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Intro: Presidet-Elect

May 28, 2012

This month the Board of Directors intro is Amalia F. Schoone, CFRE, President-Elect of AFP Southeastern WI Chapter

Amalia is Principal Consultant, In Progress Consulting, LLC specializing in Board governance, fundraising, as well as communications, planning and program evaluation projects.

What prompted you to delve into the development/fundraising field?

I caught the desire for community improvement from my mother. As a child, she took me along on her volunteer jobs, including reading at the library and staffing the junior league store.  That showed me we can all have the power to change the world.

What do you like most about your job?

I love my work so much!  First of all, I meet lots of interesting and inspiring people who want to improve our community.   Also, I encounter a range of needs and solutions in our community, and therefore better understand the breadth of requests our volunteers, donors and prospects hear on a daily basis.  This helps me to help my clients cut through the “noise” to make a concise and compelling message.  Also, I have the flexibility with my time to volunteer for causes close to my heart, including: Professional Dimensions, a networking organization where I serve on the Board; my daughters’ school, Hawley Environmental School, where I serve on the Governance Council; and CORE/El Centro, a natural healing center that improves access to therapies for all, regardless of income, where I’m volunteering on a fundraising project; and of course, AFP!  My own volunteer experiences help shape and inform how I work with my clients’ volunteers.

Why does the development/fundraising field interest you?

Fundraising requires many of my favorite skills, including communicating, organizing and problem solving.   We have many opportunities to meet fascinating people who we might not otherwise get to know.  Also, we have many opportunities to advance our knowledge and skills.  The foundational skills I learned as a professional and member of AFP helped me to earn my CFRE accreditation as well as earn admission to the Nonprofit Management Fund’s Board Consultants Institute II, which I completed in December 2009.

What are your hobbies?

I wish I had more time to pursue hobbies!  Last weekend, I ran my second half marathon.  Two years ago, I began running. Training this spring, I realized that running is a metaphor for life. First, I needed a goal.  It took a friend’s invitation to set that goal (sounds like how we engage our donors, doesn’t it, through their peer networks?). Additionally, I needed to find the right pace in order to endure for a 13 mile run (which took me 2 hours, 4 minutes).  I attempt to live by these same practices – with purpose and a steady stride, constantly moving forward.

 If you could teach one thing to a new development/fundraising professional what would that be? 

I started my career at the Milwaukee Public Museum as an assistant to the membership and special projects directors, then was promoted to special projects director.  I had fabulous mentors there who introduced me to AFP. Then I went on to work at Children’s Hospital Foundation, followed by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and then I launched my own practice. By starting in an administrative capacity, I learned that clean, accurate data provides the most effective foundation upon which a fund development program can flourish. At these relatively large and established organizations, there were seasoned professionals who I could turn to for guidance. I also had the good fortune to see how all the elements of a fund development effort work together.

Today, through my consulting practice, many of the professionals I meet are beginning their careers in smaller, emerging organizations.  These organizations often lack systems and technology, and these new professionals wonder where to turn for advice and guidance.  I encourage all of my clients to join AFP; it’s the premier source for best practices and continuing education.  Of greater significance, the camaraderie of our fellow members provides unparalleled support.

What are your goals for AFP in the future?

These are my goals for AFP over the next two years:

  • Continue advancing the strategic plan, to provide quality services to our membership throughout Southeastern WI and engage a broad diversity of members in our work
  • Diversify the chapter’s income generating efforts in order to do this; and
  • Raise the recognition of AFP’s professionalism and expertise among and beyond the community of fundraisers.

I hope you will join in these efforts

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