises. If they said they were going to do something, they did it. Or, if it became unrealistic to follow through, they provided logical reasons why and alternate solutions.
- Challenged me to stretch. I naturally gravitate, as most people do, toward things I'm good at. They often recognized before I did where I would excel.
- Brought me into the bigger vision. I never felt like I was only privy to a small part of the picture. These leaders led and shared the big picture and made sure that budding leaders knew the direction we were headed.
- Encouraged me to develop leadership that would come after me. Leadership in the membership division is not just about your current term, it's about who will serve next. It's easier to think big picture when you know there will be skilled leadership after you.
I am still involved in AFP, now not only in the membership division, but also in external relations, professional advancement and in resource development through the Canadian Foundation. I'm in the process of writing to many people who have invested their volunteer time in advancing philanthropy through our professional association, most of whom have also become my good friends in the process. In the meantime, thank you for your work and for influencing my philanthropic life.