AFP Reorganizing, Outsourcing Several Operations

Note: This story has been updated to include more recent 990 information.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has cut roughly one-quarter of its staff, 10 positions, in a reorganization aimed to streamline operations and improve member services.

AFP, headquartered in Arlington, Va., employed 41 full and part-time employees in the U.S. and Mexico coming into May 19. By day’s end seven staff members were released from the association, two from AFP’s foundation and one from its Mexico office, according to Morgan Roth, vice president of strategic communications. Cuts were concentrated around those handling data input and transactional activities.

The changes came following a nine-month process during which AFP evaluated its brand, brand equity and the relevance of its mission in today’s climate. Responses from key stakeholders including donors, volunteers, members and lapsed members depicted AFP as too big, too slow and too gray to pivot with the changes in the field.

“The consistency struck us,” Roth said of the feedback. “We had to make some changes.”

Roth estimated that hundreds of thousands of dollars would be saved by the staff reduction, declining to give a hard figure due to the fluidity of expenses such as benefits. Those dollars will be divided into pure savings for the organization and reinvestment. Reinvestment, according to Roth, will be focused on AFP’s four pillars: the ability to jump on and create opportunities, education, inclusion and influence, and policy and advocacy.

AFP reported revenue of just under $11 million in its most recent available Form 990, which is for 2014. The total included $9.2 million through program revenue, comprised, in large part, of membership dues, $5.8 million, and AFP’s annual international conference, $2.1 million. The shakeup is not anticipated to have any impact on the conference, according to Roth.

Key changes include the consolidation of foundation executive vice president, vice president of development and director of business development into the role of vice president of strategic relationships. Lee Anne Pirrello, formerly the business development director, will take on the role, Roth said.

The Center for Fundraising Innovation will narrow its focus on product innovation. Education and training will remain under the department, with an active role being taken by existing contract employees. Rhonda Starr, vice president-education and training; Reed Stockman, Internet and program associate; and, Susie Patch, exposition support for AFP’s international conference and meetings were among those leaving, according to an internal AFP communication.

Transactional functions and member services will be outsourced, a changeover that will take a minimum of 90 days to implement. Calls will be accepted 24/7 as opposed to the current limitations of east-coast business hours, according to Roth, and will be multilingual – a reflection of AFP’s desire to become more multinational.

“Looking out five-to-10 years from now, what will fundraisers need? What will they be talking about,” Roth said. “We need to get ahead of that if we’re going to still be relevant in the distant future, and the near future for that matter.”