Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives

Log in

VAFRE e-news, January 2020

In This Issue

New Members

Jake Anderson, The READ Center

James Campbell,  
University of Richmond/SPCS

Barb Dodd, Grace & Holy Trinity Church

Zachary Hatcher, 
University of Mary Washington

Melissa Leecy, Lutheran Family Services of Virginia

Aaron-Paula (APT) Thompson, The Poe Museum

Log in to the Member Directory for complete details on these and other members.


Not a VAFRE Member?

Join Now


Volunteers Needed

The Awards committee is looking for members who are interested in helping plan this year’s event which takes place on May 5th. For more information or to join the committee, email Sarah Fernald,


Message from the President

Happy New Year! I am so excited that it's 2020 and I have to admit that I was ready for a new year. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who feels that way. There is just something about a new year and all of the optimism that a new beginning and a clean slate bring. While I haven't set many outright "resolutions", I have set a theme for the year - simplify. Many of us have lots of commitments on our plates. I know sometimes I get so busy that I can forget to count my blessings and stop to notice all of the wonderful things that surround me. So, I am going to focus on streamlining and simplifying where possible - thinking about what my priorities are and how best to reach my personal and professional goals for the year. If others would like to share, I'd love to hear what your themes or resolutions for the new year are. You know how to get in touch! 

A couple of reminders between now and our February 4th luncheon:

  • The calls for nominations for 2020 Nina Abady and Rising Star Awards are open!  Please review the nomination qualifications (there have been some changes) and thoughtfully consider submitting a nomination for one or both awards.  The nomination form is due by January 31, 2020 and can be found on the Awards page of the website.
  • Nominations are also now open for VAFRE’s Board of Directors. If you’ve ever thought about taking your involvement in VAFRE to the next level, now’s the time. See below for the details.
  • Sign up for our February 4th, 2020 meeting!  The topic is about making "Data-Driven Decisions". Check out additional details and register to attend, and check out the details below on our new take on the Deeper Dive.

Best wishes to you and your loved ones for a fabulous year ahead,


Jennifer O’Rourke, CFRE, VAFRE President


Upcoming events


Link Up with VAFRE on LinkedIn

VAFRE has a Company page on LinkedInBe sure to "follow" the company and share news and items of interest to other members.

VAFRE is proud to be a participating organization with CFRE International.

Who’s Next?

Pictured above are many of our past Nina Abady honorees and below, some of our recent Rising Star honorees – a veritable “Who’s Who” of Richmond Development. If you take a moment and think about it, I’m certain you can think of a seasoned Development professional who has inspired you in your career, or a young gun who really impresses you. Isn’t it time they joined the ranks of VAFRE’s award winners? Nominations are due January 31. Click here for complete details and the nomination forms.


Board Nominations Sought

The VAFRE Nominating Committee is seeking nominations to fill vacant positions for the Board of Directors for the 2020/2021 fiscal year. Now is the time to take your membership to the next level and make a commitment to VAFRE or to nominate someone else for the Board. Your nominations are needed by Friday, February 28, 2020. Each nominee will receive a Candidate Interest Form that must be completed to be considered for a position by the Nominating Committee.  

Eligibility and Term of Office: To be a director, you must be a member, in good standing.  Each elected Director shall take office on July 1, 2020 for a two-year term and is responsible for, along with other Board members, determining VAFRE policies and supporting the mission of the organization. Time commitment includes board meeting the first Tuesday of every other month and the time needed to complete the tasks of your board role.

Click here for a copy of the Nominating Form.

Click here for a general description of the Board qualifications, nomination process and manner of conducting business as defined in the Policy Manual, or view the Board Job Descriptions from the Policy Manual.


The Deeper Dive is Back!

VAFRE members continue to tell the Board and committees that they want more opportunities to connect with the topics we offer each month at our luncheons, but it's hard to squeeze another meeting into the day. With that in mind, the Communications committee is working to bring back our Deeper Dive in a virtual format!

Beginning on February 18th, VAFRE will offer members a Facebook Live Deeper Dive. Scheduled from noon to 12:30 p.m., the program will allow some of the unanswered questions from the luncheon to be addressed in a more leisurely manner, and you can participate without having to leave your desk! The presenters from our February 4th luncheon, Dana Gresko and Tom Zydel, both of EAB, have graciously agreed to join us in this experiment - and we hope you will too,

There is no fee to participate, but we do ask that you register for this members only event.


Never Underestimate the Power of Storyby Patricia S. Morris

When I first began fundraising professionally in 1995, E. Claiborne Robins, Jr. was on the Development Committee of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture (then the VHS).  He welcomed me by saying, “Ms. Morris, I’m going to tell you something that you should never forget.  No matter how many times you’ve told this organization’s story and no matter how many people you’ve told it to, you haven’t told it enough!”  W. Taylor Reveley, who was the chair of the committee, told me later that how one tells the story is also critical. 

I had spent the first half of my working career in retail marketing and buying and came into philanthropy knowing that marketing drives money.  When these two wise and generous philanthropists shared their wisdom, it became clear to me that marketing was also critical to raising money.   

What I have found, however, is that marketing is not generally appreciated by nonprofit management.  It is oftentimes considered a part of sales and therefore not applicable to philanthropy.  Over the last 25 years, I have proved to myself (and a few CEOs) that marketing is critical to fundraising success.  One just has to look at it through a slightly different lens.

Simone Joyeaux, an ACFRE whom I’ve followed since the beginning of my philanthropy career, says, “It’s not about what you’re selling; it’s about what they’re buying.”  True, but that wisdom applies to both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds.  One must understand who the audience is and what they are looking for to get a message through. 

The difference is the outcome.  Buying a new thing might make one feel good for the moment, but helping others lifts one’s spirit in a longer term way that tangible goods can’t.  Philanthropy changes lives for both the donor and the beneficiary.  Giving isn’t logical – it’s an act of love.  A heartfelt story of a single beneficiary brings more money to an organization’s mission than numbers or logic.  


Thanks to our Newsletter Sponsor:

© 2021 Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives (VAFRE).
All rights reserved.
VAFRE • P.O. Box 6605 • Richmond, VA 23230
Office/Fax (804) 368-3398

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software