In her note to staff on May 19, Karen referenced the current university deficit and the related mitigation strategies that were announced that morning. In the note she said, “Do we have challenges ahead of us? Yes. Will these new financial pressures require change? Yes, these mitigation strategies are going to push us to make difficult decisions. And yes, this may mean that some things are set aside.” Not exactly happy news for the weekend we kick off summer.

I have been thinking a lot about those words and what I and the team I manage can do right now to mitigate current and future financial pressures. I have also been thinking about these words attributed to management guru Peter Drucker: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” With these two quotations in mind, I asked myself this question: What would a future without challenges look like?

It would likely be pretty boring.

So, I have a challenge for all of us. Let’s – as far as we are able – predict our own future by creating it. Let’s make at least some of the challenges ahead of us ones that we have set for ourselves. Let’s, as Karen said set aside some things. But – and this is a big but – let’s also see if we can still do at least some of them.

Here’s just one idea I think might help us do that.

As we all know, artificial intelligence has rapidly emerged as a game-changing technology. I believe it has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach our work in Advancement. I would like to start a community of practice within Advancement to explore these possibilities.

Let me be clear. I am not proposing a project with working groups and committees or a program with processes and deadlines. This isn’t about creating more work, it’s about understanding the work we are already doing with AI, together. I am proposing that those among us who are using AI, or those who are interested in trying it out, start sharing information to help us all understand what works to save time and money and what’s a waste of time. 

If you are interested in being part of a community of AI practice within Advancement, please send me a message. If there is enough interest, I will set up a group on Teams. This could serve as a space to exchange tips, techniques, and ideas related to AI, specifically focusing on time-saving strategies and improving our workflows. The only obligation would be a willingness to document your own AI journey.

When I think about our work in Advancement, any number of potential uses for AI come to mind. Here are just a few:

  1. Donor Data Management: How can we use AI to automate data entry, cleansing, and integration processes to ensure accurate and up-to-date donor information?
  2. Prospect Identification and Prioritization: How can AI algorithms help us identify potential donors with a higher likelihood of giving? How can AI assist in prioritizing prospects based on factors like wealth indicators, philanthropic interests, or engagement history?
  3. Personalized Donor Engagement: How can AI be leveraged to personalize communication strategies at scale, delivering tailored messages, content, and fundraising appeals to individual donors based on their preferences and interests?
  4. Streamlining Event Planning and Management: How can AI streamline event planning tasks, such as venue selection, attendee registration, and logistics coordination, to save time and improve the overall event experience?
  5. Predictive Analytics for Fundraising: How can AI-driven predictive analytics help us forecast donor behavior and giving trends? How can this information be used to optimize fundraising strategies and maximize the impact of campaigns?
  6. Automation of Administrative Processes: How can AI automation be employed to reduce manual administrative tasks, such as report generation, data analysis, or gift acknowledgment processes, freeing up time for more strategic activities?
  7. Chatbot Assistance: How can AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants be utilized to handle routine inquiries from donors, alumni, or other constituents, providing quick responses and freeing up staff time for more complex interactions? Or could we simply feed in frequently asked questions and appropriate messaging and have ChatGPT generate a response?
  8. Content Generation and Curation: How can AI help us generate compelling content for newsletters, blog posts, social media updates, or fundraising campaigns, providing ideas, suggestions, or even automated content drafting to save time and enhance engagement?
  9. Leveraging AI for Social Media Engagement: How can we harness the power of AI to optimize our social media engagement and outreach? How can AI algorithms help in identifying relevant trends, generating compelling content, and automating social media scheduling to enhance our online presence and connect with our audience more effectively?
  10. Ethical Considerations and Data Privacy: How can we address ethical considerations and data privacy when using AI in donor engagement, prospect research, or data analysis? What measures should be in place to ensure compliance and maintain trust?

These are just a few thoughts to kick off a discussion. Send me a message if you are interested. 

Let’s collaborate, share experiences, and gather valuable insights to tackle these challenges, together.

A glimpse into the world of: Digital Engagement 

By Julia Bryan, Director, Digital Engagement and Special Projects

If your May has been anything like mine, it’s come in like a lion and is leaving like a frenzied albatross trying to make an emergency take off in a swamp (this is a The Rescuers deep cut). 

It seems like across the organization, there hasn’t been a lot of time to catch our breath. As my team and I have been working through our PDPs, I realized this is a perfect opportunity to remind everyone who we are, what we do, and share our work. 

Read more about the impactful work our team is doing in Digital Engagement!

Advancement Enhancement Day: building connections, fostering growth 

Join us for a highly anticipated event, Advancement Enhancement Day, on Tuesday, June 13. This engaging and interactive day has been carefully planned by the Advancement Enhancement Planning Committee to provide a unique opportunity for all Advancement staff to connect and collaborate across departments.

We are thrilled to announce our keynote speaker, Dane Jensen from Third Factor, who will share insights on building resilience and navigating challenges in the workplace. This thought-provoking presentation promises to inspire and empower you.

Afterward, we invite you to join us for lunch at Ban Righ Dining Hall, where you can fuel up and engage with colleagues from various teams. Following lunch, get ready for an afternoon of exciting team-building activities that will foster teamwork, creativity, and camaraderie.

To ensure your participation, please register by Tuesday, June 6. Also, feel free to dress casually or show your Queen's University spirit by wearing your tricolour attire! 

For any inquiries or additional information, please reach out to Bianca Bruni

We look forward to seeing you at Advancement Enhancement Day!

Professional portraits 

Taking advantage of the fact that many staff members will be on campus during Advancement Enhancement week, there will be an opportunity for staff to have a professional portrait taken of themselves. Updated professional portraits are good for communications and as a department, we’re looking to integrate photographs of staff into new interactive organization charts, which play a crucial role in providing a visual representation of our organization’s structure and help foster connections by putting faces to names as relationships are built. 

We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity and sign up for one of these sessions. 

If you have any further questions, please email to Callum Linden

Employee spotlight

The Employee Spotlight celebrates the arrival of our new and existing staff by profiling responses they share through a fun and informal survey that will help us get to know them better. Be sure to review these profiles and use these fun facts and tidbits to find commonalities, embrace differences, and spark a conversation. 

This week, we spotlight Queen’s Student Alumni Association’s (QSAA) new President, Tatyana Grandmaitre. Learn more about what she is most looking forward to in her new role! 

Jobs 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 more information on this posting, please reach out to either Carla Ferreira Rodrigues or the hiring manager for the position you are interested in.


Position Competition number Closing date Grade Type
Executive Director, Development, Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science J0523-0494 June 18, 2023 N/A Permanent (continuing)


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