Meet Jeff Redfield, who started his AFP journey 18 years ago and recently marked a milestone by completing his CFRE. If you want some inside tips on that process, scroll to the bottom first! But between here and there, learn more about Jeff and what makes him tick.
Jeff Redfield, CFRE
Major Gift Officer
American Red Cross – Ohio Buckeye Region
Q: Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?
A: The Ohio Buckeye Region of the American Red Cross covers 45 counties from northwest, to central to southeast Ohio and it’s over 4 million residents by providing prevention and alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies.
Q: How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?
A: I first joined in 1999 when it was still called NSFRE (National Society of Fund Raising Executives which changed to AFP in 2000). The Gill Foundation took 40 LGB leaders (T and Q came later) to the international conference.
I was only able to attend a few educational programs locally, though I did get to attend the international conference a couple of times. My real involvement came when I started serving on a committee and in 2010 when I was asked to chair Legislative Affairs, which we changed to Public Policy, which I did for 2 years and that’s also when I first joined the board. It was at AFP International conference in Baltimore in 2010 that I got hooked, connecting with my fellow central Ohio delegates and became buddies with Suzie Childs. I was on the board and leading and serving several committee ever since. This year I am VP of Education and on the executive committee for the first time.
Q: What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?
A: It is really hard to say one part as the importance changes along with the emerging need. I find the most consistent part of AFP which I find always valuable are the friendships. It’s more than just networking, though that’s a huge part of it. We are lucky to have such a meaningful profession though sometimes the demands and challenges can be great. The friendships I have developed through AFP are like no others. Laughter is the best glue. I truly value my AFP-peeps because of the shared experiences (we’ve all be there), the shared efforts (again committee tasks and service), and the shared compassion that comes from these truly giving people who have dedicated themselves to doing good.
Q: How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?
A: Since 1992, I had served on many GLBT local and national sports organizations, which coordinated leagues and tournaments so I had gained experience with volunteers and sponsorships. In 1998, I was hired as executive director of Stonewall Columbus. It was a growing and challenging time – I started just 7 months before Matthew Shepard’s murder. Our vision required increased resources to achieve our goals – so with a small staff it was where I focused a majority of my time. When I left Stonewall in 2002, I knew fundraising is what I enjoyed the most and wanted to devote my time toward doing going forward.
Q: What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite restaurant?
A: I’m a social sports junky. Long after many of my friends from the ‘90s and 2000s have “retired.” I still – or, when my body allows it – play in four LGBT sports leagues (volleyball, bowling, tennis and softball). Columbus has been a great LGBTQ sports city for over 25 years and very few, if any, cities anywhere in the US have so many or the year-round options we do.
When it comes to restaurants, I’m adventurous and like a lot of places and my absolute favorite is German Village Coffee Shop.
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
A: As a freshman at Western Michigan, I sang in Gold Company II, a vocal jazz ensemble and the II was like JV. In February 1985, during our big annual performance, we got to sing with a visiting celebrity and it went well. Then partway through another number I looked over and he was suddenly sharing the microphone with me- my mic, right next to me! He just happened to know the song and wanted to join in. It was just months before he won two Grammy awards (of his 10) and three years before “Don’t Worry Be Happy” made Bobby McFerrin a household name.
I’d thought for years about getting my CFRE accreditation and even took the review course in 2011. I hadn’t made it a priority and seemed like something always got in the way (personal and/or work demands, time to complete the application and enter it all, finances to apply/pay for the test, time to study – it was over 20 years since I’d taken an exam). It became important to me because I feel it reflects knowledge, experience and a dedication to a profession to which I’m committed. Yes, it’s a feeling of pride, sense of accomplishment, and relief at the same time.
While others can jump right in, I found it all a bit daunting.
So I broke it down into goals to:
- Complete the application, by 6/30 last year (check)
- Apply for an AFP scholarship reimbursing half the fee (check)
- Talk to friends and others in AFP who have taken it, get advice, get study materials and try to set p a study group (check, almost all/no group, more likely around CFRE review course)
- Submit final application – due dates determine test dates – and 1 year to take the test (check)
- You can pay $35 to change the 2-month test window
- Set time block when I could dedicate study/review time leading up to it, like cold winter weekends (check)
- Schedule it 3 to 4 weeks ahead – this was pretty easy, many local test center options, almost any day – then review and get it down (check!)
Posted May 2017