AFP Planned Giving Group Talking Affiliation

May 7, 2010       Mark Hrywna      

Two of the nation’s largest fundraising organizations are in discussions about an affiliate agreement.

The Arlington, Va.-based Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and Indianapolis, Ind.-based Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) are in discussions that neither side is calling a merger or acquisition. AFP has 212 chapters around the world representing 30,000 members while PPP has more than 8,000 individual and council members and 121 local councils.

An AFP spokesman said there is an approximately 6 percent overlap in memberships.

The two organizations issued a joint statement Friday (May 7) by AFP Chair Roberta Healey and President & CEO Paulette Maehara, with PPP Chair Heidi Jark and President & CEO Tanya Howe Johnson.

According to the joint statement, “The Association of Fundraising Professionals and the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning are involved in discussions aimed at developing an affiliation agreement and forming a united organization dedicated to advancing ethical fundraising and philanthropic planning practice. … An affiliation between the two would help unify the fundraising profession and strengthen the holistic approach to serving donors and the charitable missions that they support.”

It went on that the deal would “provide greater educational opportunities; increased distribution and use of best standards and ethical practices; and a stronger voice on issues related to public policy, fundraising practice, and donor service.”

AFP has an annual budget of about $11 million and a staff of 37 while PPP has 16 employees and an annual budget of about $2 million. “We’re looking at and open to all kinds of models for how the affiliation agreement might look,” said Johnson, who estimated that about at third of her members are also members of AFP.

Johnson told The NonProfit Times that PPP’s goals are to advance its mission and strategic plan and better serve its members. A strategic plan several years ago recommended a rebranding effort and seeking out collaborations and partnerships.

The rebranding effort took place last year when the National Committee on Planned Giving changed its name to the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning. The new name, which took effect Jan. 1, 2009, was meant to reflect a broader mission and constituency for the organization, which was founded in 1988.

Discussions are open ended at this point because if they are fruitful “they would lead to hammering out some affiliate agreement and business plan,” Johnson said. “We’re committed to try to move something along as quickly as possible, if that’s in the best interests of our membership,” she said.

“We’re exploring all those kinds of things. This might be a chance to create a best practices affiliation. We’re trying to be creative…and really concentrate on what is going to be the best for the sector as a whole. Both organizations have lot to offer and if we can offer those things in a better way, more effectively and efficiently, and provide bigger voice for field, it’s definitely worth exploring,” Johnson said.