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The Value of Government Relations - The Secret is Out!

June 13, 2016

by Daniel P. Brunette

Fundraising professionals are adept at showcasing the worth of their causes, but historically only a few have applied those same skills and knowledge to the growth of the sector itself.  Some of the most underutilized, highest impact engagement opportunities are with elected officials, those dedicated representatives of the citizenry.

One of the best ways to engage this important stakeholder group is through involvement with the AFP Canadian Government Relations (GR) Committee. This entity works primarily at the national level and is made up of various leaders, advisors, chapter representatives, supported by AFP staff.

All twenty-one chapters in Canada are strongly encouraged to appoint a person to hold the Government Relations portfolio for the chapter, in order to participate directly in the development and implementation of AFP’s national public policy strategy. Government Relations  Chairs receive AFP’s Public Policy Update and will have access to other resources to assist them in their role.

Due to the many similarities between the roles for major gift fundraising and government relations, individuals who volunteer for the GR portfolio do not require prior experience in the political arena, only the inclination to serve and/or expand their knowledge of the matter.  Thanks to the structure of the GR Committee and the expertise that is found around the table, new members will have a number of tools and mentors to help them become knowledgeable and active participants. The skills that Chapter Government Relations Chairs gain will have direct and practical applications to their organization, their chapter and the AFP community.  

If your chapter does not currently have a representative on the AFP Canadian Government Relations Committee, we encourage you to consider this important appointment. Contact Michael Nilsen, AFP’s vice president for public affairs, at for more information.

Daniel Brunette is the chair of the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Canadian Government Relations Committee and works at the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

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