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Should Major Gifts Be Staff or Volunteer Driven?

Thursday, May 12, 2016 10:00 am - 11:30 am  PT
In-person | San Francisco, CA

This page will help you register for the IN PERSON event at Foundation Center San Francisco.

REGISTER HERE if you want to attend the livestream.

This panel discussion will look at the pros and cons of cultivating and soliciting major donors through a staff or volunteer model, and success factors for approaching each model, as well as a hybrid major donor program. For Development Directors and staff, Executive Directors, and board members.

Panel orientation will be most appropriate for medium and larger nonprofit institutions ($2.5 million+ budgets).


Cori Stell is Deputy Director of Development at the ACLU of Northern California, where she's played a number of roles over the last 10 years. She has helped lead the organization through a successful capital campaign that raised more than $26 million, a significant increase in its annual contributed income, and a reorganization of many of its development strategies, including moving its individual giving program from one that was largely board and volunteer driven to a hybrid approach that now includes a staff-driven major gifts program.

Dennis McNally, Board Member, ACLU of Northern California, is an author whose biography of Jack Kerouac, Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation, and America, was published in 1979. He became the Grateful Dead’s authorized biographer in 1980, and the band’s publicist in in 1984, working on its behalf at the United Nations, the White House, and Congress, as well as every significant large performance venue in America. In 2002 he published A Long Strange Trip/The Inside History of the Grateful Dead, a New York Times best-seller.

As a result of encouraging the Dead’s Rex Foundation to make donations to the ACLU, in 1995 he joined the ACLU of Northern California’s Board, where he joined the Development Committee. Twenty-one years later, he remains there. In recent years he has also become Co-Chair of the Development Committee at the San Francisco Zen Center. Dennis’ third book, On Highway 61/Music, Race, and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom was published on October 14, 2014 and won the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson award for music writing from ASCAP.

Mark Lachman is currently Director of Major Gifts, Dignity Health, St. Mary’s Medical Center. He has 20 years experience in the medical, higher education and social service sectors. At California Pacific Medical Center, Mark was charged with creating a new subcommittee of the board that was responsible for broadening major gift solicitations from a small development committee to the entire board. This committee helped establish portfolios for all board members and several new fundraising policies, including a mandatory board giving level. As Chair of the San Francisco Zen Center Development Committee, Mark helped bring a similar volunteer-based major gift process to Zen Center.


Lisa Hoffman brings 25 years of experience and success to nonprofit fund and board development, facilitation, and coaching.

Grounded in practices of deep listening, respect, and collaboration, Lisa’s approach begins with clearly understanding an organization’s culture, needs and issues. Partnering with her clients, she determines how to effectively tackle challenges ranging from raising more money, to designing a dynamic and productive board-staff retreat, to helping executive directors, development professionals and board members hone their skills and fulfill their leadership potential. She then rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.


312 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94108

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