August 2014



The VAFRE e-news 



From the President                                

Dear VAFRE Members,

The summer is almost over and it’s almost the start of a new year – a new school year for children and a new year of programs and meetings for VAFRE.   As summer winds down, some of you may be taking your vacation and others may be doing back to school shopping.  Not to mention gearing up at work for fall fundraising events, grants, major gift asks, etc.

During August, there are two VAFRE-related items I would like to ask you to put on your busy to-do list:

1.    If you haven’t done so yet, please answer and return the VAFRE member survey.  The deadline is August 22.  We need and want to hear your thoughts and opinions.  The Board really does look at the results and takes them into consideration as we plan the year.  Please click here to participate in the survey if you have not already.

2.    If you are new to fund development or would like to enhance your professional skill sets, then I encourage you to sign up for the Professional Partnership Program (P3), which offers VAFRE members the opportunity to meet in small groups (the Partners) with two highly experienced facilitators (the Leaders).  The application is not onerous, the cost is very reasonable ($50), and the deadline is August 31!  Or if you know someone you think would benefit from P3, please encourage them to apply.  Complete details and the application can be found here.


Enjoy the rest of your summer and I will see you in September!                               

Susan Early

Member Q&A:

James Wasilewski, Director of Annual Giving, Associate Director of Development Operations, VCU Massey Cancer Center  


Q: What is one skill you rely on to be successful in your fundraising role? 

My (perceived) understanding and use of the art and science of fundraising.

SCIENCE: I’ve been told I am an analytical person who likes numbers. So I have an accounting degree and an M.B.A. – I still don’t like them. I LOVE them – because numbers tell a story. How and when a donor gives; who and how many follow those trends; identifying issues or inefficiences and either elminating them or making them efficient; finding the wheel that works best and tweaking it; creating a brand new wheel; developing strategy

ART: So I’ve also been told I’m a comedian. Well, I am. I’ve been performing and teaching (on and off stage) improvisation for nearly 16 years. The developed skill sets and values I’ve learned, experienced and adopted are a vital part of me personally and professionally on many levels. Improv has helped me understand the importance of relationships, knowing how to guide the scene (donor) down a desired path, developing a sense of timing, spotaneously adapting to the unexpected, considering the WANT from both sides and recognizing when to happily concede and proceed, realizing your idea isn’t always the best and learning from failure. Sounds like the world of fundraising, doesn’t it?

Q: How has VAFRE contributed to your success?


I have been introduced to several topics of personal and professional interest and some that are not (but are pretty darn cool to hear about at the sessions and understand how those skills or affect my role). I have also had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people who do what I do or who have been doing what I do for a long time – a great group of helpful, professional and friendly people. 

Q: In 140 characters or fewer, what is your advice to others in development?

Know that you are awesome.BUT, your job is to also help others around you – be it other staff, team members, volunteers, donors, board members, etc. – realize their awesome-ness and how appreciated they are. With a reciprocated effort, everyone rises to the top to feels great at the same time.                              

Q: What would other VAFRE members be surprised to know about you?

Other than the improv thing? I have two children under the age of 3. I am a soccer referee – off and on.                                




Want to keep up to date with everything VAFRE is doing? Do you have something you'd like to share with the VAFRE community?

Then make sure you like us on Facebook! It is an easy click away.

Go check us out and see pictures from past events, stay up to date on upcoming events and maybe pick up an interesting thought or two. 


Members Only

Upcoming Programs

Our upcoming program on Tuesday, September 9 is Nonprofit Mergers: Good or Bad for Fund Development? with Katherine Whitney, Director at Warren Whitney; Karen Stanley, Executive Director of CARTIAS; and Nancy Bruni, Chief Development Officer of CARITAS. 


When agencies consider a merger - or a partnership - an important question is the impact on future fund development efforts. Will the combination of organizations create a compelling vision or story that will attract new donors? Will current donors use this as a reason to reduce contributions? Will there be confusion? Come out for lunch and an interesting insight about this topic. Click here for complete details or to register.  


P3 Update

VAFRE’s P3 (Professional Partnership Program) is in its second year, and we’re looking for participants who are interested in learning, networking, and growing.  After our initial year of P3 including 12 participants and 4 leaders, P3 is ready to make something successful even better! 


So, get with the program this year and join us for an excellent opportunity. Applications are due by Sunday, August 31st. For more information, including the program application, click here.


Season Pass Still Available!                   

Members, don't miss this opportunity to save on your registration fees for the coming year!

A Season Pass will allow you to prepay for all currently scheduled meetings between September and June, including the Workshop in February and the Annual Awards Luncheon in April. At just $220, it's like getting your registration to the Awards Luncheon for free!      


Welcome New Members

  • Diane Carpenter, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls
  • Laila Chatelain, World Pediatric Project
  • Mickey Dowdy, University of Maryland, Baltimore
  • Kimberly Lammi, Homeward        
  • Scott Lyons, Living Legacies
  • Amanda Surgner, Collegiate
  • Priscilla Wiggin, VCU Massey Cancer Center
  • Elizabeth Wong, Access Now 

Log in to the Member Directory for new member contact information. 



VAFRE offers many opportunities to promote your organization to our members, at our meetings, on our website and via our 850+ e-newsletter distribution list.  Learn more about the available opportunities here. Ready to sign up? Click here for  the sponsor form.. 

Questions?  Please contact David Thomason (804.467.6007), or Jennifer Gentry (804.819.4961).



VAFRE Annual Sponsors!

We are pleased to recognize Allegra Print & Imaging, E.L. Freeman, LLC, the Institute on Philanthropy, Keiter and Wilkes Consulting as our Annual Sponsors.

Their support will help VAFRE continue to provide meaningful educational opportunities, as well as scholarship support for our members and guests.




VAFRE Mission

VAFRE is an inclusive membership organization devoted to providing educational programming, networking opportunities, and recognition for the nonprofit development professional.

© 2017 Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives (VAFRE). All rights reserved.

VAFRE • P.O. Box 6605 • Richmond, VA 23230
Office/Fax (804) 368-3398

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