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Written by Kathy Wertheim, CFRE
Originally posted December 23, 2019

As the Vice President for Communications for the past two years, I wanted to take a moment to share what I’ve learned during this time. Some lessons:

  • Other people are willing to help if you ask! I think we, as fundraisers, forget that other people would love to help us. Too often, we assume that it’s easier to do something ourselves. Particularly with this e-newsletter and our Facebook page and Instagram, huge amounts of the content are provided by other people, whether it’s the National Philanthropy Day (NPD) team writing about honorees and sending out mailings, or the Symposium Chair writing about their event, or members stepping in to provide pictures and post to social media. Thanks to everyone who has helped with communications these past two years.
  • The AFP Board is great! I’ve been on 12 boards of directors, starting at age 16 in Santa Barbara, and the AFP board has been terrific! People are very caring and giving, and it’s a pleasurable experience. If you think you might like to serve on the board, start on a committee first. I particularly recommend the NPD and Symposium committees, as they meet frequently enough that you get to know everyone, and the tasks are interesting and varied.
  • The best kind of volunteer service is that which suits your personality. For me, chairing communications has been terrific job because I can do it on my own time. No one knows or cares if I’m working on our communications in another time zone or on an airplane. I can schedule a post on Facebook weeks in advance and make it look like I remember to post every Wednesday. 
  • Having a team has been tremendous. What you don’t see is that VISIONALITY, headed by CEO and AFP member Emily Barany, makes the newsletter look terrific. I coordinate copy, but they’re the ones who arrange it in Constant Contact and get it sent out on time. Thanks to their entire team for making it look good. Thanks to the AFP board for deciding to have back-office support to make all of our volunteer jobs easier.
  • There’s no perfection. At some point, it doesn’t matter if the newsletter is perfect or complete, it’s due. I think we as fundraisers want everything to be perfect, and it can delay us. Sometimes we just have to let things go.

It’s been very fulfilling to be in charge of communications. I’m glad, too, to be handing off this work to the next chair, Niki Richardson. I look forward to seeing how she’ll put her own imprint on communications, which includes our Facebook page and Instagram. It’s not a goodbye, as you’ll still see articles and information from me as I go on to become the Vice President for Membership.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a joyous and prosperous new year!


Kathy Wertheim, CFRE,
 is a consultant in fundraising and board development. She is a master trainer with the Association of Fundraising Professionals, one of 11 in California and 232 worldwide. She has taught fundraising and board development in 22 states, Asia and Latin America. Locally, she has consulted for the Alzheimer’s Association, Devereux, the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County, Make-A-Wish Tri Counties, The Salvation Army Southern California Division, the Santa Barbara Symphony, and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, among others. She is the current Vice President for Communications for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties chapter (to sign up for the bi-weekly newsletter, go to You can contact her at