Member Spotlight: Erin Blue

Erin Blue

Development Director, Peggy R. McConnell Arts Center

Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

The McConnell Arts Center is a multi-disciplinary arts center which celebrates local art at every level.  We offer 60 classes every eight weeks for those interested in honing their skills or learning a new medium.  More than 500 established and emerging artists exhibit their work in our galleries each year, and our theatre features community and professional performers through more than 200 music, dance, theatre, film, and literary programs each year.  Our focus is the community’s connection with the artist – we joke that you’ll never see a dead artist at the MAC!  Okay, maybe not NEVER, but with all of our programming, we are looking for ways to connect the local artist with the community through their chosen art form. It’s a rare thing to see performing arts, visual arts, and arts instruction under one roof.  We are a small but mighty staff, and we stay busy!

How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?
I’ve been an AFP member for more than 12 years.  When I joined a small development shop for the first time more than three years ago, I was encouraged to take leadership of the Small Shops Affinity Group. It’s been great to get together each month with a varying group of small shop fundraisers and to learn tricks and tips from each other.  Each month we focus on a different topic suggested by the group, or one that I might dream up for fun.  Occasional guest speakers bring their expertise on a given topic, and the conversation is always lively! 

What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

Having worked in large development shops for most of my career, I could always learn from the more senior staff with whom I worked every day. Now that I’m the only one who does Development in my organization, the camaraderie with AFP colleagues is more valuable than ever.

How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?      

Like many, I stumbled into Development by accident through a series of entry level positions. After learning Raiser’s Edge at a previous company, that skill moved me to the front of the line for a job opening at the Columbus Museum of Art in 2002.  The Museum is where my job became my career, and the connections I have made in the arts community and through AFP are largely responsible for every career move I’ve made since – from the Museum to the Columbus Symphony and now the MAC.

What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?

I was lucky to participate in NGL – Next Generation of Leaders – a fellowship designed to identify and encourage emerging arts leaders.  It wasn’t the typical leadership academy that held up a picture of a leader and said, “be this”. The process helped me to identify the leadership qualities and skills I already possessed, and also to recognize the satisfaction that comes from having the courage to take risks.    It was a safe space to investigate which road blocks I was putting up for myself, which ones were put up by others, and what I was going to do about it.

What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?

A few years after college, I moved to Columbus from Florida on a whim with my best friend.  We both had many friends from Ohio and jokingly said, “Everyone’s leaving Ohio, let’s find out why.”  She lasted 6 months, and I’ve been here nearly 19 years!  In those first few years, I kept thinking I would move on to someplace new.  But as I was considering other cities around the country, I found myself comparing them all to Columbus. A friend recently said, “Columbus sucks, until it sucks you in.”  So true!  Eventually, I realized that most everything I needed was right here.  Family is still a little far away, but I have great friends, a great arts community, and who needs hurricanes anyway, right?

P.S. My favorite summertime treat is to go to the silent movie at the Ohio Theatre.  The classic movie series is fun all summer long, but to watch a silent movie with live accompaniment from the Mighty Morton (that’s the name of the theatre organ – original to the Ohio Theatre – from the 1920s) is truly something special! Check it out July 26-27!

Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

I was a theatrical stage manager for my first career.  I graduated from Florida State University with a degree in theatre, and worked at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, FL right after college.  I’m glad I still get to stretch my theatre techie muscles every now and then through volunteer work, and through my fantastic annual fundraiser (complete with sets and costumes) at the MAC!

Do you have a favorite book/blog/podcast/etc. that has been very helpful in your career that you’d like to recommend?

I have found great nuggets from Nonprofit AF – by Vu Le.  It’s completely irreverent and fun, and makes you feel like you aren’t the only one struggling with your to-do list.  His post some time ago about the feeling you have after successfully completing a year only to start over from square one on the next day with a new fiscal year, really hit home.   He reminded us to take a moment and appreciate all that we accomplished. We are all awesome non-profit unicorns, after all!

