Danielle V. Minson — Raising the Bar
Jewish Federation’s Kila Hanrahan Named President of AFP Cincinnati
I am so proud to share that Kila Hanrahan has been newly named as the President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in Cincinnati. What an honor for Kila and for us here at Federation. Kila will bring more wisdom to Federation, and share our wisdom with other fundraising professionals. It’s truly a win-win. Congratulations, Kila! —Danielle
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“I really love fundraising, and I’m really passionate about the profession,” said Kila Hanrahan. Hanrahan is the Agency Development Officer at Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, serving as Director of Development at Jewish Family Service. “I love my work and the mission of the Jewish Federation. But I also love what fundraising is as a whole, no matter the organization.”
Hanrahan has been working in development for nearly a decade and has recently been named President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Cincinnati Chapter (AFP Cincinnati). “I was overwhelmed and incredibly flattered when I was first approached with the opportunity,” she recalled.
Hanrahan has been a member of AFP Cincinnati since 2014. “I joined initially as a way to further develop my career. As a new fundraiser, it felt like a good opportunity to find a mentor and learn more about the crazy world that is fundraising.”
She said she first started getting involved with educational programming, webinars, and networking opportunities AFP Cincinnati provided its members, and before long she was being asked to sit on committees and take on other tasks.
“I was involved with National Philanthropy Day, which is an annual event where we honor donors, philanthropists, and volunteers who make the Cincinnati philanthropic community so amazing. Then I was invited to sit on the board, and when you start saying ‘yes’ to opportunities, you keep getting asked to do more things.”
Hanrahan agreed to become president in 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic came along. In 2020, she served as president-elect, and will serve as immediate past-president in 2022. She said the first few weeks of her presidency have been interesting, as the organization is working to find ways to engage members at a time when in-person gatherings are not allowed.
“I think one of the number one things we do is provide connection. It’s been a really tough year and we’re all a little bit isolated, and having an opportunity to come together virtually and connect with other fundraisers across the greater Cincinnati community to commiserate, share successes, and talk about how we’re pivoting our events, has been invaluable for members.”
Hanrahan said she loves her role as president because it gives her the chance to see the nonprofit community as a whole, instead of focused only on what is happening at the Federation. “The Federation has done an amazing job pivoting, innovating, going virtual, and finding ways to connect and steward donors. But I’m also getting to see what Playhouse in the Park does, what the Greater Cincinnati Foundation is doing.”
“I can also sing the Federation’s praises. I think we’re doing such amazing things, and we’re seeing such great successes, that I’m able to go out into my peer groups in the community and say, ‘Have you thought of this? You know, this has worked for us.’ And I can also bring back ideas I see from other organizations.”
Hanrahan said the idea of nonprofit organizations being in competition with each other is an outdated idea, and that together these organizations can help create a better community for everyone. “I think a lot of fundraisers and nonprofit leaders now are really seeing the value in collaboration. Just look at how the community responded to the COVID-19 Regional Response Fund. The United Way and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation got together and raised $7.3 million in emergency relief for more than 260 nonprofit organizations in our area.”
She said her favorite part about her work as a development professional is helping to make an impact in the community. “We get to connect donors to their passions and improve our communities. I think that is such an amazing gift we, as fundraisers, are given.”
In addition to her duties as president of AFP Cincinnati, Hanrahan said she is looking forward to helping inspire and mentor the next generation of development professionals. “The average tenure of a fundraiser is only 18 months. I love that I’m able to mentor and bring educational and professional development opportunities to people who are starting in the field, to help them be the best fundraisers they can be. That’s how we make improvements in the organizations in our communities—if talented, passionate people stay on board and bring on more talented passionate people as well.”
In 2020 Hanrahan earned her Certified Fundraising Executive credential—a goal she said she achieved only because of her involvement in AFP Cincinnati. She said it took five years of work to even qualify to sit for the exam. “When I passed it was really exciting, and it’s not something I probably would have ever accomplished without AFP Cincinnati and the continuing education and the support system that they provide. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am at in my career without AFP Cincinnati behind me.”
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