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How to Begin Organizing an AFP Chapter

July 15, 2016

  1. Familiarity with AFP and avid support from an established chapter helps the process along 
  2. Notify AFP International Headquarters at of your interest in organizing a chapter.  Information about the size of the area the new chapter would serve and the number of nonprofits within the area will be helpful. 
  3. Find a dedicated fundraising executive who is willing to lead the effort to organize a new chapter.  Ideally, this person will be assisted by several other interested fundraising professionals. 
  4. Obtain written sponsorship letter an existing AFP chapter located nearby, to provide guidance and support throughout the organizational process.  If one is not available, contact the Chapter Services Department at AFP International Headquarters. A sample sponsorship letter is included in this material (appendix B). 
  5. Call together 4 or 5 fundraising executives that you know and compile a prospective member list of all the fundraising professionals living and/or working in the area the chapter would serve.  Consider individuals employed by:
    • Social agencies and youth groups
    • Hospitals and medical centers
    • Universities, colleges, and private schools
    • Museums, television stations, and cultural groups
    • National, state/provincial, and local health agencies
    • Professional fundraising counsel
    • Symphony, opera, ballet, and theater companies
    • Foundations
      If you are unable to get a list locally, please contact AFP’s Membership Services Department for a listing of people in your area who were AFP members but have allowed their membership to lapse. 
  6. Choose a date for an exploratory meeting, the first of perhaps several organizational meetings.  A luncheon is recommended. 
  7. Contact the AFP Chapter Services Department and request a sample of AFP publications, and brochures outlining member benefits for distribution at the meeting.  
  8. Call on the sponsoring chapter to provide a speaker for the exploratory meeting, or call the AFP Chapter Services Department and request that a speaker, when available, be sent to explain the purpose and benefits of AFP. 
  9. Compose a letter of invitation and send it to all the names on the prospective member list.  If a luncheon is planned, be sure to set a fee and include reservation forms with appropriate contact information. 
  10.         NOTE: If you will be collecting registration fees, you’ll want to find another chapter or local organization to assist in collecting the money.  Until your chapter has an EIN number (after its approval from the AFP Board), you won’t be able to open a bank account.  Another chapter or community organization may allow your potential members to make checks out to their organization and then help the forming chapter pay its expenses for the luncheon. The forming chapter could be a line item or sub-account of the sponsor chapter. If you have questions about the process, contact the AFP Chapter Services Department.  
  11. Make arrangements to hold the meeting at a convenient location, such as a hotel.  Most hotels will provide a conference room free of charge, as long as lunch is served and paid for. In some cases, a local nonprofit may be able to host your meeting. 
  12. Court the invitees with a follow-up invitation or phone call.

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