Posted July 9, 2018

AFP International Dues Increase Announcement

Full announcement can be read in the Development Digest.

Member Spotlight: Carly Johnson

Carly Johnson

Assistant Director of Development, Cristo Rey Columbus High School

Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

Cristo Rey is a Catholic, college-prep high school with a unique professional work-study program in which students gain real-world job experience and build lasting mentoring relationships. We serve students of all faiths from economically challenged families. I love working in the school and feeling the students’ energy. Every 45 minutes a bell rings, and the hallways are filled with life! It’s a great reminder of why I’m doing this work.

What is one thing your organization does really well?

We do an excellent job of preparing students for professional work. By the time they graduate high school, they have four years of actual work experience and have developed both hard and soft skills. This builds their resumes and also their confidence. Along the way, they form meaningful mentoring relationships with adults at their workplaces which can be invaluable to their success.

How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

I joined AFP in 2015. I was new to the field of development and a friend recommended I check it out. What a great suggestion! I’ve found excellent education opportunities and built strong relationships with colleagues. I’ve served on the Marketing and Communications, Education, and NPD Nomination committees.

What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

I am grateful to have received three scholarships from AFP that helped me build and then strengthen my foundation in fundraising. The first two were for membership and the Fundamentals of Fundraising course. Recently, I was awarded the chapter’s Chamberlain Scholarship to attend the AFP International Fundraising Conference. It was an outstanding experience, from the educational sessions, to the networking, to the inspiration from speakers like Bryan Stevenson. Thank you, AFP!

How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?
I practiced intellectual property law in Miami, Florida for eight years. When I moved back home to Columbus, I thought it was time to explore something new. I had always volunteered with kids and in education and thought it would be rewarding to work for those passions as well. I am thrilled that my first job in fundraising supports incredible students and an innovative educational model at Cristo Rey!

What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?

Working in a small shop as part of a two-person team. By necessity, I have taken on many different projects and learned so much in the process. I’m grateful that my Director, Chris Donovan, has supported my growth by trusting me with new and bigger challenges.

What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?

Because I grew up here, it’s been exciting to see Columbus develop over the years. My favorite restaurant is Basi Italia, and I enjoy going to Blue Jackets games, hiking in our Metro Parks, and visiting our galleries and museums.           

Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.
I lived in Italy twice and used to speak Italian! Sadly, that language has faded from my brain.

Member Spotlight: Lori Hunter Overmyer, MBA, CFRE

Lori Hunter Overmyer, MBA, CFRE

Executive Vice President, Goettler Associates, Inc.

Tell us a little about your organization. Mission? Population you serve? What do you like most about working there?  

Goettler Associates, Inc. is a trusted fundraising consulting company, serving the nation’s nonprofit organizations since 1965. Goettler Associate’s mission is to lead nonprofit organizations toward the realization of their full philanthropic potential through a full continuum of effective services. We have helped over 1,500 nonprofit organizations raise more money. We serve nonprofits from every industry sector: arts and culture, human services, health, environment and animals, with budgets both small and large. Although achieving fundraising success is the focus of our clients, it’s the variety of organizations, people, and institutional cultures that make every engagement different and interesting.

How long have you been an AFP member, and what has your involvement been?

I became a member of AFP in 1986 when it was still called NSFRE. We were living in Madison, WI and the chapter was brand new – just 32 members. We moved to St. Louis, MO and I joined that chapter immediately, chaired NPD and eventually joined the board as an officer. From there we moved to Nashville, TN and I also chaired NPD and became an officer of the chapter board. We moved to Columbus 18 years ago it was terrific to have an AFP “home.” I was on the board for about six years and served as the chapter’s president in 2010. I was so honored to be elected to the International AFP board in 2016 and now serving my second term.

What do you consider the most valuable part of your AFP membership?

Definitely the opportunities for personal and professional growth, and the community of people you get to know through relationships formed. It’s been a through-line for me for my entire professional career.

