Member Spotlight: (Volunteer Appreciation Edition)

Carrie Flood
Dalhousie University  
Director, Donor Relations

Corey Smentek
Director, Donor Relations & Stewardship


Carrie and Corey currently lead ADRPs marketing and communications committee.

1.  Please tell us about your ADRP volunteer history?

Corey: I dipped my toe presenting at the 2017 NYC Regional Conference and the 2018 International Conference in St. Louis and eventually decided I was ready to take my relationship with ADRP to the next level! An opportunity presented itself to take part in the creation of the ADRP marketing and communications committee during the Covid years when I think a lot of us tried to keep busy and distracted. I agreed to serve as co-chair and the rest is history! Carrie and I hit the ground running to start building this new committee and we also served as the marketing and communications co-chairs for the 2022 International Conference. I’ve continued in this capacity for this year’s International Conference. PS. Registration opens in May!

Carrie: I’d been an ADRP member for many years, and in 2020 I sought a way to give back to an organization that had helped build my foundation in donor relations. I joined the inaugural marketing and communications committee and agreed to co-chair it after our first meeting. I was so lucky that Corey agreed as well as she’s been the perfect co-pilot! I also represent us on the education steering committee which provides the opportunity to learn about what each of the other ADRP committees are accomplishing and how we can augment and champion each other’s work. I’ve also recently started serving on the 2023 nominations committee – nominations are open for new board members!  

2. Discuss your volunteer leadership approach as it relates to the marketing and communications committee? How have you made the committee your own?

When we joined the committee it was a new ADRP initiative which meant a blank slate. We’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to build the committee from the ground up and shape its direction. We’ve focused on increasing engagement with current and prospective ADRP members and raising visibility. A big effort has gone into increasing our social media presence and encouraging more digital engagement across our platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter). 

We want to send a big shoutout to our committee members and our partners on The Hub! A goal of ours was to be sure each committee member felt connected to, and inspired by, their work and get to utilize their skills for a fulfilling volunteer experience. The marketing and communications committee is absolutely a collaborative team and we’ve been lucky to work with such an amazing group of volunteers. 

3. What skills have you acquired from volunteering, whether with ADRP or other institutions?

Corey: I’ve spent a majority of my career at one institution (coming up on the start of my 17th year) so volunteering with ADRP has been an amazing opportunity for me to expand my reach and hone my skills—from working with new people and learning different ways to approach projects to adapting to an array of communication and work styles. Leading ADRP’s social media efforts has also provided me with a reason to learn something new. The only experience I had was posting photos of my travels and daily beach walks on my personal Instagram account so this was a whole new world to me and I continue to learn as I go. Donor relations professionals love to learn something new, don’t we?! In addition to ADRP, every Saturday, I volunteer at my local animal shelter and spend 2.5 hours walking and socializing dogs who are up for adoption. These dogs are incredible despite the tough road that led them to the shelter. One thing is for sure--dogs will try anything once and I think that’s been another good lesson I’ve learned through volunteering. I am so glad I said “yes” when the ADRP opportunity came my way—because the rewards have been endless!

Carrie: I could speak to communications, leadership or teamwork skills – these are all areas where I think my ADRP volunteer work has led to personal and professional improvement. I feel what I’ve gained most from volunteering, however, is a new appreciation for all that ADRP has to offer towards professional development. The webinars are always helpful and insightful, but I’ve also learned so many best practices by reading the myADRP daily digest emails. The donor relations network is such a supportive group of individuals, and having access to the brainpower and expertise that exists within our profession has definitely helped me develop new skills and advance my career. Cue “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban! 

4. What lessons, words of advice/inspiration would you share to others who consider volunteering with ADRP?

We love this quote by Elizabeth Andrew—“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” We’ve found the latter is absolutely true of the ADRP community. The gratitude that exists for others and their efforts cannot be understated. You will be appreciated and supported. It’s an exceptional and uplifting network of individuals who want to do good and see everyone succeed. If you’ve been tinkering with the idea of volunteering with ADRP, just do it (yes, thank you Nike for that inspiration!). There’s a role for everyone—big or small, short- or long- term, behind or in-front of the scenes. You will not regret the satisfaction and joy you will get from taking your relationship with ADRP to the next level—and above all, you will gain immediate and long-lasting friendships with those who share your professional interests.

5. If you were part of a league of volunteer superheroes, what would your name be and why?

Corey: My name would be Guardian of the Digital Kingdom given my role with ADRP’s social media outreach and engagement. 

Carrie: In my professional world I’d be the Appreciation Avenger, dedicated to expressing appreciation and recognition to donors. But in my personal life I’d be AquaFlood. 

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