by Ben Mohler
After moving to Charlotte in the summer of 2007, I was encouraged by co-workers to attended AFP Charlotte Chapter monthly chapter meetings. Unsure how attending the meetings would directly improve my daily responsibilities, I was reluctant to commit. However, after a few meetings, I began to see their importance. With time I grew to learn that although these meetings were important, the real value of the chapter membership happened before and after meetings.
You see, AFP Charlotte Chapter is far more than just monthly meetings. Its value comes in networking opportunities, committee work, and the opportunity to share common experiences with other leaders in the Charlotte nonprofit community. I can easily say that the benefits of membership far exceeds the cost. In fact, I credit much of my success to the investment other members have made in my career. Many of these investments have been unintentional results of being involved and volunteering, but a few have been deliberate.
My most notable "deliberate experience" grew out of the mentoring program. When I began looking for professional development opportunities outside of monthly chapter meetings, Linda Breen encouraged me to join the mentoring committee that she led. She gave me the opportunity to help her administer the newly revived program. I also signed up to be a mentor. But as luck would have it, that first year was overbooked with mentors. Linda encouraged me to sign up as a mentee and I was paired with Martin Novom.
I credit Martin for being deliberate in guiding me to achieve many of the recent milestones of my career. These include his encouragement to take the CFRE in 2008 and present at the 2011 AFP International Conference in Chicago. However, the most important investment he has made in my growth as a leader in the fundraising profession is helping me master the art of the reflective practitioner. Although our formal mentoring relationship through AFP Charlotte ended in 2008, Martin remains one of my closest allies, strongest supporter, and a trusted sounding board.
The AFP Charlotte Chapter has experienced great growth since 2007 and many resources are available for no additional cost. Noting this, I encourage others to seek out the value of membership and build their vibrant professional network.
- Four categories of affinity groups
- An established mentoring program
- CFRE study groups
- Scholarship opportunities
- Professional growth is through committee work