May 2015



The VAFRE e-news 



From the President 

Dear VAFRE Members -

The last five months I have held two jobs at my organization – Director of Development and Interim Executive Director.  I reluctantly agreed to the latter, but now am glad I accepted the role.

Our new Executive Director will begin on May 18.  While I eagerly await her arrival, it’s been a good time to reflect on the past five months and what I’ve learned.

  • It’s lonely.  When you are in charge, you have no staff to commiserate with on certain issues.  And you need to be careful about blurring the lines between operations and governance when talking with Board members.
  • It’s empowering.  I’ve had a few opportunities to implement changes that I thought would make us a better organization.  And so far, they have.
  • It’s stretching.  I have managed to juggle the two jobs without compromising either (I hope).  This has meant making a lot of lists and working my lists so the balls don’t drop.  Some days have been the ultimate in multi-tasking!
  • It’s teamwork.   Like everything, it is rewarding to ask for help – more minds and hands make the work better and strengthen the team.  And it’s good to share the rewards of the work as well as the tasks.
  • It’s humbling.  I will never look at a boss the same way.  True leadership is a difficult path of checks and balances, of weighing many factors before making decisions, and of listening.  You will never please everyone and you have to accept that as fact.

And what I really learned is that my years in development enabled me to do this job of Interim Executive Director.  Many of the items listed above apply to our work as well – with our colleagues, our donors, our prospects and our Boards.  So next time you are offered a challenge and wonder if you are up to it, you probably are.  Development professionals are a unique hybrid of skill sets including fundraising, marketing, human relations, finance, volunteer coordination and strategic planning.  Never sell yourself or your abilities short.  Go for it!

Susan Early

Member Q&A:

R. Scott Dodson
Director of Advancement and Patron Communications
The Richmond Symphony

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

Curiosity. I hope to get to know a donor beyond their relationship to the organization. Giving is such a personal and sometimes very emotional choice. I hope that by asking the right questions I can find the opportunity that makes them not just willing, but really excited to support us.

Q: How has VAFRE contributed to your success?

When I first moved here almost two years ago, VAFRE was a great opportunity to meet others in the fundraising community. I have enjoyed getting to know other professionals and learning more about fundraising in Richmond.

Would you like to be featured in a Member Q&A? Contact Cristina Cruz at cmcruz@vcu.edu for more information.


Welcome New Members

  • Alice Baker, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
  • Gayle Jessup White, Higher Achievement
  • Wren Wyatt III, VCU

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



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Members Only

Upcoming Programs 

Join us at our luncheon on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 for our Fundraising and Where are They Now panel discussion and Q&A with former VAFRE Nina Abady and Rising Star award recipients.

Our guest panelists will be:

  • Michael B. “Mickey” Dowdy, MBA – Nina Abady recipient, 1999         
    Chief Development Officer and Vice President, University of Maryland
  • Mary Ellen Stumpf - Nina Abady recipient, 1998
    President, Stumpf & Associates
  • Carrie R. Bickford – Rising Star recipient, 2006
    Director of Major Gifts and Stewardship, VCU Massey Cancer Center
  • Aimee Grindon– Rising Star recipient, 2009         
    Founder/Principal, Polychrome Collective

The panel conversation will be moderated by Tina Egge.       

Click here for information and registration for all of VAFRE’s upcoming programs.


2015 Annual Meeting

On Tuesday, June 2nd, VAFRE will hold its Annual Business Meeting, at which time the membership will be asked to elect the proposed 2015-2016 slate of Officers and Directors and approve the proposed 2015-2016 budget. There is also a proposed language change to the bylaws which must be approved by the membership. Members who are not able to attend in person can vote by proxy. All proxies must be received no later than Monday June 1st.

For the full Board Slate, including brief biographies, click here. For a copy of the proposed budget, click here. To see the proposed language change, click here.

If you won't be able to join us, be sure to send in your proxy!


AFP April Celebration

Please join your colleagues in development for a lovely evening on the James as we celebrate philanthropy in our community and announce the outcome of our chapter's recent strategic planning process. We are very excited to share with our entire membership the future direction of our chapter, and honor the sponsors and friends who have contributed time, talent and treasure to help guide this process.

What:    A Celebration Event
When:   Thursday, April 30, 6 p.m. - Sunset
Where:  The Rice House overlooking the James River, 1000 Old Locke Lane

Event program details will be announced on the AFP website.



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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