When I started my current job, one of the first things my boss did was send me to the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Summer Institute in Educational Fundraising (SIEFR). After two weeks of getting myself oriented in the office, I travelled to Hanover, New Hampshire and took part in the Institute, which was held at Dartmouth College. Talk about a great way to start my first real job in the real world! I remember the feeling of “coming home”, to put it in the most corny way possible. While working at Wilfrid Laurier University in the Annual Giving call centre, I felt like I was in a bit of a bubble. Over the course of my 3.5 years working there, I was totally immersed in the fundraising world and excitedly learning the ropes, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to have fundraising-related discussions outside of the call centre. When I got to SIEFR, I realized there was an enormous world of people who were passionate about fundraising, too! More than that, there were experts, and there was a wider variety of topics surrounding my chosen field than I ever knew possible. I was wide-eyed and naive and incredibly excited to absorb everything I could. Two years later I’ve become a bit jaded to the professional organizations and networks out there for fundraisers. I’ve participated in a number of seminars, workshops, webinars, and more, and have been exposed to more organizations than CASE, including:
- AFP: Association of Fundraising Professionals
- CAIS: Canadian Accredited Independent Schools
- CCAE: Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education
However, thankfully the delight of connecting with like-minded individuals and equally passionate fundraisers has not worn off… especially when I’m exposed to something new, fresh, and very focused, like Young Non-Profit Professionals (YNP). You may remember me mentioning YNP (#YNPcanada) before in a guest post in April of this year: “Is storytelling really the answer for your charity???”, written by one of YNP’s founders, Brock Warner. I heard about YNP through my sister, who encouraged me to attend their 1-year anniversary event back in March. I went, met some great people, and was wildly inspired and energized by a speech by Paul Nazareth, Philanthropic Advisor (a.k.a. coolest job ever). Needless to say it was a successful event as far as my experience was concerned. The reason I was inspired to write about YNP now is because I attended another one of their events this past Tuesday, July 24th, held on the rooftop of The Spoke Club in Toronto. Once again YNP did not disappoint with a great venue, fantastic networking opportunities, and an incredible speaker – Daniel Bida of ZooShare (more on that fantastic organization later, perhaps). YNP is great because it’s so specific – young, non-profit professionals. When you’re networking at a YNP event, you’re meeting people close to the same age and stage as you, facing similar obstacles in their career path, or celebrating similar achievements. However, YNP is also great because it’s not just about educational fundraising, or even fundraising; it’s about professionals working in the non-profit sector, which casts the net fairly wide. That means that you’re meeting people in all sorts of orgs with all sorts of positions, so it can be equal parts validating and inspiring; a great balance to have at a networking event. The point is that there’s something out there for everyone. You may think that you’re uniquely nerdy and passionate about a topic, but then you’re exposed to something like YNP, and you realize you’re not alone after all. Passion is everwhere! What’s your favourite professional organization??? (Be as specific as you’d like).
Written by Maeve Strathy
Maeve is the Founder of What Gives Philanthropy and has been working in educational fundraising for the past 6 years. Click here to learn more about Maeve.