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Small But Mighty Diversity Efforts

December 11, 2013

Though they are a small chapter with only 51-100 members, that didn’t stop the AFP Miami Chapter stop from making great strides in their work towards a more diverse and inclusive fundraising world. The chapter set their sights on a diverse future of fundraising, earning them the Charles R. Stephens Excellence in Diversity Chapter Award for 2012-2013.

Following a successful workshop in December 2010, where the AFP Miami Chapter partnered with the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy (SFNBP) on Shades of Philanthropy: The Color of Money, the AFP Miami board of directors used the success to fuel the start of their diversity committee. With more than 50 AFP and SFNBP members plus others in the nonprofit field in attendance, they knew they had a hit on their hands. Not only did they vow to make Shades of Philanthropy an annual event, but they found it absolutely necessary to form a diversity committee to take it to the next level.

Over the years, Shades of Philanthropy has transformed to highlight a different area of diversity and inclusion, to ensure that all in the community find value in the program. In 2011 the theme was, Reflections of the New Donor, where Debi Harris, CEO of the Women’s Fund of Miami, hosted an interactive workshop that highlighted special philanthropic opportunities for targeting women of color. In 2012 the AFP Miami chapter hosted Philanthropy in Communities of Color with Investment Advisor Anthony L. Rogers, J.D., who provided practical steps on how to target multicultural donors including African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Asian-Americans and additional communities of color.

On Dec. 5, 2013, the chapter hosted their 4th Annual Shades of Philanthropy event on Hispanic Philanthropy, featuring Diana Campoamor, National President of Hispanics In Philanthropy.

After being established in 2010, the AFP Miami chapter’s diversity committee went on to develop a diversity plan for their chapter that would increase efforts to attract more diverse members—and in turn they were awarded the AFP Friends of Diversity Designation in 2011, 2012 and 2013. With help from new board members, such as the president of the South Florida Network of Blacks in Philanthropy, the chapter was able to go beyond their annual event and reach a whole new pool of diverse individuals in the philanthropic community.

Empowering Miami’s Young Visionaries

In 2012 the AFP Miami board of directors created the Young Professionals group as a branch of the diversity committee. They set out to attract more young professionals and introduce them to the nonprofit sector with a new event: AFP on the River: Empowering Miami’s Young Visionaries. Designed like a mixer/networking event to attract a younger audience, the event was attended by 75 young professionals, plus many AFP Miami members and board members. The opportunity presented a chance for both seasoned and new fundraising professionals to mingle and learn from one another, while also providing a platform for the AFP Miami chapter to recruit new, young and diverse members. 

In 2013 the Young Professionals group grew large enough to branch out to a larger committee and was therefore moved under the Membership and Marketing committee. However, the mixers and networking didn’t halt! In July of 2013 the Young Professionals group hosted another event to recruit even more young professionals communitywide. The event was again a great success!

If We Can Do It – You Can Do It!

The chapter’s board of directors and diversity committee believe that the key to their success is their dedicated members who not only work together, but with other nonprofit and community organizations to spread the importance of their diversity and inclusion efforts. The chapter feels that as a group of fundraising professionals it is their responsibility to pay it forward in the nonprofit sector by educating others. Though they are a small chapter, they use the passion of their members and board of directors to inform the community.

The AFP Miami Chapter encourages all chapters with similar board commitments and size to explore the possibility of paying it forward through fundraising events. They provide these top tips to help you have successful diversity events the way they have:

  • Recruit dedicated and reliable event committee members and choose an effective and committed leader/coordinator;
  • Begin planning early—at least three months in advance—obtaining the best value and having maximum time for promotion is key;
  • Establish an event budget;
  • Establish a timeline and divvy tasks to each member;
  • Provide good value for a reasonable price (with higher rates for non-AFP members than for AFP members and with lower rates for early registration for both members and non-members);
  • Expect there to be problems the day of the event and have people available to deal with them;
  • Make the event FUN as well as informative;
  • Thank all presenters (with inexpensive gifts, if possible);
  • Thank all attendees and ask for their evaluation of the event so you can make future events even better.

As the AFP Miami chapter proves, you can’t use the size of your chapter or organization as an excuse not to join the efforts to create a strong, vital and unified force of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

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