Pathways to Leadership - Get Involved

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Chicago Chapter is the largest chapter in the United States and the second largest in the world. We have 900 members who represent a broad spectrum of professional experience, diverse organizations and personal and cultural backgrounds. As an individual, if you’re looking to expand your network, enhance your not-for-profit skills or just meet fellow fundraisers, this is the organization for you. If you’re a company looking to reach a diverse and highly educated audience then you should be doing business with the AFP Chicago Chapter. There are numerous opportunities to get involved, so please take a few minutes to explore your possibilities. AFP Chicago offers numerous opportunities to get involved.

Jackie Bonavia – AFP Chicago Pathways to Leadership

Jackie Bonavia, CFRE is AFP Chicago’s Immediate Past President, Chair of the Committee on Directorship, and Director of Advancement for the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. We invited Jackie to share her insights on AFP Chicago’s Pathways to Leadership; the benefits of being a volunteer, exactly how you can get involved with AFP Chicago, and what her chapter service has meant to her personally.

What is AFP Chicago’s Pathways to Leadership all about?

Pathways to Leadership is AFP Chicago’s roadmap on how members can prepare for potential board membership by actively participating in AFP Chicago by serving on committees, assuming leadership positions within committees, and demonstrating the highest standards of the fundraising profession in their employment and work with the chapter.

What are some of the benefits of getting involved as an AFP Chicago volunteer?

The benefits of being an AFP Chicago volunteer are both personal and professional. By sharing your time and talent you are contributing to the advancement of our profession. There is great satisfaction in knowing that your committee work helps ensure that our colleagues are knowledgeable practitioners who uphold the highest ethics of the profession and help preserve the public trust. In addition, you have the opportunity to improve your organizational and leadership skills by working with other fundraisers on projects and programs. Perhaps, even more beneficial, are the relationships that are formed with fellow professionals through your volunteer work. It’s a wonderful network of committed colleagues who are willing to generously share their expertise or to just commiserate with you on the challenges of your day.

I have never served on an AFP Chicago committee before – how do I get started?

Go to the AFP Chicago website and look under the tab “Get Involved.”  There you will find a link to “Volunteer for AFP Chicago.”  Check out the various committee descriptions, choose one you think you would be interested in, and complete the committee interest form.  You will be contacted by the chair of the committee. Of course, you can always talk to a board or staff member if you want to know more or have specific questions. We’re always looking for motivated committee members.

What are the responsibilities of service on the AFP Chicago Board of Directors?

The board is composed of committed and caring individuals who reflect the diversity that makes up our greater Chicagoland community. AFP Chicago board members actively determine AFP Chicago’s present and future direction and represent the profession in the philanthropic community. Board members commit to fully participating in six board meetings and one board orientation annually (meetings are usually held in downtown Chicago during the business day). They serve as chair of one committee and/or on a committee or special project, and express their support of the chapter and AFP through attendance at educational and membership programming and through a gift to the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy.

How can I be nominated for the AFP Chicago Board?

Self-nominations are accepted as well as nominations from other current AFP Chicago members. I encourage you to read the criteria for membership and board responsibilities that are included on the application form found on the AFP Chicago website.  If you are not yet eligible, please join a committee and plan your path to leadership! 

What has your long chapter service meant to you personally, Jackie?

My service on the board has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my development career. I have had the privilege of working (and playing) with some of the most caring and talented individuals in development. I feel the same way as many of our donors do – I have received more than I have given. It has been gratifying to help guide AFP Chicago to meet the needs of our members and to respond to the changing philanthropic environment. What we do as professionals is important, and so is making sure that we have the best professional development and network of colleagues to help us do the best job we can. I encourage fellow members to follow a “Pathway to Leadership.” 

Community Links

Impact Grants Chicago to Award FOUR $100,000 Grants to Chicago Nonprofits
CHICAGO, September 27, 2017 – Impact Grants Chicago, a 501(c)(3) all-volunteer women’s collective giving organization, is accepting Letters of Inquiry from Chicago nonprofits beginning September 26 through November 13, 2017. The five focus areas are Education, Health, Family, Culture and Sustainability. After thorough review of the applications, finalists will be selected in the spring. Grant recipients will be voted on by membership at the Grant Awards Celebration in May 2018. Members join Impact Grants Chicago with a donation of $1,000. One hundred percent of a member’s donation is used to fund the grants. For every 100 members, a $100,000 grant is awarded. This year, the goal of Impact Grants Chicago is to award FOUR $100,000 grants to Chicago nonprofits. Eligible nonprofits can apply through the website: For additional information, please contact Pauline Taylor at

Transplant Hope.  Join Be The Match.  Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer. More than 14,000 patients don’t have a matching marrow donor within their family. They depend on Be The Match to help find someone to give them hope for a cure.

Be A Cure for someone with a life threatening blood illness.

Patients need you!  For thousands with blood cancers like leukemia or other diseases like sickle cell anemia, a marrow transplant is their only hope for life.  If you are of diverse ancestry, patients especially need you because they are likely to match someone who shares their heritage.

If you are interested in hosting a bone marrow drive at your organization or with your employer contact Sheena McNeal at 312-2720-4582 or email  You can also share this link via your networks and social media to join online, here

For more information about Be The Match visit us at | Be the Match Registry Filer

Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Chicago (YNPN Chicago)
About YNPN Chicago: YNPN Chicago serves local nonprofit professionals (generally in their 20s and 30s) who make up a substantial segment of the Chicago area’s nonprofit workforce. Interested in learning more about YNPN? Click here for information and a list of their upcoming activities.

North Park University Offers AFP Members 40% Tuition Scholarship
To learn more about this great opportunity, click here.

Axelson Center Professional Development Programs
North Park University’s Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management offers educational workshops for nonprofit professionals September – April and an annual conference in June. Topics include fundraising, marketing, human resources, board governance, volunteer management and many more. Learn more about upcoming programs at



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1717 North Naper Boulevard Suite 102 Naperville, IL 60563 | Phone: 630-416-1166  | Fax: 630-416-9798