baltimore Buildings
baltimore Buildings
baltimore Buildings
20NTC Session

First Time for Everything — Launching a Development Department


Even if it’s just the hire of one person, launching a development department is a major milestone for a nonprofit. Yet many organizations rush this crucial moment, hiring quickly and all too soon feeling the pain of poor planning. This often results in many false starts and much time wasted before fundraising finally becomes stable. But it can be easier.

In this panel, you’ll hear the experiences of four organizations that successfully built their fundraising team from the ground-up on the first try. From deciding what level to hire for, to figuring out CRM and other technology options, to managing the broad culture change that must happen, there’s an incredible amount of preparation and planning that is worth unpacking prior to posting a position for hire. You only get one first chance, and our goal is that in that first opportunity to build your team, your organization gets it right.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demystify the fundraising team-building process and its implications for the rest of your organization and budget
  • Understand how to correctly scope your first development hire for your organization’s budget, needs, and current performance
  • Take home a checklist of how to ensure your hiring process promotes a smooth transition into fundraising’s daily work

Target Audience

Executive Directors, Founders, Board Members, COOs, Operations Managers, Program Directors


Case StudyChange ManagementHROrg Culture


Justin Fyala

Executive Director

Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC

Since 2016, Justin Fyala has been proud to lead the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, DC, the voice of justice and equality for all in our nation’s capital, as Executive Director. With over 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, Mr. Fyala specializes in creating sustainable financial practices, fostering healthy developmental and organizational growth, and practicing inspirational staff management. Under his leadership, GMCW’s financial position is healthier than it has ever been in the 40-year history of the organization. Mr. Fyala has also focused on smart staff growth and has fostered a new era of inclusion and belonging within GMCW.

Prior to his appointment in Washington, DC, Mr. Fyala led the Windy City Gay Chorus and Treble Quire and the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago and served as President of the Chicago Fringe Festival Board of Directors. He holds a Master’s in Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University, studied voice at the University of North Texas, where he was a Priddy Fellow in Arts Leadership, and holds a Bachelor’s in Choral Music Education from the Pennsylvania State University, where he was a Willa C. Taylor Scholar. Mr. Fyala has previously worked for the artistic and operations departments of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Pittsburgh Opera, Aspen Musical Festival, Bella Voce, Dallas Opera, American Institute of Musical Study in Graz, Austria, and State College Centre for the Performing Arts as well as the vocal division of IMG Artists. He has worked as a professional stage manager, vocal coach, and caption engineer, has taught collegiate voice and choir and high school music and drama, and regularly serves as an adjudicator for domestic and international music competitions.

Mr. Fyala resides in Washington, DC with his spectacular partner Rich, wiener dog on stilts Daphne, and husky pup Fern. He lives by the motto: Ars longa, vita brevis!

Marisa Stubbs

Development and Communications Director

Critical Exposure

Marisa brings more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit administration, fundraising, youth development, program management, and curriculum development. Outside of a stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa, she has focused primarily on building the capacities of youth and small, community-based organizations in Washington, DC. Prior to Critical Exposure, Marisa served as Executive Director of Food For Life, a social enterprise and culinary job training program for DC youth that she founded in early 2011 (her secret power is making people love food they’ve hated most of their lives). At Critical Exposure, she’s most proud of rebuilding the Development/Communications team as well as a culture of trust and collaborative workflow with her coworkers.

Loree Lipstein

Founder + Principal

Thread Strategies

Loree Lipstein is Founder and Principal Consultant of Thread Strategies, a firm that provides comprehensive, hands-on development support to small and medium-sized nonprofits to build sustainable development departments. Thread helps partners create strategies that are rooted in reality and then assists in bringing those strategies to life by building systems to support, hiring staff to lead, and assisting in execution until processes are up and running.

An innovative and entrepreneurial leader, Loree brings more than a decade of experience in the nonprofit field to her work. Prior to founding Thread, Loree earned a Master’s of Business Administration at The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where she was a CASE Scholar focusing on social entrepreneurship and social impact. Before earning her graduate degree, Loree worked for the national nonprofit KaBOOM! as Manager of Corporate Partnerships, where she was responsible for securing and managing partnerships with Fortune 500 companies and large philanthropic foundations. Loree also worked as a Senior Campaign Manager at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s National Capital Area chapter, where she focused on special events and grassroots fundraising.

When Loree isn’t traveling around the globe (international travel is a passion), she resides in Washington, DC where she enjoys running, photography and spending time with friends and family.





March 26, 2020


10:30am – 11:45am

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