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AFP Chapter Spotlight – Alabama

March 23, 2012

The AFP-Alabama Chapter’s membership is over 100 members strong.  Read our interview to learn more about how they work with youth in philanthropy. 

alabama YIPQ. Tell us about your youth in philanthropy program. What do you do each year to engage youth in philanthropy?

A. The AFP-Alabama Youth in Philanthropy program has tried several different ways to engage youth in philanthropy.  One year the AFP-AL Chapter hosted a panel discussion at a local school that featured fundraising professionals from several area non-profits.  The discussion was focused on how the students could engage in volunteer/community service work either individually or with their family.  Currently, the AFP-AL Chapter is making plans to utilize the Careers in Fundraising program that is available from the AFP website with area schools and youth organizations. 

Additionally, the AFP-AL Chapter promotes and awards a Youth in Philanthropy Award during our annual National Philanthropy Day event.  The first Youth in Philanthropy Award the AFP-AL Chapter awarded was in 2005 to then Miss America, Deidre Downs for her work in promoting pediatric cancer research.

Q. Many AFP Chapters want to start a YIP program, but find it challenging to develop and maintain consistent leadership for the program. Can you tell us what best practices your chapter uses to manage the leadership of YIP programs from year to year?

A.  One way the AFP-AL Chapter helps to manage the leadership of our YIP program is to identify chapter members who work for organizations that focus on youth.  For instance, our past YIP Chairs have worked in independent schools, for the Big Brother Big Sister organization or been sponsors of youth service groups through their churches or other service organizations.  Each YIP Chair is encouraged to identify chapter members who may have a passion for working with youth and encourage those members to serve on the YIP Committee.  Future committee leadership is identified from those committee members. 

Q. An additional challenge for many chapters is the ability to dedicate the needed resources and time to a YIP program. How has your chapter managed to address making your YIP program a priority? How does your chapter decide how to allocate resources i.e. money and people to the YIP program each year?

A.  The AFP-AL Chapter does not include a line item in the chapter budget to fund the YIP program.  It relies instead on the free materials offered via the AFP website to operate the YIP program.  In addition the personal connections of the YIP Chair and committee members are used to identify youth organizations that might be receptive to having a YIP Committee member speak at their meetings or to conduct a program at local schools to promote community service involvement and careers in fundraising.

Q. Where do you go to find information regarding youth in philanthropy for your chapter?

A. The AFP website – under the Youth in Philanthropy link, as well as through the Youth in Philanthropy newsletter.

Q. What advice would you give to other AFP chapters who want to start or expand their chapter's youth in philanthropy program? Please share a favorite resource or tip for other chapters.

A. The best advice the AFP-AL Chapter can give to another chapter that wants to start or expand their own YIP program is to make sure the YIP Committee has a good plan of action in place for the year.  The old adage – plan your work and work your plan really comes into play in this area.  And in order to make sure that plan lasts more than one year consider asking your YIP Chair to serve a two year term.  A two-year commitment might help ensure continuity and provide a good solid foundation for future chairs.

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