Keynote Speakers

Day-One Keynote Presenter, Kishshana Palmer

VFRI is excited to welcome Kishshana Palmer, CFRE, to Richmond on July 24 to kick off the 2019 Virginia Fund Raising Institute! Her presentation Is There Enough Gas in Your Tank? will inspire nonprofit professionals and give them tools they can take back to their organizations to create change. As fundraisers, managers, executives and “on the go” social good professionals we are often running 100 miles per minute. How do you keep your gas tank filled? Where do you go for a refill? This keynote will empower you, get you energized, and educate you on what you can do TODAY to make sure you’re putting the right fuel in your tank to be successful.

Kishshana is a national speaker, trainer, and coach with a 16 year background  in fundraising, marketing, and talent management.  She’s a supernova on any stage and platforms due to her charismatic and candid delivery. It doesn’t matter if she’s speaking about philanthropy, living your most authentic life, or diversity, the energy she brings to the stage is always entertaining and edifying.

Kishshana is an adjunct professor at Baruch College and Long Island University,  Certified Fundraising Executive, a BoardSource Certified Governance Trainer (CGT) and an AFP Master Trainer.  When an organization wants to grow, find and retain people on their team, raise money, and more she is the philanthropic fairy godmother they have on speed dial. Her work isn’t limited to organizations, she also coaches women entrepreneurs.

Kishshana is a NYC girl and mother of one wonderful teenage daughter. In her spare time she’s listening to R&B, reading, serving her community and finding new fabulous clothes to fill up her wardrobe.

Day-Two Opening Keynote Presenters: Beth Johnson, Gail Letts and Claiborne Mason

Women in Philanthropy: A Force to be Reckoned With

This session will explore the often-overlooked role women play in today’s world of philanthropy. Gail Letts will discuss recent changes in women’s wealth and why women are now a prime segment for nonprofit organizations. Beth Johnson will report on the current trends of women in philanthropy and why traditional donor engagement practices need to change to better reach this segment. Claiborne Mason will present a case study of an innovative way to target women donors and prospects.

Beth Johnson, Founding Principal, Virginia Non-Profit Associates, LLC.
Beth has more than twenty-five years of non-profit experience, including leadership roles as an Assistant Director of Development of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Program Coordinator, and Director of Development. In 2015, she co-founded a consulting firm Virginia Non-Profit Associates, LLC. She enjoys working with various organizations to help them maximize current resources and explore new opportunities. Her “in the trenches experiences” help organizations become more efficient and more effective.

Gail L. Letts, President and CEO – Letts Consulting LLC
Gail has more than 30 years of leadership & strategic planning experience & is President/CEO of Letts Consulting LLC, focusing on programs and projects to support the advancement & growth of women.  In 2017, Letts was recognized by the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities with the Humanitarian Award, was honored by the Metropolitan Business League with their annual Leadership Award & was named 2017 Person of the Year by the Richmond Times Dispatch.  She has also been named by the Risk Management Association as Business Person of the Year, was named by Virginia Lawyer’s Media as one of Virginia’s Most Influential Women, & was recognized by Style Weekly as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful & Influential Women.

Claiborne Mason, President, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls
For almost 20 years Claiborne worked in marketing and advertising before co-founding a strategic consultancy. She later founded C.S. Mason Consulting, a firm dedicated to serving the nonprofit community. This led to an opportunity to serve as Interim CEO at United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. She entered her current role in June 2012.

Closing Keynote Presenter, Steven Shattuck

Our closing keynote presentation, Robots Make Bad Fundraisers – How Nonprofits Can Maintain the Heart in the Digital Age, will feature returning favorite Steven Shattuck, Chief Engagement Officer at Bloomerang, which helps nonprofit organizations to reach, engage and retain the advocates they depend on to achieve their vision for a better world.

In some ways, we’re in a golden age of fundraising. There have never been more ways to capture attention, rally supporters, generate revenue, and measure fundraising performance than there are today. The accessibility of this technology has also never been greater, even to the smallest charities.

But with all the software, tools, apps and intelligence available to us, why has fundraising performance stagnated? Has technology actually gotten in the way of building a personal connection with our supporters?

In this session, we’ll explore ways to apply time-tested principles of philanthropy to the modern technology available to fundraisers — with the goal of keeping the donors we already have, inspiring new donors to give, and maintaining the sanity of our team members.

A prolific writer and speaker, Steven curates Bloomerang’s sector-leading educational content, and hosts their weekly webinar series which features the top thought-leaders in the nonprofit sector. He got his start in the nonprofit sector producing fundraising videos and other digital content for organizations like Butler University, Girl Scouts, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the American Heart Association. Steven volunteers his time on the Project Work Group of the Fundraising Effectiveness Project and the Study Fundraising Steering Group at the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth University. He is also an AFP Center for Fundraising Innovation (CFI) committee member.

Steven has contributed content to the National Council of Nonprofits, AFP, NTEN and Nonprofit Hub, and is a frequent conference speaker, having spoken at AFP International, NAYDO, Cause Camp, ADRP, the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference, and Planet Philanthropy to name a few. He is a co-author of Fundraising Principles and Practice: Second Edition.

In 2015, he co-founded Launch Cause, a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping emerging nonprofit organizations in the Indianapolis area enhance the impact of their work.

Recipient of the David Letterman Scholarship, Steven graduated with honors from Ball State University in 2006 with a degree in Telecommunications and Creative Writing. He resides in Indianapolis with his wife, son and daughter.