ADRP Blog

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - June 2024

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

 

 

We are halfway through 2024…how did that happen?
Did you catch last month’s edition of The Hub? The throwback to the first issue was exciting and what an honor to have the first ADRP President, Joe Donnelly, make a guest appearance. It has been fun to reminisce at #ADRP20Years as we look forward to our 2024 International Conference in September. Registration is OPEN! As I registered, I had a hard time selecting only one session per time slot—there are SO many good ones. Whether you are new to donor relations or you have been doing it for decades, there is something for you.

I have been with my organization for 16 years and while I never thought I would stay somewhere that long, it has been the ability to learn from my peers in our industry and put that wisdom into practice that has kept me energized, engaged, and growing. The more recent emphasis on self-care through ADRP offerings has been well-timed and appreciated too. 

If you want to make a change, check out the postings on ADRP’s job board. On the other hand, if you are looking to tap into the amazing talent we have in our ADRP members, you can post your open positions here as well.

As we continue to reflect on #ADRP20Years and look forward To Being a Kid Again in Indianapolis, don’t miss some amazing webinar offerings we have this summer!

Enjoy your summer!
Brie 

Many Thanks to Penelope Burk

Debbie Meyers

ADRP Founding Board Member

Writer/Editor, Rutgers University Foundation

 

Read More

Volunteer Spotlight: Rose Dalba

Rose Dalba

2004 – 2005 Founding Board Member

 

 

 

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - April 2024

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

 

 

During our board meeting earlier this month, we heard updates on all of the amazing committee work that’s being accomplished. As part of that, and upon reflecting on the last #ADRP20Years, we find our gratitude invariably pointing in one direction: toward YOU, our devoted volunteers. Your unwavering dedication and enthusiasm are the backbone of ADRP. Without your efforts, our mission to be the authority in donor relations would be a lofty ideal rather than the dynamic reality it is today.


This month’s newsletter is a tribute to you: the advisors, the strategists, the doers, and the passionistas (I think I made that up) who donate not just your time but their creativity and expertise to this organization. Each of you, through countless hours of service, whether behind the scenes or at the forefront of our initiatives, has played an indispensable role in our achievements.


Read More

Volunteer Spotlight: Debbie Meyers

Debbie Meyers

2004 – 2005 Founding Board Member

2011 Conference Chair

 

Read More

Member Spotlight: Melissa DeClue

Melissa DeClue

Chief Engagement Strategist
Amplify Missions

 

Can you tell us about your career trajectory? How did you come into donor relations as a career?

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - March 2024

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

 

 

 

There is a lot to celebrate in March. The first day of spring, Pi Day, National Puppy Day AND Cuddly Kitten Day, International Day of Happiness, Daylight Savings…and of course Women’s History Month. March is always special to me as I have the opportunity to celebrate the women in my life and thank all the people who continue to lift me up. I am grateful for the strong and courageous women that have contributed to the success of ADRP and ensured our place as the authority in donor relations. There have been countless women through #ADRP20Years that poured passion into our association and our industry, and have played a huge role in elevating us to where we are today.

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - March 2024

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

 

 

 

There is a lot to celebrate in March. The first day of spring, Pi Day, National Puppy Day AND Cuddly Kitten Day, International Day of Happiness, Daylight Savings…and of course Women’s History Month. March is always special to me as I have the opportunity to celebrate the women in my life and thank all the people who continue to lift me up. I am grateful for the strong and courageous women that have contributed to the success of ADRP and ensured our place as the authority in donor relations. There have been countless women through #ADRP20Years that poured passion into our association and our industry, and have played a huge role in elevating us to where we are today.

Read More

Meet Your 2024 Conference Chairs: Kimberly and Dawn

Dear ADRP Members and Friends,

We are deeply honored to serve you and our global philanthropic community as chairs of the 2024 Association of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference, September 15 - 18, 2024, in Indianapolis, IN.

This opportunity holds deep personal significance as ADRP has played a pivotal role in shaping fulfilling careers, forging lasting connections, and grounding us in gratitude. We wouldn’t be here without so many of you. ADRP's steadfast commitment to excellence, innovation, and nurturing authentic connections has truly been transformative, and to now have the privilege of contributing to an association that has profoundly influenced our lives is both humbling and inspiring. 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. 

