Senior Major Gifts Officer at the Center for American Progress (CAP)
Ashley Robinson, a DC transplant, is the current Senior Major Gifts Officer at the Center for American Progress (CAP). Prior to that, she was at Sierra Club for 3 years as the Asst. Advancement Director for the Eastern and Mid-Atlantic regions, raising mid-level major gifts. In this role, she also served on the Staff Equity Team and led the Advancement department’s Equity Team. While completing a Masters in Fundraising Management at Columbia, she served as a Development Coordinator for Columbia’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, supporting the Annual and Parents Funds. Ashley is currently the co-chair for AFP DC’s IDEA Committee and a member of AFP HQ’s IDEA Committee as well. In addition, she is a co-chair for 2019’s AADO Conference. Ashley is originally from Baltimore and attended Elon University for undergrad. She is also President and CEO of the Beyhive.
How did you get interested in the fundraising profession?
I knew that I wanted to someday start my own nonprofit and change the world, but I didn’t have an identifiably clear path on how to do so. I had done phonathons in college and a brief fundraising stint at a local organization right after graduating, but I was still grappling with how to pair my dream with a career. I started Googling nonprofit management graduate programs and stumbled across Columbia’s, which taught all the elements of fundraising. The rest was history, so to speak.
What is something you wish you knew early on in your fundraising career?
Fundraising, particularly major gifts fundraising, is hard and it’s okay if you’re not a rockstar fundraiser.
What is the one quality every fundraiser should have?
Tenacity. You’re going to hear far more nos than yeses but that makes the yes even sweeter.
What inspires you about the fundraising profession?
The policy people honestly. There are so many people doing a lot of amazing work that is quite literally changing the world and they often don’t receive the credit that they should. So it’s a constant source of motivation to make sure I do my part to get my colleagues the resources that they need. It’s also inspiring to be fundraising for progressive organizations in this climate, where things can feel helpless. I’m doing my small part to save the planet from the worst effects of climate change and fighting for healthcare. Provides me a lot of comfort.
How do you want to be remembered as a professional?
That I was a strong and solid partner for all of my colleagues and that I challenged my peers to not just follow the status quo of fundraising.