Office of Advancement
Office of Advancement

ALTogether Now

Vol. 92 – March 22, 2021

Scott Anderson, Deanna Bennett, Karen Bertrand, Michelle Fuko, Stephen Hornsby, Leigh Kalin


photo of Michelle Fuko

By Michelle Fuko, Associate Vice-Principal, Development

Fundraising is a Team Sport

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the last 11 weeks have flown by at a tremendous speed. There are days where I feel like I have been here forever, and days where I still feel brand new.

 My three months have mostly been spent observing and learning. For example, I can tell without a shadow of a doubt that the commitment, loyalty, and love that Advancement staff have for Queen’s is matched in equal amounts by its alumni and donor community. I say this generally and in recognition of those alumni whose experience was less than ideal, but who still have hope of creating a better future for the next generation of students. I can say with certainty that the institutional leadership supports the work of Advancement and that our academic leadership is also invested in increasing donor support to the cause. Most of the team members I have spoken with understand and desire change, particularly in how we approach development as a donor-centred practice.

I came to Queen’s with a vision for a high-performing, best-in-class, industry-leading development shop.  And after my first few months, I believe we can make this vision a reality. To do that, we need to reinforce a culture that celebrates wins and learns from failures – together. Fundraising is a team sport, and we can only get better if we work side by side.

We also need to explore new ideas, experiment, innovate, and be prepared to take some risks. We need to have the courage to make mistakes in this endeavour – because we will – but there will also be huge gains. If we truly want to be leaders in our industry, we need to be ask hard questions about why and how we are doing things and offer up alternatives in equal measure. We do a lot of things right, and it is just as important that we acknowledge and retain those practices as it is to offer up new ones. Examining our practices is the first step in doing this.

Along our journey toward becoming a top-notch development shop, we are going to explore how we measure our work, to drive results in the short term, but also the long term. We will hone the skills, knowledge, processes, and tools needed to support this goal. We will develop consistent data-driven tools to help decision-making and create consistency of practice as much as possible, while still celebrating the uniqueness of each unit. We will be ambitious and forward-looking as we develop a strong pipeline of gifts and of donors that will allow us to grow our fundraising results year over year. We will ensure how we measure our work appropriately reflects what we've done and what our strategic focus should be. Ultimately, our philosophy of fundraising-- making giving easy and joyful-- will drive our practice, as well as the tools and systems that support it. And of course, recognizing that we are the connective glue that binds our alumni and donors to our institution, we will support our academic partners in creating transformational ideas and then help bring these ideas to donors. Perhaps most importantly, we are going to have a lot of fun while doing it!

Like every unit in Advancement, our team is in the midst of our annual planning to identify our high-level objectives and the tactics that support them. Simultaneously, I will be working on the Development strategic plan which will dovetail with Forward, Together. I look forward to sharing this with everyone in Advancement so that our strategic direction is understood and embraced by our entire team. After all, when I say “team sport,” I mean it in the truest sense of the phrase. Development can only succeed through the continued hard work, collaboration, and support that the Advancement units provide. We win together!

In the meantime, never hesitate to reach out to me with any thoughts or questions you may have. This is not my plan, this is our plan, and I value and appreciate your input and ideas.

Advancement Value Statements

By Kate Bearse, Executive Assistant, Office of the Vice-Principal (Advancement)

To operationalize our values, we want to clarify what we believe and hold important by identifying specific observable behaviours or actions for each value. The following list of action statements was created based on the values conversations units had throughout January and February during our values socializing phase. Please review the list and choose your top three for each value.  The survey will close Apr. 9.

Building a Better Workplace - Dream presentations and next steps

At the end of the Dream Stage, staff laid out their visions for the future. The resounding message throughout the Building a Better Workplace presentations was the desire for a hybrid model. We also heard consistent requests for a collective commitment to strategies around the following five themes:

  • Collaboration
  • Culture development
  • Employee wellness
  • Flexibility
  • Technology

Having the essential elements, we can now move into the Design Phase.   In order to do this ALT would like to invite volunteers to be part of one of five working groups -- Collaboration, Culture Development, Employee Wellness, Flexibility, and Technology -- to develop an action plan about the "how to" and the "what to." This is where the rubber hits the road so to speak – how to take dreams and turn them into reality!

ALT would still like to make decisions by the end of April - so the next four to five weeks will be busy.  Each working group will:

  • Develop well-defined, incremental, and achievable goals to take Advancement from our current state to where we want to be.
  • Engage colleagues and other stakeholders as appropriate.
  • The Flexibility and Collaboration groups will also articulate specific needs related to physical space.
  • Deliver a presentation to ALT on Apr. 30 that outlines a clear plan and the decisions that ALT needs to make.

The following principles should guide each working group:

  • Remote-first philosophy whereby processes and principles place priority on asynchronous communication flows and location-independent processes.
  • Final decisions for all design elements lies with ALT.
  • Context that should inform the work of the working groups includes Advancement's values, and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.

Each working group will have an ALT sponsor, who will not be a member of the working group but can be used as a sounding board, to make connections with experts across campus, sharpen plans/objectives, etc.

If you are interested in being part of a working groups, please register to volunteer by Friday, Mar. 26.  ALT will review the list of volunteers to ensure there is balance and representation from across Advancement, and may make some changes based on that review. All volunteers will be notified Monday, Mar. 29 about their place on a working group, and the lists of working group members will be shared in ALTogether Now the week of Apr. 5.

If you are unable to participate in these working groups and have input, ideas or feedback to share, you are strongly encouraged to connect with the relevant working group.

A gift for you graphicSomething to support you while working remotely

Last week was the one-year anniversary of working remotely.
One year later we are still moving forward, together.
We hope you enjoy the small gift to support you while we continue to work apart.
From ALT


If you did not receive a package from with office supplies and treats please reach out to Kate Bearse.

Key to Success graphicJobs with Advancement

We need your recruitment help. Know great talent that would be a good addition to our team? If so, please promote the vacancies below with your networks and let’s find some amazing new team members.

Applications (including a cover letter and résumé) must be submitted through CareerQ. For additional information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla or the hiring manager for the position you are interested.


Available Position:

Development Coordinator, Faculty of Health Sciences Faculty of Health Sciences March  22, 2021 07