Read More

Member Spotlight: Heather James

Heather James 
University of Minnesota | CFANS Development Office
Stewardship and Donor Relations Specialist 

 

About Heather

Can you tell us about your career trajectory? How did you come into donor relations as a career?
Unexpectedly. In 2019, just short of my 20th anniversary at my previous company in a different sector, my position was eliminated. It was scary! I’d found that job in the newspaper. (You know, that big paper thing that would show up at your door and turn your hands inky when you looked through it…) So, it had been a while since I had looked for a job. It was also in a bit of a unique position, and I wasn’t finding similar positions out there. Also, I wasn’t sure I wanted to do the same thing. There were aspects of my former position that I liked a lot, but I was often rather bored. 

I found some state career resources for dislocated workers that were helpful in not only figuring out modern job search methods but in helping me figure out a path that might suit me. I decided to take a fundraising certificate program at a local university—and I loved it. I made sure to avail myself of the revolving instructors, who all worked in some aspect of fundraising, to ask what advice they might have for my situation. The first one I spoke with quickly ascertained from what I told him that donor relations/stewardship had actually been part of the work I had been doing—I just didn’t know it or call it that. That work was some of what I had enjoyed doing at my old gig, so I looked into it and thought it seemed a good fit. 


Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - January 2024

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

 

 

Hello, and Happy New Year!

We made it through the end of the year, and it feels like 2024 is already flying by. I have just returned from Seattle, where your ADRP board met to plan for the years ahead. I continue to be impressed and honored to serve with this board. They bring passion, curiosity, fun, and so much drive to make ADRP the best it can be. We got a sneak peek into the Donor Relations Fundamentals Curriculum and the timeline for the year — get ready! We finalized our budget and started plans for the next MyADRP Live in Boston, hopefully in June! Plus, there is so much energy around regionals for the Midwest, Northeast Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. We discussed updates from the various committees, and they have been busy! 

Read More

A Year in Review - 2023

ADRP's Big Hairy Audacious Goal is to be universally recognized as the authority on donor engagement in the philanthropy profession. We are in the middle of executing a five-year strategic plan that serves as a road map and we’ve made significant strides in 2023.

As we end the year, let’s be proud of our profession and our own accomplishments as donor relations experts. If you see something that makes you smile or warms your heart, consider sending a note to a fellow ADRP member who may have led the way or share the sentiment with others via MY ADRP. If you have feedback or wish to get involved to move the needle even further, consider becoming a volunteer.

We remain grateful to all members and look forward to an equally productive 2024.

 

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - December 2023

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Anyone else just trying to keep your head above water? While I know it’s that time of year, I continue to find myself caught off guard sometimes. Between the increase in personal commitments this month coupled with end-of-year giving and time away from the office— there aren’t enough hours in the day. And yet, it is also this time of year that I am reminded why we do this work.

In my day job, we often say, "There's a hole in people's hearts that can only be filled by generosity and service. People want to be connected to something bigger than themselves that will echo beyond their lifetimes." We see our job as assisting our benefactors in filling that hole and creating lasting change in the world through their philanthropy. 

I honestly believe that without the work you all do in donor relations and stewardship, filling that hole isn’t possible. You take the time to acknowledge and report impact. You take the time to convey the importance of their support. You take the time to surprise and delight. Without you, the connection to something bigger and the desire to change the world would fall a little flat. 

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - November

Brie Aguila | ADRP President Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

This is my favorite time of year. It is the one time of year when gratitude is front and center for everyone. Since in donor relations we wish gratitude took center stage all year round, I take the opportunity to really enjoy the season of gratitude. Did anyone count how many times I’ve used the word gratitude?!

I am grateful for every one of you. Each member strengthens our expertise, and each volunteer invests their time for the greater good of our industry and ADRP. 

I recently heard that the reason the car windshield is so big and the rearview mirror is so small is that we should always be looking forward. That resonated with me, but in my gratefulness and reflection, I can’t help but look in the rearview mirror and know we wouldn’t be where we are today without every one of you. I hope you take time this season to reflect, and explore your own gratitude, whether personally or professionally (but hopefully a little bit of both!). I encourage you to share your gratitude with someone who contributes to it. In donor relations, we see firsthand how meaningful it is to be thanked. Never underestimate the power your gratitude has to change someone’s day for the better. 

Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - October 2023

Brie Aguila | ADRP President 
Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
Office of Advancement 
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Anyone else getting into the spooky, creepy, scary season…or maybe just the fall vibes? I left Minneapolis with all the fall vibes, but then I returned home to reflect on the amazing conference and found myself with a bad case of the “scaries.” The conference represents a wonderful time to connect, network, learn, inspire, and energize but it also represents a time of transition to the new president. EEEEKKKK… that’s me! I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little afraid to fail in this position. But then I am reminded that we often learn the most in our failures, and I am a big fan of failing forward.
 
Donor relations is just that…learning, failing, learning, succeeding…and so on. So, while the scary pranks may be in full force this month, let’s not be afraid to fail. I am surrounded with amazing members, volunteers, staff, and the board so I know we will succeed together. 

