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Better Than the Oscars

What Volunteering with AFP Means to Me

Jennifer Atkinson, CFRE
Associate Director, Leadership Giving
Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation

At the age of 12, I was convinced that I was destined to have a fruitful career as an award-winning actress. I have a very clear memory of practicing my acceptance speech for my Academy Award in the bathroom mirror, proudly gripping a shampoo bottle as my coveted Oscar. Shockingly (or not), the universe had other plans for me – and I’m so glad that it did.

Fundraising is a niche profession. The work that we do is unique, strategic and deeply personal. At times, it can also feel incredibly isolating. I learned early on in my career that engaging with a community of like-minded professionals would be critical to thriving in this industry. Thankfully, my search for a community led me to AFP Greater Vancouver.

Over the years, my engagement with AFP Greater Vancouver shifted from attending events to joining the Professional Development Committee, becoming a mentor and now, a member of the Board of Directors. The additional time commitment is heavily outweighed by all that I gain from the experience. I am enhancing my leadership skills, engaging in meaningful conversations about our sector and playing a role in the future direction of our chapter.

Above all, volunteering with AFP Greater Vancouver has connected me to respected colleagues who inspire me with their knowledge, passion and commitment. I know that I could call any one of them for advice, guidance and direction at any time. Working alongside them has challenged me to do and be better. They are the community that I sought out almost 15 years ago.

So, while I will likely never clutch that Oscar and tearfully utter those words of appreciation that I perfected as a pre-teen, I am beyond grateful for the community fostered by my work with AFP Greater Vancouver – and I hope that contributions will help to establish that same community for future generations of fundraisers.

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