A vibrant conversation with Mike Geiger, President and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). You’ll discover how Geiger’s career, marked by unexpected opportunities and strategic pivots, exemplifies the dynamic nature of nonprofit leadership. Learn about AFP’s huge role in enhancing fundraising practices, its commitment to ethical standards, and its proactive approach to addressing the quickly evolving needs of fundraisers and philanthropy. Mike shares valuable perspectives on embracing technological changes and preparing for future trends in giving.

Mike’s career trajectory, sprinkled with serendipitous turns, highlights a journey not guided by a rigid plan but by grabbing opportunities that aligned with his ethos. He amusingly recounted, “I wasn’t planning on getting my MBA, but then I did,” illustrating how unplanned paths often lead to fulfilling destinations.

Mike, who also holds a CPA, points us to the importance of flexibility and openness in professional growth. He pointed out, “Being open, having a growth mindset, and when there’s opportunities that fit into what your life ethos is, then you take those.” This mindset has seen him evolve from pursuing advanced degrees to dedicating his career to the nonprofit sector, demonstrating an adaptive journey fueled by unexpected yet welcome shifts.

At the heart of this discussion is AFP’s role as a cornerstone in the fundraising community, boasting nearly 30,000 members and around 200 chapters globally. Mike proudly explained the organization’s mission, “We provide education on best practices, we focus on improving the skills that our members have in the fundraising area but also in other areas.” He stresses the multifaceted roles fundraisers often play, whilst highlighting the critical need for continuous professional development.

Continuing, Mikes digs into the evolving landscape of fundraising, particularly how technological advancements and changing demographics are shaping new strategies. The conversation touches on AFP’s ethical framework, foundational since 1960, which continues to guide fundraisers in their professional conduct.

Mike offers an optimistic view of the future of fundraising, citing research predicting a rebound in philanthropic giving. He spends time explaining the importance of adapting to the philanthropic inclinations of younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, who are poised to play a significant role in future giving trends.

This learning episode is a compelling blend of personal anecdotes and professional insights, offering a window into the agile and ever-evolving world of nonprofit management and fundraising.