Beth Markley has been a member of AFP Idaho Chapter for 21 years. We wanted to take a moment to highlight her and her career.
Tell us a little about yourself!
- I'm a mom of two boys (19 and 16), a third generation Idahoan, and a nonprofit consultant specializing in major gift fundraising and capital campaigns. I blog about parenting, running, travel and other nonsense at MidlifeSentence.com. My husband and I are serial host parents of foreign exchange students (we've hosted nine so far).
What motivated you to become a fundraising professional?
- I became a fundraiser on accident, when I realized I could write a fair request letter or grant, and enjoyed producing fundraising events, and that someone would pay me for these activities. I began pursuing continuing education in fundraising and earned my CFRE in 2001. I have long enjoyed the fact that the skill set I possess allows me to work for a variety of causes that benefit my community. I'm never bored by my job!
How do you see the role of philanthropy impacting our community?
- Everywhere I go I see projects and experience programs I know are the result of generous people getting involved to make the common good that much better. From recreation to education to arts and the environment, our community is full of examples of what can happen when people take action, putting their words, deeds, and personal resources behind their passions.
Do you have any advice for someone new to the fundraising profession?
- There are best practices in fundraising that don't change from year to year, regardless of whatever new and innovative methods come along. Remember: ours is a relationship-building, rather than a tools-oriented business. Read everything you can and do your homework. Find a trustworthy and experienced mentors to guide you in your career. Network with your peers. Maintain your reputation as an ethical fundraiser above all else.
What benefit do you enjoy most about your AFP membership?
- AFP provided a network and opportunities for education for me back when there weren't a lot of options for learning about fundraising. I continue to appreciate the ethical framework and educational resources AFP provides.
What's your favorite donor story?
- Recently I was working with a volunteer fundraiser who was making his first ask of a prospective donor. We talked about what kind of clues we had about the prospect's capacity, motivation, and passions and formed a plan for what to propose and how to frame up the conversation.
Ultimately, the volunteer (who had previously expressed extreme reluctance for making any kind of ask), said "I know this is the right ask to make because this approach makes me tear up a little."
It's so gratifying when a volunteer overcomes their fear of asking and realizes what an honor it can be to make the right approach to someone whose opinion and respect mean a lot to them. In the end, the prospect decided to give a gift that was twice the amount of our proposal.