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Thursday 11 May 2023 4:15pm

Sabrina Ragan

questions and answer 'Q'What were your roles prior to being Senior Development Manager at Otago?

I've spent over 20+ years in fundraising, most of which has been in the States, and prior to my arrival here in New Zealand nearly four years ago.

In my previous role, I served as the Vice President of Philanthropy for Cincinnati Museum Centre, a large, multi-museum complex housed in a historic Art Deco train station and National Historic Landmark. While there, I was responsible for planning and launching their very first campaign, and tasked with raising $75 million to help reimagine the museum experience.

Prior to that, I spent the majority of my time working with The Ohio State University, located in Columbus, Ohio, with an enrolment of over 60,000 students. During that time, I worked in a variety of roles including the Director of Annual Giving and the Senior Director of Development for the College of Medicine. While there, I was personally responsible for raising nearly $200 million to help support students and faculty, advance research outcomes, and develop or renovate capital projects. Further, I gained extensive experience with campaign fundraising during the University's $2.5 billion campaign.

I started my career as a student caller, asking alumni for gifts by phone while studying marine biology at the tertiary institution I attended many years ago. Upon completing my tertiary degree, this simple campus job led me to an opportunity to become a fundraising consultant in Nevada and California, which officially launched my career in philanthropy.

questions and answer 'Q'What is your role in a nutshell?

I am responsible for supporting a team of divisionally and campus-based Development Managers to build and maintain one-to-one engagement with alumni and donors who have the ability to make significant gifts to the University. This includes helping the Development Managers foster meaningful relationships with internal key-stakeholders as they are the storytellers for our University and vital to the relationship-building process with our potential donors. Further, I am committed to creating and maintaining robust business processes and appropriate measures for success.

questions and answer 'Q'What are your goals and visions for Development at Otago?

My greatest desire is for Development to help use philanthropy to advance the mission of the University of Otago. This includes everything from securing support for scholarships for talented students who might not otherwise be able to access a university education, to increasing our mission-led research capacity.

questions and answer 'Q'What do you see as Otago's unique strengths?

Alumni often speak of their unique experience while a student at this University. Instructors, environment and access to a valuable experience are often the driving factors, which makes it much easier to build an emotive philanthropic relationship. Gratitude for a meaningful student experience in the past is key to alumni giving in the future.

questions and answer 'Q'What excites you about philanthropy?

Philanthropy genuinely can, and does change the lives of those in our community – locally, nationally and internationally. Someone isn't just making a philanthropic gift; they are entering into a partnership with us to help express their greatest desires for our community.

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