Nicholas A. Stafford
Nicholas A. Stafford (“Nick”), is a native of Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of basketball. He attended the University of Dayton, where he received a full scholarship to play Division I basketball.
Nick has worked in advancement for over 4 years and began his career as a development professional at the University of Minnesota. He currently serves as the Director of Development for Academic Affairs for the University of Cincinnati Foundation. In his current role, he supports the fundraising efforts for diversity and inclusion across the university. This position affords Nick the opportunity to work with a diverse pool of alumni, and allows him to be both donor centric and student centered.
During his spare time Nick enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports, and listening to good music.
Nick’s interview was conducted by AADO member Corrine Grant:
What advice would you give a fundraising professional new to the field?
Be adaptable. We, as fundraisers, are on the donor’s timeline and they will tell you when they are ready to make a gift. Second, have a quick elevator speech. After sharing your brief story then your focus is listening to the donor share his/her story. Lastly, always trust yourself.
What drew you to the fundraising profession?
I was not drawn to fundraising, as I did not know it was a career. I moved to Minnesota in 2012 and was doing some serious job hunting and networking in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. While at an informational meeting, this individual took interest in me and thought I would be a good fundraiser for his regional team. This person would later be my boss and mentor. He taught me everything I know about advancement. I believe I was just at the right place at the right time.
What has your experience been like as a person of color in the field of development/advancement?
I have been very blessed and fortunate since entering this profession, so my overall experience has been great. But, I still face some hurdles being one of few minorities on our advancement team. Sometimes people of color face daily challenges as we do not see others who look like us in advancement, especially in leaderships roles, my goal is to one day run a successful foundation to provide opportunities for people of color and be a mentor.
What is the best advice you have received related to your career?
My first day on the job my supervisor said “Do not compare yourself to anyone else because they are not you, you have to develop your own style, so just be you”.
What is the legacy you wish to leave behind?
I’d like to leave a legacy of being a man, who did things the right way. I did not take any short cuts, was passionate, and worked hard and smart, while doing everything with a smile - like Magic Johnson.