AFP-MN is a proud partner of Students In Action MN and the Jefferson Awards Foundation

Sara SpiessMarit Mechels

On October 29, 2016, Marit Mechels, AFP-MN Chapter Board Member, and I led two fundraising workshops at the 2016 Students In Action – Minnesota (SIA) Fall Student Leadership Conference.  The conference was sponsored by the national Jefferson Awards Foundation and hosted at the University of Saint Thomas. This is a great partnership that began several years ago thanks to AFP-MN members’ leadership and focus on increasing community collaborations.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation’s mission is: “To power others to have maximum impact on the things they care about most.” Students In Action works with student groups from area high schools to plan, implement, and evaluate service learning/volunteer projects in the community. Students learn foundational skills that will help them to grow and develop throughout their own leadership journeys. These skills range from: writing mission statements, running meetings, goal-setting, project planning, group dynamics, needs assessments and more. Student groups that advance through the competition stages have an opportunity to represent their school at the Jefferson Awards National Ceremony in Washington D.C. at the end of the school year.

Our local Association of Fundraising Professionals – Minnesota Chapter (AFP-MN) has been partnering with the Jefferson Awards Foundation to help local student groups learn and gain experience with the skills utilized in professional fundraising. At our interactive October workshop, Marit and I presented on how to develop and build case statements, with a focus on quality storytelling. Youth gained hands-on experience developing their cases, practicing effective rhetoric, persuasive writing, public speaking and making presentations – all useful skills in the professional fundraising world.

In addition to helping set students up for success at the fall conference, AFP volunteers also give back by serving as project judges in the spring for the local round of the Jefferson Award competition. Last spring Marit served on a judges’ panel and was greatly impressed by the passion and dedication of our future community leaders!

Members of AFP-MN are proud to partner with Students In Action and the Jefferson Awards Foundation to support tomorrow’s leaders, and equip them with best practices in the art and science involved with effective, ethical fundraising and philanthropy. It was inspiring to see so many youth engaged and committed to making a positive difference in our community!

If you are interested in getting involved with AFP-MN’s partnership with Students In Action, please contact AFP Membership Chair Becky Machamer at

Sara Spiess, AFP-MN Chapter Board Member, 2016

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