Professional Development: You’re Worth the Investment!

career professional development

By Tammy Zonker, Fundraising Strategist & Keynote Speaker 

Remember your excitement on the first day of school?  New pencils, crayons or markers, folders and spiral-bound notebooks – all organized neatly into a spiffy new backpack.

September always brings us back to focus, after a summer filled with fun and adventure. Just as our children, grandchildren and favorite neighbor kids are back to the books, research says fundraising professionals would be wise to do the same. 

Of course, training can take many forms: 

Philanthropy researcher, Dr. Adrian Sargeant confirms, “There is a strong correlation between the range of training and educational opportunities afforded to staff and overall fundraising performance. Each additional form of training education is associated with an increase of $37,000 in income.”

“Frame discussions about professional development as investment dollars – not expenses.”

Of course, training can take many forms:

Where do you want to sharpen your fundraising skills? Which fundraising channels have the most robust growth potential for your organization? Create a professional development plan and include dollars in the budget to support the plan. Frame discussions about professional development as investment dollars – not expenses.

In addition to online training and local AFP Chapter educational offerings, below are some of my favorite national and international conferences: 

Please let me know if you’re planning to attend one of these conferences. I hope to see you virtually or in-person! And if you’re looking for a keynote speaker, let’s talk.


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