Speaking of fear…have you wanted to get more involved in ADRP, but you were afraid to take that step? As Debbie Meyers shared in Minneapolis, JUST DO IT. You won’t regret it. Fill out our form and our amazing Volunteer and Member Experience Committee will get in touch to see how we can get you involved. 

I look forward to a great year, including celebrating 20 years of ADRP in 2024. 

And I cannot thank this year’s conference committee enough for kicking off my year as president with a bang. 




Read More

Member Spotlight: Brie Aguila

Brie Aguila 
Asst. Vice Chancellor for External Relations
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

1. Can you tell us about your career trajectory? How did you come into donor relations as a career?
I actually started as a development assistant and had no idea that philanthropy existed in such a sophisticated fashion. I moved into frontline fundraising for a period of time and then an opening became available in stewardship. I had a legal background and loved fund agreements and compliance so it was an easy jump for me. I was a one-person shop that was barely doing acknowledgement letters and only a handful of events. Fast forward 12 years later, and we have a fully established team that I am so proud to be a part of. 

2. What influenced your interest in and passion for donor relations? 
My interest really stemmed from my legal background. I was able to be a part of showing impact for a donor’s generosity, I was hooked! Creating memorable experiences and moments for those choosing to invest in our institution is so humbling and rewarding!

3. What lessons, words of advice/inspiration would you like to pass on to other donor relations professionals?
It can be overwhelming when it feels you have so many things you aren’t doing but you want to do. Make small goals and as you meet them, look to the next. In addition, always think about your experiences with organizations, businesses, etc. If it appealed to you, how can you replicate it in your work?

4. Can you talk about a specific donor engagement or stewardship activity that makes you feel like you are providing the best experience for donors?  
We are HUGE fans of “think-its” not trinkets. It doesn’t have to cost a lot, or be free, it just needs to be thoughtful. It needs to be about the person and show you are really listening to them.  





Read More

Travel Safe and Tell Your Story

Let us know about your ADRP international conference experience.

  • What did you learn or appreciate most?
  • Did you meet new friends and make connections?
  • What was your favorite session?
  • Was this your first ADRP conference or one of many?

The donor relations profession embodies storytelling so share yours about this year’s conference. Ultimately, if you will be in Minneapolis next month, have the best time and travel safely! That’s the ADRP way.

Member Spotlight: Robb Hoffheins, Mythos

Robb Hoffheins
Head of Product
Mythos

 

1. Can you tell us about your career trajectory? 
I learned the ropes and got an on-the-job masters in business, marketing, and sales at America Online. I then had a few successful small business ventures of my own before meeting Jon Budington (Mythos CEO) through a former colleague. I have been working with Jon for over 10 years leading the development and marketing of the Mythos platform.

2. In simplest terms, describe how Mythos fits into the donor relations paradigm. What differentiates your company from others with the same offering?
Stewardship teams use Mythos to simplify the process of creating personalized and meaningful donor communications. Mythos harnesses the power of storytelling to help donors better understand the impact of their giving. The platform streamlines the process of beneficiary story collection, financial data reporting, and communications design and distribution—both online or in print. There is no other product that combines this breadth of services.

3. Are there any lessons, words of advice, or words of inspiration that you would like to pass on to the donor relations community from a vendor perspective? 
Donor relations is an incredibly valuable function and, I believe, is becoming more so every day. Don’t ever forget that what you do is the bridge that enables experiences and education that can’t really be quantified. Though it can be qualified and then shared with donors to cultivate more of the same.




Read More

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President - September 2023

Cheryl Smith Lintner

Executive Director, Donor Relations

Hackensack Meridian Health Foundation 

 

“So Long, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish!”

Read More

Philanthropy isn’t about giving fire anymore

How do you define philanthropy?

For most, the word is synonymous with giving to a worthy cause. Yet the idea of philanthropy didn’t begin that way. A look into the word’s ever-changing meaning provides us clues into the motivations that drive philanthropy and how the practice will likely evolve.

Image Credit: Heinrich Füger (German, 1751-1818), “Prometheus Brings Fire to Mankind”/Wikimedia Commons

The concept of philanthropy first appeared in the 5th century BCE. Aeschylus’s play, Prometheus Unbound, tells the story of Prometheus—a god-like titan who took pity on humanity left freezing and starving in the dark. He steals fire from his fellow gods and gifts it to mankind. It’s a gift he knows will likely cost him dearly, but Prometheus is motivated by a universal and unconditional sense of altruism: philos anthropos, or the love of humankind.

Read More