Happy National Philanthropy Day!
An initiative of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) that is celebrated by more than 50,000 people in over 100 communities across North America and around the world, National Philanthropy Day is about honoring generosity in all its forms. We at Blackbaud are proud of our longtime partnership with AFP, which strives “to stimulate a world of generosity and positive social good through fundraising best practice,” and we are proud to stand alongside donors and nonprofits alike as people gather to recognize excellence in their own communities.
Most often, National Philanthropy Day takes the form of an event, with a focus on giving awards to different categories of donors, or as an educational conference for fundraisers. In my hometown of Charleston, SC, where Blackbaud is headquartered, the SC Lowcountry chapter of AFP has a tradition of breaking bread at lunchtime and honoring an outstanding individual philanthropist, a corporate philanthropist and a community agency. Although the honors vary from year to year, one thing is constant: the commitment to cause and the passion to serve. I will never forget the day when I sat in the audience and watched our then CEO accept the corporate honor on behalf of Blackbaud’s employees. Founded by a philanthropist who also received the individual honor alongside his family many years ago, Blackbaud is wired around giving. We don’t give to be recognized, but it was a special moment to see our leader pause and take in the emotion of that honor.
Like so many other happy occasions this year, National Philanthropy Day will be virtual. We will gather via Zoom from our own homes to keep alive the connectedness that we seek and value so much. The best part of National Philanthropy Day, for me, is the pre-event, the moment when guests begin to gather in the lobby and mill about. It’s the moment when we see others across the room whom we haven’t run into recently. It’s a time when we wave, hug and catch up, then turn to the person standing close by who is new to the area, a first-timer to our special gathering. It’s a time to welcome others and to celebrate what we can do when we work together.
Today, I will open my laptop and watch the videos and do my best to feel that connectedness to the people I am missing. And as I watch the recording that I made last week, welcoming everyone to the event, I will reflect on how thankful I am to be a part of this generous community—one of many generous communities. And I will be thankful for the donors and their incredible generosity to the causes they care about; for the nonprofit leaders who have brought so much courage to their jobs this past year; and for the fundraisers, for their diligence and heart, always working to weave connections and make our community fabric stronger.
Whether you, like me, will join a virtual event to mark the day today, or opt for some other form of celebration, I hope you’ll take a moment to toast the people in your lives who always give, those who always serve, and those who seek to connect us and make us stronger.