Letter from the President

The Friday Forum – A Network Reinvention

The Friday Forum (TFF) has been a part of Boston’s nonprofit landscape for 28 years. Now, in 2020, we are seeking to transform our organization in important ways, starting with a renewed commitment to the principles of Inclusion, Equity, Diversity and Access (IDEA). We cannot say that we are making meaningful changes to TFF, one of New England’s most long-lived, independent networking groups for senior development professionals, without recognizing the pivotal role that IDEA must play now and in the future. Without this commitment, all other changes would be made meaningless, so it is with this dedication at our core, that we advance to remake our organization.

Senior advancement professionals throughout New England have long counted on us to provide compelling, enriching content and a robust network of colleagues, thought-partners and friends. These two elements, content and network, are the pillars of our mission.

Last year—even before COVID-19 struck—we began to explore the question of how best to deliver content and support a strong network in the 2020s. It had become clear to our board of directors, members and colleagues that the original model of in-person Friday afternoon events—no matter how engaging and meaningful the conversation—was starting to lose its vibrancy. Thus, we began a process of assessment, evaluation and planning to determine our path forward. That work continues: despite the fact that the pandemic forced us to suspend programming for a period, we are determined to reshape the Forum into an even more effective and content-rich networking platform. During these early talks about the future of The Friday Forum, our organization also recognized that we must make a commitment to diversity. Recent events in the United States and across the globe have underscored the importance of this goal. In order to make real change within our organization, we must build, nurture and support a network that attracts, values and retains development professionals of color, from our board of directors to our membership and beyond.

As an initial step toward a new model, The Friday Forum will return in the fall with an exciting slate of remote programming. It will certainly include thought-provoking guest speakers. But it will also offer new opportunities for each of us to learn from one another and to be a part of TFF network. For example, we will enable advancement colleagues to suggest and lead conversations around topics of interest to us all. While this will create a mechanism for colleagues to share their expertise and perspectives on an array of fundamental subjects—from events to prospect identification to principal gift cultivation—we also want to use this as a vehicle for having practical, serious, sometimes even difficult conversations about the most effective ways to achieve our IDEA goals.

I hope you will continue to be a part of The Friday Forum, as we continue to help each other, and, by doing so, support the nonprofit sector, which is now, in this time of human need and social change, more important than ever.

Sharon J. Stanczak, President,

The Friday Forum


The Board of Directors of the Friday Forum is hard at work this summer to schedule and produce virtual events that will continue our tradition of providing thought leadership to veteran advancement officers and volunteers.

Your patience and loyalty to the Friday Forum is appreciated, and we look forward to offering valuable programming beginning in the Fall.

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Friday Forum membership is open to fund raising professionals with ten or more years of experience or professionals who have and are currently supervising two or more people for at least two years within a fund raising operation.

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About the Friday Forum

Originally established as a speaker’s bureau, The Friday Forum has evolved into an opportunity for senior development professionals, consultants and non-profit board members to connect with thought leaders from many disciplines.

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