How long have you been in fundraising, and how did you get into it?

I received my MBA in Nonprofit Administration, with a focus on the arts, in 1986. During my last semester I was interning at the JB Speed Art Museum and they hired me as their first-ever development staff person after I graduated. I’ve been in the development field ever since!

What is your favorite part about living/working in Columbus? Favorite place to go?

To see the growth in Columbus since I moved here in 2000 – it’s been incredible! We live in Worthington, which is such a walkable community and has THE BEST farmer’s market. We love the annual Arts Festival downtown, going to events at the McConnell Arts Center, and one of our favorite, favorite things to do is to go to the Moonlight Market which takes place on the second Saturday of the month between April and October. It’s fantastic!

Tell us a fun fact about you that other AFP members wouldn’t know.

As a child, I had a pet turkey that I pulled around in a wagon. Did I mention I grew up in a small town? FYI – turkeys are not really the most affectionate pets! Now I stick to cats.

 

Posted April 2018

Eight Nonprofit Professionals Offer Their Best Fundraising Advice

Eight Nonprofit Professionals Offer Their Best Fundraising Advice

Reprinted from Forbes Magazine

March 2018

Fundraising is an essential activity for any nonprofit organization. Because this involves asking people for donations, rather than exchanging money for a direct product or service, nonprofit leaders need to get donors engaged and emotionally invested in the organization’s cause and work.

Building and maintaining relationships during a fundraising campaign can be challenging, but with the right strategies, you can create a bond that will last long after a donation has been made. Eight members of Forbes Nonprofit Council share their best fundraising advice with fellow nonprofit leaders.

1. Keep It Simple 

The best piece of fundraising advice I’d give is the same I’ve been given: Keep it simple. In a time where we see over-the-top, viral fundraising efforts bring in millions, realize that these are the exceptions and often backed by large marketing efforts. Maintain a strong bond with your community, give them opportunities to raise funds within a clear mission, and you’ll have success every time. – Glenn D. Banton, Sr.(OSD) Operation Supply Drop

 

2. Align Fundraising With A Concrete, Quantifiable Purpose 

Always link what you want to raise with a specific goal that can be quantified and shared. It’s not just about fundraising; it’s about having specific goals, knowing what they cost and raising that amount. – Gloria HorsleyOpen to Hope

 

3. Be Transparent And Accessible 

Transparency and accessibility go a long way in gaining new supporters, as well as keeping faithful donors. Invite people to tour your facilities to see exactly how their donations are being used. Include your cell phone number inside hand-written thank you notes. Most people won’t take you up on the offer, but your willingness to be open and reachable is essential in building trust. – Lindsay CrosslandThe Salvation Army

4. Focus On Strengthening A Few Key Relationships 

Focus on a few high-level, high-impact donors. Communicate with them more regularly. Study what they are interested in. Send them articles according to their interests and write personal notes. Make it a goal not only to attain a higher level of funding from them, but a superb relationship. Think more about the long-term relationship, long-term board seat and long-term value. – Pamela HawleyUniversalGiving

5. Continue To Show Gratitude After The Donation Is Made 

Don’t just thank donors at the time of giving. Find opportunities to thank them often. If you want a donor to think of your organization in the future, thank them with a story of how their gift has been beneficial. A story leaves a lasting impression and donors want to know how their gifts are impacting others. A donor is likely to share a story with other potential donors. – Duana PattonOhio District 5 Area Agency on Aging

6. Understand And Communicate What’s In It For The Donor 

Great fundraising meets the need of the donor, not the need of the person asking. You should always understand the goals and motivations of the donor, and then provide a pitch that will help them meet their goals through giving to your cause. It’s both emotional and practical and will lead to greater and longer relationships. – Doug ShipmanWoodruff Arts Center

