Alice Ferris, CFRE
Partner at GoalBusters LLC
Currently serves as AFP’s vice chair of Membership Services
Why is AFP membership valuable to you?
Through AFP I have formed lasting friendships with people all over the world! Whether through my local chapter, which covers a large geographic area, or through AFP international conferences and meetings, I've met people from all over my state, and throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Pacific Rim, Europe and Australia. I can't imagine that I would have met even a fraction of my current AFP friends if it weren't for my membership. My AFP relationships have broadened my understanding of philanthropy, particularly as it is practiced in cultures other than my own. Plus, we always have a whole lot of fun when we get together, whether "virtually" or in person!
How has AFP helped you as a fundraiser?
Over the years, AFP has helped me better understand the importance of personal connections in fundraising. My fellow AFP members have always been supportive: we share creative ideas, help each other with problem solving, and lend a sympathetic ear when things go wrong. Through networking and mentoring, I have gotten new jobs, completed "impossible" campaigns, and generally maintained a modicum of sanity. I have also grown professionally because of AFP, not just through chapter and international professional development programs, but also through volunteer leadership opportunities. In my roles at my chapter and at International, I've been able to work on my leadership style in a safe and encouraging environment.
What advice do you have for members who are looking to get more out of their AFP experience?
We all get some great benefits from our local chapters—networking, educational opportunities and more—but don't forget about what's available from the international association! Free resources, like the Ready Reference Series and the toolkits that are available on the website are invaluable, and of course, the Resource Center is an amazing benefit. I also think that volunteering at the international level is a great benefit—a way to build networks throughout the world and gain leadership experience. You never know where your relationships will take you!