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Association of Fundraising Professionals Records

Identifier: MSS041

Scope and Contents

The NSFRE Records are divided into four series: Board of Directors, Programs, Publications, and NSFRE Foundation. As a part of the NSFRE Microfilming Project, the records for the period 1960-1991 were microfilmed at the Indiana Historical Society Preservation Microfilming Lab in Indianapolis, Indiana. The microfilm records are integrated into the paper records in the series listing. Detailed inventories of the film rolls are at the beginning of each roll. Microfilm reels have been renumbered and inventory numbers on the film may not correspond with the number on the box. Please check at the reference desk for assistance.

Board of Directors Records, 1961-1999, contain minutes, correspondence, reports, committee records, handbooks, by-laws, Division minutes and reports, and National Assembly records. The records of the Board meetings consist mainly of minutes until the late 1970s when reports and budgetary documents began to be filed with the minutes. Beginning with the November 1985 Board meetings, the packets sent to board members in preparation for the meetings are included with the minutes. Packets typically include an agenda, minutes of the previous meeting, budget and financial documents, reports to the Board from committees and divisions, and lists of board members with their committee or division assignments. More recent Board packets now include Division and Foundation minutes.

The different governing bodies within the Board are also included in this series separate from the Board minutes. These include the Ethics and Executive Committees, Divisions, and the National Assembly. The two committee's records include minutes, meeting packets similar to the Board of Directors packets, and minimal correspondence. Each Division's records consist of meeting minutes, Committee meetings, and reports since 1980. Additional Division records are found in the Board packets since 1985. National Assembly materials include meeting minutes and agendas.

The largest section in the Board Records is the Binders. These are microfilmed records from two binders of Board information compiled between 1961 and 1969. This is some of the earliest information available about the early organization and its activities. They are filmed the way they were placed in the folders and not listed in a specific order. The records found in these binders include committee records, membership rosters, financial documents, and newsletters from local chapters. The main portion of this group is the Annual Conference records, 1963-1966. Within these records are programs, copies of speeches, attendance rosters, lists of participants, reports of presentations and discussions, and a transcript of the 1964 conference.

Program Records, 1970-1995, consist of awards, applications, brochures, correspondence, conference programs, and press releases. This series includes award winner books for two of the organization's award programs and the files of the certification program sponsored by the NSFRE. The major portion of these records, however, deals with the Annual Conference. This conference is called by two names: the Annual Conference in 1970 and the International Fund Raising Conference after 1978. The records of the NSFRE's annual conferences are arranged by year and include both printed programs and records of the planning and evaluation process. Records included in the microfilm are printed programs and advertisements, minutes of the conference planning committee meetings, correspondence, budget and attendance records, scripts for the plenary sessions, and staff evaluations. For more information about the earliest Annual Conferences, the Binders files in the Board of Directors records should be consulted.

Publication Records, 1962-1995, contain newsletters, journals, annual reports, membership directories, and brochures. The journal for the NSFRE has gone under four different names: NSFR Journal (1976-1977), NSFRE Journal (1978-1987), The Journal (1988-1993), and Advancing Philanthropy (1993 to present). The newsletter for the organization has also undergone a series of name changes: NSFR Newsletter (1962-1978), NSFRE Newsletter (1978-1981), and NSFRE News (1981-present). In addition to these two major publications, the NSFRE has issued F.Y.I., a brief newsletter of news, events, and legislation and Legislative Alerts, a newsletter focusing on legislative indicatives that effect non-profit organizations.

NSFRE Foundation Records, 1978-1994, consist of minutes, correspondence, Sightlines, brochures, awards, and committee records. First called the National Institute of Continuing Education, Inc. (NICE) when it was formed in 1973, the foundation's purpose was to serve as the non-profit branch of the foundation. The largest portion of these records consists of Board minutes with attachments of committee minutes and reports, important correspondence, and financial information. Some early records of the foundation are found in the Board Binders in the Board of Directors Records. In 1978, the foundation changed its name to the NSFRE Institute, and later, in 1986, it again changed its name to the NSFRE Foundation. Sightlines was the newsletter for the NSFRE Foundation until it was discontinued in 1987.


  • 1960 - 1999


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical / Historical

The National Society of Fund Raisers (NSFR) was formed in June 1960. It was renamed the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE) and in 2001, renamed the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Organized by Benjamin Sklar of Brandeis University, William Simms of the National Urban League, and Harry Rosen of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the NSFR emerged as a national organization to represent the fund raising profession. The NSFR functioned with a president and a Board of Directors until 1977 when a paid presidency was established. The office of Chairman of the Board was created for the volunteer leader of the NSFRE. The Board of Directors functioned as the main governing body of the organization until the late 1970s when representatives of local chapters were added to the board's membership. During this time Board membership expanded to around 200 members and the Executive Committee, limited to the officers of the organization and representatives from the Board, assumed a greater leadership and development role. In 1983, changes were made in the bylaws limiting the number of board members to 125.

