Invest in Yourself


Invest in Yourself

As I write this, I’ve been working on our family tax return which led me to think about sara_leonard_webfriendly-5investments like IRA’s and retirement plans. It’s that time of year, I guess. With that as the backdrop, I started thinking about how we – as fundraising professionals – invest in ourselves.

During my fundraising career there were many times when my employer invested in my professional development. But there were also times when there were no funds available so I made the investment in myself.  Looking back over my career, every investment has paid off in the long run.

How might you invest in yourself? I’ve got some ideas:

AFP membership – joining AFP is an excellent investment in yourself and your career. Be sure to explore the categories of membership ( to see which one is best for you. Every member has access to AFP’s vast resources.

Professional education – our chapter provides educational opportunities for fundraising professionals at each stage of their career. Join us for monthly meetings, attend a state or international conference, or participate in the CFRE prep program. Our AFP Suncoast Chapter board is committed to providing quality, affordable education. To do that, we seek sponsors and underwriters to defray costs. Our chapter also has a robust scholarship program. Be sure to review the criteria and apply if you are eligible.

CFRE – the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) credential. Our chapter supports our members who are pursuing the credential. If you are considering this important career investment, watch for a program announcement coming soon.

Involvement – for this one, your investment is in the form of time, not money. Find a way to get involved in your profession and your community. Serve on an AFP committee. Mentor a younger professional. Volunteer at a local high school. Join a service club. Involvement becomes an investment in yourself because of the things you learn. You can broaden your horizons. You’ll also have fun.

I’m reminded of a saying my dad used to have, “pay yourself first.” The idea was to have some money from each paycheck put into savings so you were paying yourself before you started paying your bills. This philosophy should apply to our professional lives, too. How are you investing in yourself? How can we help you?

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE
2017/2018 President – AFP Suncoast Chapter
Sara Leonard Group
(813) 310-2364

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