Regional Conference

Conference Summary

This year’s Regional Conference featured a kickoff session on "Data and Donor-Centered Fundraiser" with nationally-recognized innovator Nick Ellinger. The following week, the conference continued with strategies, tactics, and a process to tackle “Digital Fundraising 20|20.” Week three focused on stewarding donors throughout the annual gift cycle with “Engagement Beyond the Ask.” Week four wrapped up with a panel of area non-profit leaders exploring their experiences through “CEO as Fundraiser-in-Chief.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic presented challenges, our virtual conference offered the very best in professional development and educational innovation, as well as new ways to connect with sponsors and exhibitors.

If you were unable to attend, you can still access all four weeks of the recorded sessions for an affordable fee of just $39. You can earn CFRE credit and it also includes a PDF copy of Nick Ellinger’s latest book!


Nick Ellinger is known to many in the fundraising field for his writings and thought leadership in donor centric, data driven fundraising, and non-profit marketing and branding. In recent years, he has been particularly focused on the changes non-profit organizations are undergoing in the new millennium.

Nick joined the Moore Group in January 2020 as Chief Brand Officer. Before that, he was DonorVoice’s VP of Marketing Strategy, working with organizations like Catholic Relief Services, Share our Strength | No Kid Hungry, and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation to look at their fundraising with a different lens. He also edited and contributed to The Agitator blog and recently wrote a book called The New Nonprofit to challenge fundraising norms. He developed his direct marketing muscle running Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s direct marketing program for a decade. This is where he gained his passion is to help the nonprofit sector break through the 2% of GDP individual giving ceiling we’ve seen for decades.

Dorene Ocamb is the Chief Development Officer at Armed Services YMCA, where she is responsible for creating and implementing plans to expand financial growth and development for the top-rated military nonprofit supporting junior enlisted service members and their families. Prior to joining the organization, Ocamb served as Acting National Vice President of Marketing & Development for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. She has more than 15 years of experience in communications, marketing and development, and holds degrees from Texas A&M University School of Law and Indiana University Bloomington.  


Scott VanderLey is the current Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy at Moore DM Group.

Scott leads the Moore digital practice, helping to define digital vision and transformation across the enterprise. Prior to joining Moore, Scott headed up the client strategy and analytics groups at Masterworks, and also served a seven-year stint leading Russ Reid's digital practice. Previously, he oversaw World Vision's digital marketing efforts as part of a decade-long tenure that included leadership roles over disaster response marketing, DRTV, retail and catalog marketing. 

Lisa Ireland is the current Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Rochester Museum & Science Center. 

Ireland, who holds a B.A. in communications from St. John Fisher College, has been a formative voice in the region’s non-profit community for over 20 years. Her previous roles include Director of Donor Relations & Stewardship, Rochester Institute of Technology; Executive Director, United Way of Orleans County; Executive Director, Genesee-Orleans Ministry of Concern; and Senior Director of Development, Hospice of Orleans.

In addition to her professional experience in non-profit leadership and fundraising, Ireland has served as President of the Brockport Central School District Board of Education, Vice President of the Monroe County School Board Association, Vice President of the Children’s Advocacy Center Foundation Board of Directors, and as a member of the NYS Commissioner of Education Roundtable. Ireland sees her role as VP, Institutional Advancement at RMSC as a continuation of her work advocating for youth and education in the Greater Rochester Area.

Meredith Dragon, President and CEO, Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

Meredith became CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester in April of 2016. She served from 2009 to 2016 as Executive Director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts. Prior to that Meredith was the Assistant Director at the Jewish Federation of Jacksonville, Florida for 13 years. Meredith lived and worked in Israel at the beginning of her career for Britain’s Joint Israel Appeal.

Federation programs and services include the Levine Center to End Hate, CHAI (Center for Holocaust Awareness and Information), Community Relations (JCRC), Jewish Education & Engagement, Women’s Philanthropy, Roc City Jews, and a people-to-people partnership with Modi’in, Israel.

Meredith has worked to bring donors, agencies, synagogues, and institutions together for the greater good of the community. Meredith is married to Ze’ev and is the very proud mother of three boys, Matan, Ori, and Etai.

Curt Long, President and CEO, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra

Curt has served as President and CEO of the Rochester Philharmonic since 2017. He has led changes in marketing and fundraising to solidify the orchestra’s financial and community position, and partnered with the orchestra’s music director to advocate for innovative programming.

Curt came to Rochester from the Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) where he spent nine years as President. During his tenure, the ASO made its Carnegie Hall debut, released a recording, hired a new music director, and expanded education programs. Prior to the ASO, Curt held similar positions with the Dayton Philharmonic and the Delaware Symphony. A seasoned and respected orchestra manager, he has reviewed grants for the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as arts grant makers in Alabama, Ohio, and Michigan. He also contributes to, a blog commenting on the state of the orchestra field.

Jaime Saunders, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Rochester

At United Way, Jaime oversees a team of nearly 100 full-time, part-time and regional staff members dedicated to making a positive impact in our community. United Way’s mission is to unite the good will and resources of the Greater Rochester community so that everyone can thrive.

The organization supports a broad network of human service organizations, community initiatives and innovative strategies to address our most pressing local challenges with real, impactful solutions.

Prior to joining United Way, Jaime served as the President and CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center. Her nonprofit career includes Foodlink, Center for Governmental Research, Villa of Hope, and the Salvation Army. She holds a Master of Arts in Public Administration from Maxwell School of Public Citizenship at Syracuse University and degrees in Business and Sociology from Whittier College in California.


All registrants will receive a complimentary electronic copy of Nick Ellinger’s latest book, The New Nonprofit: Six Models to Raise More Money and Accomplish More Mission


2020 Conference Session Information


Nick Ellinger explains how data driven does NOT mean the end of relationship building with your donors. Learn how today’s rich data can be extremely valuable in enhancing your understanding of your donors’ mindsets.

Nick promises to be topical and up-to-the-moment. He’ll grapple with the issues on your mind; COVID-19 in some ways has enhanced trends that have already been developing. Building resilient fundraising will you get through for this tough time and those times to come.

1 CFRE Credit


Log on and join Dorene Ocamb and Scott VanderLey to learn about digital Do’s & Don’t during this time of economic uncertainty and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to this unprecedented time, there was a digital transformation well under way. A world turned upside down reveals opportunities and perhaps accelerates change.

This is a great chance to set aside an hour to learn, to consider the silver-lining lessons we are forced to confront in times of change.

1 CFRE Credit


Lisa Ireland of the Rochester Museum & Science Center will focus on tactics for engaging donors throughout the gift cycle, not just during solicitation. How can we bring donors closely into the work they help us accomplish?

Beyond the event, gala or golf outing, there’s opportunity. After a mailing, an email blast, or a social media campaign, there can be more. A face-to-face visit? Tour of your facilities? A webinar? As generous donors become more engaged in the work and mission of your organization, learn to move beyond short-term successes to life-long relationships.

1 CFRE Credit


Moderator Gretchen Wood, CFRE, and local non-profit leaders, including Curt Long (RPO), Meredith Dragon (Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester), and Jaime Saunders (United Way of Greater Rochester), give attendees a snapshot of the current situation for non-profits in the region, and what might be ahead. What does the future look like for all our organizations? What are keys to success? Is it collaboration across agencies?

1 CFRE Credit


2020 Sponsors

Silver Sponsors


Bronze Sponsors



Center for Community Engagement
City Blue Imaging