7. Ask For Donor Feedback 

What better way to learn what works well with your fundraising pitch than to ask prior funders? They chose to support you for a reason, and assuming you have an amicable relationship with them, just reach out and ask: ‘What was it about our pitch that drew you to us? What do you see as our competitive advantage? How can we improve?’ Their feedback will certainly fuel your fundraising efforts. – Ana PantelicFundación Capital

8. Do What Works Best For You 

Keep doing what’s working. Everyone wants to give fundraising advice, but every organization is going to need a different strategy. Don’t let the advice of ‘experts’ send you down roads that lead nowhere when you already have a road that is leading somewhere. Double down on what’s working for you. – Ted GonderMoneythink 

2019 National Philanthropy Day Celebration

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Philanthropy Day Honorees
Back row
Karen Buchwald Wright, Joe Chlapaty, Andrew Levitt, Abraham Alexander, Chris Hawker, Sommer Renaldo, Donna Zuiderweg, Phil Derrow, Barb Derrow
Front rowKiernan Welch, Ford Cowan, Claire Sapp, Miles Goldman, Randi Lewis, Teresa McWain

(Columbus, Ohio) – More than 600 of Columbus’ most philanthropic-minded individuals came together on Tuesday November 26th, 2019 for the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day recognizing extraordinary generosity, selflessness, innovation and leadership in giving, volunteering and engagement.

The annual event, celebrating its 27th anniversary year in Central Ohio, honored those who have significantly impacted the community through their volunteer and philanthropic efforts with a celebratory lunch and awards ceremony at the Hilton Columbus. The National Philanthropy Day luncheon was emceed by NBC4 anchor, Matt Barnes, and AFP Central Ohio Board President, Laura Baker of WOSU Public Media and is reflective of the philanthropic spirit that characterizes Central Ohio.

“Our honorees are making tremendous investments and impact to uplift our community, and they are doing so despite challenges in the economy,” said Laura Baker, President, AFP Central Ohio. “We salute their efforts to change our world for the better and applaud their selfless giving.”

The 27th annual award honorees recognized were:

        • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser- Andrew Levitt
        • Outstanding Small Corporation – Next Level Trainings
        • Outstanding Volunteer Fundraising Group – Franklin Park Conservatory Women’s Board
        • Leave a Legacy Award (Presented by the Charitable Gift Planners of Central Ohio) – Joe Chlapaty
        • Big Lots Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award – Bexley Sleep Out
        • Outstanding Foundation – Ariel Foundation
        • Outstanding Professional Fundraiser – Donna Zuiderweg
        • Outstanding Large Corporation – American Electric Power
        • The Columbus Foundation Outstanding Philanthropist Award – Philip and Barbara Derrow

Mr. Barnes and Ms. Baker recognized the sponsors who invested in the event, supporting the celebration and Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter, including: Big Lots Foundation, The Columbus Foundation, AEP Founation, PNC Bank, Cardinal Health, Cramer & Associates, Grange Insurance, Lbrands Foundation, Mollard Consulting, Nationwide Insurance, OhioHealth, Sophisticated Living, The Ohio State University Office of Advancement, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and UBS/Grové Parks Hegarty Wealth Advisors, as well as more than two dozen table sponsors.

“Philanthropy in Central Ohio remains strong and ongoing,” said Mary Beth McNamee, chair of National Philanthropy Day 2019. “We are lucky to live in a community that supports all types of wonderful organizations – from the arts, to education, to social services and everything in between.”

Information regarding Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio, a full sponsorship listing, and additional pictures can be found at centralohioafp.org/national-philanthropy-day or by contacting [email protected].

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 37,000 members in 186 chapters throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and China working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education, and certification programs. The Central Ohio Chapter of AFP has more than 400 members from 85 nonprofits, consulting firms and corporations in Central Ohio.
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Celebration of Philanthropy Draws Huge Crowd in Columbus

(Columbus, Ohio) – Nearly 650 of Columbus’ most philanthropic-minded individuals gathered at the 2017 Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Ohio Chapter’s National Philanthropy Day luncheon celebration on November 21, 2017.