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I am a big believer in professional development. That’s why I listed these organizations at the beginning of this article.

The one I know best is the Association of Fundraising Professionals. The headquarters is in Washington, D.C. and there is an annual international conference, among other educational opportunities. There are local chapters around the world, really. Texas is home to eleven AFP Chapters. These chapters are volunteer driven and offer educational programs, networking opportunities and friendships.

CASE and AHP are similar to AFP but are specific to academic and healthcare fundraising.

The marketing, event planning and data management associations are, most likely, not just for nonprofits, but that does not mean they would not be helpful as you pursue your professional development.

I love to learn. I believe there’s always room for improvement, always something new to learn, and always someone who has thought of something I have not considered. Isn’t that great!?

Belonging to a professional association can also help you expand your network of colleagues and friends. You never know when you can help someone or when you will need help. I’ve met people who I would not have met otherwise; people of different generations, different socio-economic backgrounds, different political and religious beliefs, and more.

So, take that next step toward building your career.

Find the professional association that best serves you and your needs. At the same time, remember to give back. Volunteer for the organization, join a committee. It’s another learning opportunity. Be a friend, because you never know when you will need one.