Membership Spotlight: Elizabeth Kane

Elizabeth Kane, Major Gift Officer, Otterbein University

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

Otterbein University is a private, four-year liberal arts college in Westerville, OH. We are leading the country in integrating real-life experiences with classroom learning to help each student grow as a whole person. From my first day on campus, Otterbein has felt like a family. The faculty, staff, and even alumni are incredibly welcoming. It’s easy to see that everyone has our students’ best interests at heart and is invested in making sure they leave the university equipped with the skills to have successful futures.

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

I’ve been an AFP member for 5 years now. After receiving a scholarship to attend the Fundamentals of Fundraising course, I’ve been volunteering with the Membership Committee and am currently the outgoing chair of the committee.

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

Hands down, the most valuable part of my AFP experience has been networking. My involvement in AFP has allowed me to meet people at the start of their careers, like myself, all the way to seasoned professionals. The guidance, knowledge, and relationships I’ve gained through my involvement with AFP have been invaluable.

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

I’ve been in fundraising for about 5 years. I was working in Human Resources at OSU while completing my Master in Public Administration when I took a class taught by Lori Overmyer. Before Lori’s class, I knew I wanted to work in nonprofits, but through this class I fell in love with fundraising.

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

There are so many things I love about working and living in Columbus, but my top would have to be the amazing nonprofit community. Columbus is full of so many organizations that do great work and work together to make our community the strongest it can be. Also, the restaurant scene in Columbus is awesome. There is so much amazing food to try here! My favorite place to grab a quick bite is Condado’s Tacos, but for an amazing brunch or dinner I go for Starliner Diner.

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

I was an anthropology major in undergrad and spent most of my time in college wanting to be a primatologist. While my career took a bit of a different path, I still love primates and am known to occasionally break out some fun facts.

What has been your biggest success in your career?

Honestly, closing that first gift. That’s the moment when I thought “I can actually do this!” and all the stress and uncertainty were replaced with the feeling of satisfaction in knowing I helped someone invest in something they’re passionate about and helped them make the difference in the world they wanted to see.

What has been your biggest learning opportunity in your career?

Experiencing staff turnover. Unfortunately, fundraising can have a lot of turnover. While those times are filled with lots of challenges and uncertainty, they have also been the times where I’ve learned the most professionally and even personally.

Where would you take your dream vacation?

The Galapagos Islands. We studied them a lot in my anthropology classes in undergrad. Being able to see giant tortoises and penguins on the same island blows my mind!

What is one thing your organization does really well?

It’s hard to choose one thing Otterbein does really well! But right now I am most excited about our new Tuition Transparency initiative that continues our commitment to making college more affordable. With Tuition Transparency, families will know, before even enrolling, how much tuition will increase each year of the student’s four-year degree. This allows students and their families the opportunity to plan for increases and not be caught off guard halfway through their education.

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

Jerold Panas’ “Asking” was recently suggested to me. It’s a really quick read, specifically “A 59-minute guide,” and has a lot of solid advice and suggestions on the basics.


Posted December 2018