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Ops & Asks

The Musings Of A Houston Fundraiser

  • Writer's pictureJuliana M. Weissbein CFRE

2021 Year In Review: The Year of Growth and Change

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

A terribly self-indulgent look back on my game-changing year.

Can you believe 'Ops & Asks' turned two this year? In the midst of a global pandemic, I have, with the support of my community, drafted twenty-seven blog posts, relocated out of New York City, curated a mentorship program and advanced my career in ways I would have never dreamed possible. I am humbled by the last twelve months specifically and I'd like to share some highlights with you now. (Check out my 2019 review here and my 2020 review here too!).


AFP-NYC Mentorship Program Launch

After a year of behind-the-scenes work, the AFP-NYC mentorship program launched with a stellar group of participants. It was a pleasure to facilitate the growth of our cohort through establishing connections that strengthen our sector by educating development professionals and nonprofit leaders in best practices in fundraising and applying the high standards of the AFP Code of Ethics. I'd also like to thank our mentors and mentees for drafting Fundraising Matters articles. Check out their content here.

Served as a Track Chair at PhilanthroCon

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, then you know one thing. I love Fundraising Day In New York (FRDNY). Pre-pandemic, AFP-NYC would host its signature event drawing roughly 2,000 people with over 70 exhibitors. The nation’s largest one-day conference on philanthropy and the only one of its kind, Fundraising Day was an event not to be missed. Then in 2020, when the pandemic hit us like a ton of bricks, we had to shift gears and reimagine the ways we could get information out to our members.

In 2021, the horizon had not changed. Events were still virtual and work from home orders were still issued. While we remain hopeful for a brighter 2022, we had to rebrand FRDNY into PhilanthroCon, a two-day opportunity for fundraising professionals to connect virtually with experts from across multiple fundraising disciplines, including direct response, major gifts, planned giving, marketing, and more. Still an event not to be missed if you ask me! Check out the content I curated here!

Published in Advancing Philanthropy

When Robin Merle asks you to collaborate on something, you do it. She was so generous to ask me to co-author an article with her to demonstrate how women who have left the workforce, whether involuntarily or by choice, can come back stronger than ever before. Using her knowledge attained through researching for Involuntary Exit: A Woman's Guide to Thriving After Being Fired, and my knowledge through my work with the mentorship program, we drafted an article for the October issue of Advancing Philanthropy titled, Office Culture and Well-Being: What Now? Tactical Action to Take After The Pandemic Steals Your Job. I had a blast, Robin! Thanks for including me!

Joining the AFP Global Board of Directors

I had been waiting to share the news for a long time. Six years long. I've been a dedicated supporter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) for years. After joining in 2015 as a general member of the NYC Chapter, I was excited to soak up all I could learn from their activities. I attended workshops, made lifelong friends at networking events, and had a blast at their conferences. In 2017, I joined their Emerging Leaders Committee and then was asked to serve as the committee chair in 2018. I could not have been more excited. After chairing this committee, I was then elected to serve on the AFP-NYC board and began to chair their Mentorship Committee. All along the way I was writing articles for their magazine, Advancing Philanthropy, serving on their Women's Impact Initiative, and was humbled to accept the Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser award at the AFP International Conference in 2019. AFP has impacted my career greatly and I could not be more proud to have served the sector through these efforts.

Flash forward six years and I am thrilled to report that, beginning in 2022, I will be serving a two-year term on the AFP Global Board and just returned from a three-day planning retreat. I am proud to begin these duties in the name of empowering individuals and organizations to practice ethical fundraising through professional education, networking, research and advocacy. This goes to show you, never give up on your passions. The fruits are in the labor. Thank you, AFP!

Served on the AFP Global Women's Impact Initiative

One of the activities I most enjoy is serving on the Women's Impact Initiative, AFP's global committee focused on research, education, raising awareness, and developing women into leaders.

Focusing on issues such as sexual harassment, women in leadership, pay equity and more, I always enjoyed my time meeting with a group of individuals committed to the bettering of our sector.

One highlight this year specifically was my frank discussion with the Women's Impact Initiative's inaugural and current chair about the importance of bringing feminist ideals to work. Check it out here!

Joined AFP Global IT Task Force

In late 2021 I volunteered to participate in an exciting new project that will impact all of our AFP Chapters moving forward. As you may know, AFP is embarking on a monumental project to replace its aging database with a new Salesforce-based platform, Nimble AMS. This migration will support and help drive AFP's commitment to delivering gold-standard membership benefits and personalized services. While the task force is still in its infancy, we envision the AFP IT Task Force providing database project support and guidance for the term of the project – approximately 12-16 months beginning in mid-September – and then continuing on in an advisory form post-implementation. 2022 is already off to a good start!

Speaking At Harvard

I am so thankful to my friend and colleague, Jared Fox, for inviting me to speak to Harvard University's class, 'Power to the People: Black Power, Radical Feminism, and Gay Liberation'. I spent the evening discussing how to best position yourself for a long, happy and healthy career in social justice. It was such an inspirational crowd and I certainly learned a ton myself. Read more about it here!

And that's a wrap, folks! See you on the other side!


Juliana M. Weissbein, CFRE is a respected leader and decision influencer in regard to fundraising operations best practices. With over a decade of experience, Juliana thrives on professional growth, team success, measurable results, and inspiring fundraisers to utilize data-based strategies. Juliana currently serves as the Associate Director of Development Operations at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She is an AFP Global Board Member, AFP Global's 2019 Outstanding Young Professional Fundraiser and is a member of the AFP Global Women's Impact Initiative. Juliana is immediate past chair of the AFP New York City chapter’s Emerging Leaders Committee and currently serves on the chapter’s board chairing their mentorship program. She resides in Houston, TX and never turns down a good kombucha.


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