How about a Bit of Fun for Fundraising Professionals?

It’s time to dig out your old swag from the National Society of Fundraising Executives and/or Association of Fundraising Professionals. Let me explain.

These are stressful times. In the broader society, we’re witnessing a volatile stock market, international intrigue, upcoming mid-term elections, the aftermath of hearings for Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the US Supreme Court, and so much more.

In the fundraising world, we read articles about how the new tax code could lead to a decline in charitable giving. We also read about scandals involving nonprofit organizations and religious institutions. Furthermore, we know that donor-retention rates remain abysmal despite all the talk about how to resolve the problem.

Against this anxiety-inducing backdrop, fundraising professionals have the added pressure of trying to meet fundraising goals as the end of the calendar year approaches.

If you’re not feeling a bit of stress and/or anxiety, you haven’t been paying attention, or you’re really good at meditation, or you’re drinking too much, or you’re eating too much chocolate.

So, with that in mind and given that Halloween, a fun holiday, is just weeks away, I thought I’d give you a brief break from fundraising talk. With this post, I want to do something a bit different and, I hope, have a bit of fun together.

The ever-stylish Michael Nilsen models his classic AFP shirt.

A few weeks ago, Taryn Gold, Vice President of Chapter Engagement at the Association of Fundraising Professionals, shared a photo on Twitter that I found amusing. The current picture shows Michael Nilsen, AFP’s Vice President of Communications and Public Policy, wearing an official AFP polo shirt from 2001.

One of the reasons the photo caught my eye is that I also still own the same shirt. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that. In fact, I also still have a bunch of older AFP swag, some of it from NSFRE, the name of the organization prior to 2001.

Gold’s tweet inspired me to dig around for my own ancient NSFRE and AFP swag. I was a bit surprised by what I found (see the photo below). Resting on my AFP shirt, you’ll find an NSFRE handbook from 2000, two AFP logo pins from 2001, an early CFRE button from 1994 (NSFRE created the CFRE credential), my first NSFRE Foundation donor pin from 1992, An NSFRE Founder’s Club donor pin from 1998, an NSFRE President’s Club donor pin from 2000, an AFP Political Action Committee donor pin from 2002, an AFP conference badge, my name badge from when I represented AFP before the US Federal Trade Commission, and an NSFRE conference badge.

Select items from Michael Rosen’s NSFRE and AFP swag collection.

That is only part of my collection.

For years, my wife has wondered why I haven’t thrown away this stuff; now, she knows.

This brings me to you. I’d like to know if you have any old NSFRE or AFP swag as well. If you do, please tweet a picture of it with the hashtag #NSFREswag and/or #AFPswag.

I think it might be a bit of fun to see what you’ve held on to. I hope you agree.

While it’s gone through a number of name changes, AFP was founded in 1960. Over the decades, the organization has grown significantly. It is now an international association with over 33,000 members.

You can learn more about AFP’s history by clicking here.

For free, you can read my current article in Advancing Philanthropy, the official AFP magazine, by clicking here.

Next week, still in keeping with the Halloween spirit, I’ll share a fundraising horror story along with some helpful tips so you can avoid making the same mistakes. To be one of the first to read my future posts and to receive a free ebook from philanthropy researcher Dr. Russell James III, JD, CFP®, be sure to subscribe (at no cost) to my blog in the right-hand column.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to thank AFP for the memories and for the help and inspiration over the decades.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?


UPDATE (Oct. 22, 2018): My wife is ready for me to get rid of the ancient NSFRE/AFP stuff that I no longer use. Actually, she’s been ready. But now, she’s really interested in doing some long overdue house cleaning. So, to minimize what goes into the landfill, I thought I’d offer up my never-worn, good-as-new vintage AFP shirt (as seen above) to the first person who let’s me know that they’ve made a new or increased gift of $100 or more to the AFP Foundation. The official AFP rugby shirt could be yours, along with the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting educational programs, scholarships, research, and more! For your convenience, you can make your gift online by clicking here.

6 Comments to “How about a Bit of Fun for Fundraising Professionals?”

  1. Never too much chocolate! Seriously, another way to have fun? Sign up to serve on an AFP committee, it’s just about the time of year to do so. You will meet fascinating, talented professionals from around the world, you’ll learn a lot, be able to contribute, and enjoy the ride!

  2. P.S. Michael, per your request, I just tweeted out a pic of some of my AFP “stuff”. BTW, I did have a hard copy NSFRE conference program from many moons ago, complete with handouts! However, I gave it to AFP staff as a memento. As Bob Hope would say, thanks for the memories!

  3. A fun project indeed. I’ve looked around, and other than some old NSFRE/CFRE certs, I don’t have anything to post. Lost to history.

  4. Nice walk down memory lane, but… OMG. Who has time to search? I’m sure I’ve got stuff, and likely tossed just as much, but who has a clue where it is? One funny story (at least to me): My husband had a heck of a time remembering what NSFRE stood for, so he reframed the acronym to “Not So Fast Richard Englebert!” Total nonsense, but I always think of it that way now. If anyone out there is named Richard Englebert, let me know. 🙂

    • Claire, thank you for your comment. You made me chuckle. To answer your question about who has time to search, I’ll tell you my situation. When I showed my wife Michael Nilsen’s photo, I mentioned that I thought I still had an AFP shirt somewhere. My wife seized the opportunity to gather up a bunch of my ancient NSFRE/AFP stuff (far more than photographed) that she’s been itching for me to get rid of for years. Now that the stuff is front-of-mind, and essentially useless, her great hope is that I will throw it out at long last. So, in my case, it has far less to do with nostalgia and far more to do with overdue house cleaning. 🙂

      Now, having said that, I’m willing to send my never-worn, good-as-new AFP shirt to anyone who makes a new or increased gift of $100 to the AFP Foundation. Otherwise, I guess it will be off to a landfill.

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