Professional Fundraising Associations

Organizations that bring fundraisers together have a special opportunity – and responsibility – to support development professionals of color and reduce the sense of isolation so overwhelmingly expressed by many in the field. Many of these membership groups – the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and Women in Development (WiD) – are now focusing on DEI programming, while organizations like the African American Development Officers Network (AADO) were created to address the needs of fundraisers of color as a primary purpose. All of these voluntary bodies are poised to do more.

  • Use the convening power of these associations, combined with the desire for community exhibited by the development professionals of color in this study and elsewhere, to call attention to, and further consider, the issues illuminated in this report.
    • Commission a study to determine the size and needs of the fundraiser population in a particular geographic area – oversampling for people of color, who tend to be undercounted in studies – and determine, from its results, appropriate programming to suit the community’s needs.
    • Double down on mentoring opportunities for early-career professionals, including preparing them to grapple with issues of implicit bias and other racially-charged encounters, as well as providing robust development skill-building activities.
    • Make space for affinity groups where people of color can gather, both virtually and in person, to share, gain support and guide each other to improve their professional trajectories.
  • Leadership on these issues starts at the top within voluntary associations – commit to addressing DEI issues at the board level (e.g., through a board resolution), invest in DEI training for boards and other volunteer leadership, and create a plan to increase the number of people of color on association boards at both the national and local levels.
  • Ensure that industry associations serve as models for leadership diversification in all aspects (age, race, ethnicity, gender, ability and areas of professional specialization).

Return to the list of Recommendations


  • NYCT
  • JP Morgan
    JP Morgan
  • NYC 276
    NYC 276
  • Altman
  • Kramer Levin
  • Robinhood
  • William Casper Graustein
    William Casper Graustein
  • The New York Women's Foundation

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