Serious Times Call for Serious People


I love the movie “The American President.” One of sara_leonard_webfriendly-5many great lines from that movie: “We have serious problems to solve and we need serious people to solve them.” Dear fundraising colleagues, these are serious times and we are serious people. As the president of the Suncoast Chapter, it was my honor to represent us at the AFP International Fundraising Conference in New Orleans. Even though many serious issues were discussed, I left very encouraged that we are a part of an organization that is facing problems head on. Here are some of the serious things we are facing:

A recent survey by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and AFP reveals how the #MeToo Movement impacts our profession. The results of the survey are disturbing but not surprising. (Click here to read for yourself:  But here’s why I’m encouraged: our professional association isn’t shying away from this.

In an organization as big as ours, many differing opinions arise. However, our core values are rock solid. AFP’s new president and CEO wrote an excellent blog post this month outlining those core values. I encourage you to read it and let me know if he has captured our commitment to an ethical, effective and inclusive fundraising profession. Mike Geiger’s blog post

Diversity is important to our profession. The AFP International Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access statement of principles includes: “AFP is committed to promoting an inclusive, equitable and accessible organization where every member, volunteer, staff and board member can realize their potential and have their contributions valued.” In our local community, we are working hard to uphold this principle. If this is important to you, please get involved.  Here’s the full statement:

Here in Tampa Bay, we want to equip you to be a part of these solutions. Our June educational luncheon meeting will address the impact of tax reform on your nonprofit and your donors. Our Planned Giving Symposium in August focuses on reaching diverse communities. Click here for more info and to register:

As I write this, I realize my friends and family wouldn’t call me a serious person but as your chapter president, I take seriously the responsibility of supporting your work in our community. I know – without a doubt – we can be both serious people while also having fun. Please join us.

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

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