2018 SAFC Recap and Updates from the Student Affairs Fundraising & External Relations KC

It’s perhaps no surprise to the roughly 100 student affairs professionals who attended NASPA’s 2018 Student Affairs Fundraising Conference (SAFC), but there was a notable trend: an increase in the number of attendees whose job descriptions include fundraising. As funding for higher education institutions remains a challenge, we should perhaps all see ourselves as potential fundraisers for Student Affairs. The conference, held every two years, provides a great launch point for professionals looking to sharpen their fundraising knowledge and skills.

Conference Recap:

The University at Albany – State University of New York provided a fantastic location for the 2018 SAFC, which took place July 26-28. Local arrangement chairs Cindi Riggi and Brian Rudolph deserve special thanks. Presenters covered a multitude of topics, including fundamentals of fundraising, advancing fundraising within Student Affairs, relationships with donors, partnerships with Development Offices, and more. Attendees heard several great keynote presentations:

  • Isaac Thweatt, Executive Director of Individual Giving, Columbia University Business School, discussed creating a culture of institutional engagement.
  • Dr. DeShanna Brown, Director of Development, Louisiana State University, shared her research regarding Student Affairs strategic fundraising practices.
  • Dr. Marybeth Gasman, Professor of Education, University of Pennsylvania, presented ways to engage a diversity of alumni in giving back to the university.

Finally, a panel of experienced Vice Presidents for Student Affairs shared their thoughts on best practices and lessons learned.

The Student Affairs Fundraising and External Relations Knowledge Community appreciates NASPA’s recognition of the importance of fundraising in Student Affairs, as well as its support of our Knowledge Community. We especially thank Jake Frasier, Assistant Director of Professional Development for NASPA. His committed leadership over the past year helped immensely in bringing this conference to fruition. Finally, thank you to the members of the 2018 SAFC Planning Committee:

  • Jason Guilbeau; Graduate Assistant and Recent Ph.D. Recipient, Florida State University
  • Dorsey Spencer, Jr.; Director of Administration, Office of the VP for Student Affairs, Florida State University
  • Patricia Mahon; VP for Student Development and Dean of Students; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
  • Cynthia Riggi; Assistant VP, Student Affairs, University at Albany
  • Brian Rudolph; Associate Director, Annual Giving, University at Albany
  • Sue Harris; Director of Development, Division of Student Affairs, University of Arkansas

Knowledge Community Updates:

Future Content: 

One final session that took place at the SAFC was an Idea Accelerator session, which generated many thoughtful ideas that merit further discussion and future content for conferences, research, and other modes of professional development. To advance the important dialogue and facilitate the sharing of ideas and best practices related to Student Affairs Fundraising, we are looking to our members.

If you presented a session at the SAFC or have an idea for a presentation, we would love to hear from you! We can discuss possibilities of a blog post, webinar or article. Please also consider submitting fundraising-related proposals for the 2019 NASPA Annual Conference – we can help highlight your session at the conference. The call for proposals is currently open! For questions about creating content for the KC, please contact KC Chair Dorsey Spencer at [email protected] 

Seeking Volunteers:

The Student Affairs Fundraising and External Relations Knowledge Community seeks professionals in various regions to serve as regional reps. Regional KC Representatives work to serve the collective efforts of their Knowledge Community within a particular region, and also assist in duties on the National KC leadership team. To learn more and apply, visit NASPA Volunteer Central.

Be sure to Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/SAfundraisingKC and follow us on Twitter at @SAFundraisingKC for further updates and discussions.


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