Defining a Profession
In the early 1980s, I joined the National Society of Fundraising Executives (NSFRE), now called the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). I was the new chief development officer at Trinity Repertory Company in Rhode Island, one of the nation’s top 10 regional theaters.
From the beginning, NSFRE told me that fundraising was a profession—and that a profession included these four elements: documented body of knowledge, continuing education, code of ethics, and some form of certification. I embraced that wholeheartedly.
Turn to Wikipedia7 and you’ll see this definition: A profession arises when any trade or occupation transforms itself through “the development of formal qualifications based upon education, apprenticeship, and examinations, the emergence of regulatory bodies with powers to admit and discipline members, and some degree of monopoly rights.”8
Oops. That monopoly thing isn’t so great. You know how governments feel about price controls and monopolies. I don’t like them, either, actually. Bet you don’t, either.
Wikipedia had an interesting list of “main milestones” to mark the evolution from occupation to profession. These milestones include: becoming a full-time job, establishing a training school, establishing academic education at universities, establishing local and national associations, introducing codes of professional ethics, and establishing licensing laws.
Another oops. Many of us professionals do not think that government should ...