Shannon Wong, President, AFP Advancement Northwest

Happy New Year and welcome to 2022! After another year of uncertainty, challenges, and unpredictability in the nonprofit field and beyond, I am so excited to be here to take a collective deep breath with you all. Phew, we made it through another year.

Let’s not pretend. These past few years have been difficult. We are reminded every day the disproportionate effect the pandemic has on communities of color, on vulnerable populations, on those served by the nonprofit industry.

But each day, we also have reminders about why we chose this field in the first place. The big and little successes, the smiles when someone receives good news, the way it feels when you know you have made a difference.

Despite this, nonprofit work and fundraising in general is still hard. How do we face the realities created by the pandemic, by colonialism, by systemic racism, and still wake up every day inspired not only to show up to work, but to inspire others to care about the work too?

There are a lot of answers to this question. And if you are still recovering from one too many family holiday events, an endless pile of emails, or that one end of the year appeal that almost cause you to lose it, let me remind you of a couple answers:

We do this work because it matters, and it makes an impact in our community.


We do this work because we have the power to make this field less racist, more inclusive, and more representative of the populations served by the nonprofit industry.


We do this work because the collective power we have in this community can make a lasting impact for generations to come.

Too many nonprofit professionals have had the ‘final straw’ moment. But luckily for the nonprofit field, you are still here, reading this message.

I hope that part of why you are still here is because of the amazing community of professionals who make up this field. People who understand what it is like to have their own ‘final straw moment.’ Who reminded you when you experienced your lowest lows, that the highest highs in this field can mean changing an industry, reshaping the way someone thinks, even saving someone’s life.

I am still here because after every tearful moment, a member of this community sat across a table from me with a cup of coffee and an understanding ear. Because every time I didn’t meet a goal, someone here reminded me of what went right. Nonprofit work is hard. But for every time I have considered leaving this field, I was reminded by someone in our community that by choosing to stay, I have the power and ability to make a difference for those who need it.

I am still here, because I want to remind you that this is what our community is here for. Our field has never been perfect. And at times, our field has been problematic. But it has always been a field filled with a community of individuals who are intelligent, resourceful, and creative. It is filled with people who want you to find your place in it, and want you to have the support that you need, so that you can make the impact that you want to make — in this community, on this planet, and for generations to come.

This new year, I am optimistic of all that we will accomplish together because of the community that makes up Advancement Northwest and the field of fundraising. I believe we are in a truly pivotal point in the nonprofit industry, and I hope you will join me and the rest of the Advancement Northwest community in improving our field for the better, using our collective power to make a positive impact, and shaping our community and sector for generations to come.

I am inspired to work in an industry filled with people who have the capacity to care, the desire to affect change, and the ability to make a difference. I look forward to seeing what difference we make together in 2022 and beyond.