Our next AFP August Appreciation spotlight goes to Aimee Dunsmore, Development Director of the Utah Arts Festival!
As a fundraiser for 11 years, she has witnessed firsthand the ever-changing methods of donor communication. "It’s not just letters, lunches and phone calls anymore, though that’s still a really important part cultivation and retention," Aimee says. "There are so many ways to reach people now and the opportunities to develop and maintain relationships with donors, are vast and constantly evolving with technology and social media."
With this in mind, she says her greatest challenge is strategizing donor communications while integrating donor communication preferences. "It’s incredibly exciting, but can also be a little bit daunting," explains Aimee. "I think a challenge we face is how to balance staying in front of our donors and reaching new donors in ways that are meaningful to them in such a fast-paced, ever-changing environment without losing our focus or organizational voice."
When Aimee started her position at the Utah Arts Festival, the organization had very few individual donors, and individual giving represented a very small portion of their contributed income. She saw this as a huge area for growth, and after much thought, analysis, discussion, and planning, she helped launch an individual giving program now called “Friends with Benefits." This, program, which has grown individual contributions by leaps and bounds over the past five years, is what Aimee cites as her greatest current accomplishment. "It has been really rewarding to see our whole team get behind this program (staff, board, and program coordinators) and to watch support steadily grow year after year," she adds.
Aimee says she's an AFP member because she believes being part of a community with varied experiences, information, and resources to draw from is essential to her ability to grow and succeed.
Our AFP Member Appreciation spotlight today goes to Amberlie Phillips, Chief Development Officer at YWCA!
Amberlie began her career in development in 1999, just out of college, and with the exception of two years, she has worked as a fundraiser her entire career--almost 16 years.
While she is currently navigating the obstacles of building infrastructure within the YWCA Utah development department to increase efficiency and maximize potential, she is also excited to see the continued growth of the YWCA’s major gifts program. "We made a conscious decision to focus on major gifts about four years ago, and we are seeing some amazing gifts as a result of this sustained effort," she says.
When asked why she became an AFP member, Amberlie says,"Very early in my career I attended the AFP International Conference in Seattle, thanks to a supervisor who recommended I attend. It was a great experience that opened my eyes to the diversity and depth that exists within the field. It is wonderful to belong to a professional association dedicated to fundraising-- it allows for idea sharing, networking, and that great feeling of being in a room where everyone feels your pain (or joy!)"