After attending the Association of Donor Relations Professionals New York City Regional Workshop last Friday, I am feeling a bit refreshed and full of new ideas to try in the next year. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, as the conference season is getting under way. I say it all the time and will say it again — fundraisers need professional development opportunities (and many other things) to stay sane and effective.
There are many reasons that professional development is critical for fundraisers, but here are my top three reasons:
- Time to recharge — We all can benefit from some time away from the office, which allows us to see the bigger picture and return to our work refocused.
- Source of new ideas and inspiration — Conferences and workshops are always full of the latest and greatest ideas and strategies. As Lynne Wester reminded us at the ADRP Regional Workshop, we can all learn from each other and borrow ideas that will help our fundraising efforts.
- Expand your network — Being able to pick up the phone or send a quick e-mail to a few fellow fundraisers with a question or issue is absolutely priceless. Professional development events are the best place to make these connections and you should capitalize upon these opportunities to meet and get to know your colleagues.
What professional development events and associations have been useful in your fundraising career? What events will you be attending this year?
For your information, I’ll be attending AFP’s International Conference in Vancouver next month (which I’ll be writing more about very soon), the New York Philanthropic Planning Symposium in May and Fundraising Day in New York this June. I look forward to sharing some of the lessons I glean from these upcoming events with you.