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Critical Conversation | Topic: What Keeps NonProfits Up At Night

Thursday, February 8, 2024 (12:15 PM - 1:30 PM) (EST)


We're going right to the source to bring you answers with a critical conversation featuring four dynamic nonprofit leaders.


Laura Rahman
VP of Annual Giving
Reading Is Fundamental

Ellen Roeder
Chief Development Officer
The Livestrong Foundation

Amy Spears
Senior Director,
Direct Marketing
Boys Ranch,
Founded By Cal Farley

Heather Thompson
Executive Director
Table to Table

It's a discussion so important, DMAW has decided to make it a FREE Virtual Roundtable as a service to the nonprofit sector.

DMAW President Dan Sonners will moderate this interactive panel which will tackle the concerns driving countless meetings inside nonprofits and the issues responsible for consternation at all levels of organizations.


  • Breaking the "scarcity mindset" that plagues nonprofits, boards, and donors
  • How to grow monthly giving programs
  • Leveraging AI to make nonprofits more effective and efficient
  • Building a culture that increases employee retention
  • Getting ahead of the coming Boomer "wealth transfer"
  • Plus, so much more!

However, this critical conversation will feature much more than just talking about problems as our leaders will also share uplifting stories of past challenges they've overcome.

We'll also be inviting special guests and members of the community to turn their cameras on to offer advice, ask questions, and discuss the challenges they are facing.


  • Nonprofit executives and leaders who want to learn what challenges other organizations are facing
  • Entry and mid-level non-profit professionals who want to establish themselves as problem solvers in their organizations
  • Consultants, agencies, and other vendors looking for a firsthand perspective of issues leading nonprofits are facing
  • Fundraisers at all levels who enjoy listening to fascinating conversations about fundraising

Register today and join us on February 8 from 12:15 - 1:30 pm.You might solve some problems of your own and put an end to those sleepless nights!


Full participation in Critical Conversations: What Keeps Nonprofits Up At Night is applicable for 1.25 points in Category 1.B - Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.

Laura Rahman, VP of Annual Giving, Reading Is Fundamental

Laura Rahman is a highly accomplished fundraising professional currently serving as the Senior Director of Individual Giving at Reading Is Fundamental. With a career spanning over 18 years, Laura has honed her expertise in planning and executing diverse fundraising programs to achieve ambitious goals and foster sustainable growth.

Prior to joining RIF, Laura played a pivotal role in establishing and leading the individual giving program for The Arc of the United States.

In her current position, Laura continues to bring her wealth of experience to drive positive change for children’s literacy.

Based in Washington, DC, Laura is not only a dedicated fundraising professional but also an avid traveler and book lover. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and their fluffy dog, Emma.

Ellen Roeder, Chief Development Officer, The Livestrong Foundation

Ellen serves as the Chief Development Officer at the Lance Armstrong Livestrong Foundation, leveraging over two decades of dedicated experience to advance the missions of charitable organizations. With a diverse background encompassing experience in the for-profit corporate sector, agency work, and non-profit roles, Ellen is uniquely positioned to drive positive change. Throughout her career, Ellen has played pivotal roles in development, advocacy, fundraising, and cause marketing. She possesses a strategic mindset that has led to successful collaborations with Fortune 10, 50, and 100 companies. Her impressive portfolio includes partnerships with industry leaders such as United Healthcare, The United States Mint, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Walgreens, Amazon, Home Depot, and Phillips. Ellen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wyoming and is currently working towards earning her CFRE, showcasing her commitment to education and knowledge in her impactful journey within the realm of charitable endeavors. Outside of her professional pursuits, Ellen enjoys the outdoors, with her favorite hobbies including traveling, skiing, running, and camping.

Amy Spears, Senior Director, Direct Marketing, Boys Ranch, Founded By Cal Farley

Amy Spears is a dedicated and accomplished professional with an extensive 23-year career as a fundraiser in the nonprofit sector. Amy began her nonprofit career with Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in the Database Marketing department in 2001. She was promoted through a series of positions of increasing responsibility including management, data analytics, fundraising and gift processing before becoming Senior Director of Direct Marketing in January 2013.

In July of 2017, Amy took a position in the Donor Engagement department at Heifer International. She worked on direct mail campaigns with the goal of engaging donors to support Heifer’s mission through donations.

In 2022, Amy returned to Boys Ranch to resume her role as Senior Director. Her skills in direct mail and donor engagement have not only contributed to the financial success of these organizations but have also forged lasting connections with supporters who share a common vision for transforming lives.

Amy’s dedication to the nonprofit sector extends beyond the office. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Direct Marketing Association of Washington DC, The Nonprofit Alliance and the Rotary Club of Amarillo.

With a proven track record of consistently exceeding fundraising goals and a genuine passion for creating a better world, Amy continues to be a driving force in the nonprofit sector, leaving a lasting legacy of compassion, impact and positive change.

Heather Thompson, Executive Director, Table to Table

Heather Thompson is the Executive Director of Table to Table, a NJ nonprofit that bridges the gap between food waste and food insecurity by “rescuing” fresh food – the equivalent of ~25 million meals each year – and delivers it directly to pantries, shelters, community kitchens, and other partner agencies supporting food-insecure individuals and families. For the past 23 years, she has worked in the nonprofit sector to create growth strategies, build meaningful relationships with partners, donors and volunteers, and amplify the voices of under-represented community members. Prior to joining Table to Table in January 2024, she served as the first-ever Chief Development Officer for Norwescap, a comprehensive anti-poverty nonprofit in New Jersey; her career has also included roles at Eva’s Village in Paterson, NJ, Park Avenue Armory in NYC, and Citymeals-on-Wheels in NYC. She has also provided bro-bono consulting support to a number of nonprofits in New York and New Jersey on development, marketing, communications, community engagement, and strategic planning.

Heather holds a Bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan and professional certificates in fundraising, nonprofit leadership, and nonprofit finance from NYU and Cornell. She serves as President of the Board of Trustees for the Public Library in her hometown of Bloomfield, NJ, and chairs the Nonprofit Roundtable for NJ’s Morris County Chamber of Commerce.

Virtual - Zoom Meeting
Event Contact
Angelica Sullivan
(703) 689-3629
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Thursday, February 8, 2024 (12:15 PM - 1:30 PM) (EST)
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