The NSFRE has several different levels of leadership beginning at the chapter and regional levels. The National Assembly is a meeting of representatives of the chapters and regions on a national level. Members of the National Assembly make recommendations to the Board of Directors. In the late 1970s the NSFRE created separate Divisions within the organization that focused on specific problems and issues concerning the fund raising profession. These Divisions were responsible for studying the issues and preparing proposals for action to the Board of Directors. The four Divisions are: External Affairs, Governance, Member Services, and Professional Advancement. Each is driven by committees and meets during the Board of Directors meetings. The scope of each Division's responsibilities is indicated by its committees and task forces. The External Affairs Division has included the Awards, Public Relations, Legislative Affairs, International Relations, and Professional Relations Committees. The Governance Division has included the Audit, Future Income, Investment, Long Range Planning, and Professional Standards and Ethics Committees. The Member Services Division has included the Chapter and Member Services, Editorial Review, Career Counseling Services, and Expansion of the Society Committees, and the Minority Task Force. The Professional Advancement Division has included the Formal Education, Continuing Education, Certification, and Long Range Planning Committees.

Major activities of the NSFRE include an annual conference and a variety of publications. The conference is its principle business and educational meeting of the year. The organization first began holding an annual conference in 1961. Sometime during the period 1970-1978, the organization renamed its conference the International Fund Raising Conference. Conference attendance quadrupled during the decade of the 1980s as the NSFRE's membership increased.

The NSFRE has two major publications: a newsletter and a journal. The newsletter is an internal document informing the organization's members of its news and activities of the society. It was first issued in Spring 1962 as the NSFR Newsletter. The newsletter, meant to be published quarterly, often came out less frequently during its first decade. In 1974, the newsletter began to be published monthly and in 1988 bi-monthly. A year later, the newsletter was increased to eight times a year. The newsletter's name was changed several times to reflect changes in the organization. In 1978, it became the National Society of Fund Raising Executives Newsletter and in 1981, it was changed to the NSFRE News. The NSFRE's journal was first published in 1976 and called the NSFR Journal. The journal includes articles related to issues within the general field of fund raising. During the first three years of publication, the journal was only published once a year. By 1979, however, the journal was being published twice a year and continued in that manner until 1987 when three issues were published. Since 1989, the journal has been published quarterly. The journal also underwent a series of name changes. In 1978, the name was changed to the NSFRE Journal, in 1988, to The Journal: Contemporary Issues in Fund Raising, and in 1993, Advancing Philanthropy. In addition to these two major publications, the NSFRE has issued two other publications: F.Y.I.: Monthly Communique from the National Society of Fund Raisers, Inc., published during 1973-1974 with much the same types of articles as the regular newsletter, and ESS Employment Opportunities, issued beginning in 1985 by the NSFRE Executive Search Service with position announcements and articles related to employment.

The NSFRE Foundation was formed in 1973 and called the National Institute of Continuing Education, Inc. (NICE). Its function was to serve as the non-profit branch of the NSFR. In 1978, it became the NSFRE Institute and in 1986, the NSFRE Foundation. The foundation has sponsored educational programs, workshops, lectures, publications, and awards. Sightlines, the foundation's newsletter, was first issued in 1981. Each issue was devoted to a paper by a leader in the profession. The newsletter was discontinued in 1987 and similar articles were continued in the journal.


1.5 Cubic Feet (1 record carton and 2 document cases)

14 Reels (Microfilm)


The National Society of Fund Raisers was organized in New York City in 1960 to serve as the professional association for fund raisers in America. The organization changed its name to the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (NSFRE) in the mid-1970s, and at about the same time hired its first executive director. In 1993 NSFRE had 15,903 individual members in 131 chapters, and maintained a national office in Alexandria, Virginia. Its name was again changed January 1, 2001, to the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Since its beginnings, the NSFRE has worked to promote professional and ethical standards through annual conferences, seminars, and publications. In the late 1970s, it instituted a program of certification for fund raising executives, and it has been active in supporting research and publicity on the role of philanthropy in American life.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, March 1991-1996. A91-60, A92-22, A93-65, A94-25, A94-47, A94-101, A95-33, A96-41.


  • Howard, Herbert. History - National Society of Fund Raising Executives, 1960-1985. Alexandria: National Society of Fund Raising Executives, 1985. (University Library call number: HV 41.2 .N37 1985)
  • Crabbs, Raymond. Interview by Naomi Lichtenberg, 12 September 1990. American Foundations Oral History Project, Indiana University Oral History Research Center, Bloomington, IN. (University Library call number: HV 97.A3 C733 1991)


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Association of Fundraising Professionals Records, 1960-1999
Processed by Debra Brookhart.
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Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA