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Insights from My Journey as FRDNY Chair

Insights from My Journey as FRDNY Chair

Chapter Leadership Brief 5.17.24

by CJ Orr
Partner & President, Orr Group

Reflecting on my journey as the Chair of AFP-NYC's Fundraising Day in New York (FRDNY) and my six years on the board, I am proud of how our team and the community have shaped this event into a remarkable, record-breaking experience. Serving as Chair for two years has given me invaluable insights into what makes this day successful, engaging, and meaningful for fundraising professionals and the organizations they represent.

This year's FRDNY on June 14th will be our best. We anticipate the highest number of registrations in over five years and unprecedented participation from sponsors. We've expanded the scope of activities with more roundtables and mentorship opportunities, introduced a live podcast during the keynote session, and added a happy hour to round out a day of learning with camaraderie and joy.

Creating a Record-Breaking FRDNY
When I first took on the role of Chair, I was inspired by FRDNY's potential to bring nonprofit professionals together to learn, connect, and celebrate our shared mission. We’ve pushed the envelope each year to ensure this event meets and exceeds our community's expectations. My goal has been cultivating an environment where education and enjoyment go hand-in-hand. Over the years, I've learned that people retain knowledge more effectively when having fun. Therefore, we've intentionally incorporated engaging activities to ensure FRDNY remains an unforgettable experience: 

  • Live Podcast Keynote: Back by popular demand, we've included a live podcast during our morning keynote,
  • Happy Hour: For the first time, we’re concluding the day with a free happy hour. This allows participants to unwind and celebrate while discussing the day's highlights.
  • Expanded Roundtables and Mentorship Opportunities: We’ve curated a broader range of roundtables and mentorship sessions to ensure attendees find discussions relevant to their career stage and interests.
  • Increased Sponsorship Support: We've secured the most sponsorships in recent memory, a testament to the growing recognition of the event's value and impact.

A Grateful Goodbye and a Bright Future
This will be my last year as FRDNY Chair, and I couldn't be prouder of what we have achieved. It's been an honor to lead and collaborate with an incredible team of dedicated professionals. I’m excited to pass the baton to Erica Joy West, who has expertly managed sponsorships for the last two years. Erica brings unmatched enthusiasm and vision to the role, and I know she will continue to elevate FRDNY to new heights.

Our commitment to creating an exceptional FRDNY each year is unwavering. As we gather on June 14th, I’m eager to celebrate the nonprofit sector's achievements and continue learning and thriving together. Let’s make this year's FRDNY one for the record books.

I appreciate your support, and I look forward to seeing you there! Register today!

Having served as a trusted partner to Orr Group’s clients for over 10 years, CJ Orr has broad experience in fundraising and development, executive leadership, strategic planning, campaigns, and event management. He has launched funds, designed and led strategic initiatives, and driven fundraising for large galas and campaigns ranging from $10M to $1B+ in revenue. As an expert project and relationship manager, he executes on the development of strategies and tactics to drive effective fundraising plans that meet or exceed targets.

Internally at the firm, CJ is responsible for setting and driving achievement of Orr Group’s financial targets and overseeing efficient operations within the firm. Additionally, CJ supports the efforts of Orr Group’s Growth team to identify and cultivate new business opportunities and build relationships with nonprofit partners, ensuring that the services offered are best aligned with our partners’ needs. 

CJ’s background in finance provides him with a strong foundation in analytics, metrics and ROI. Prior to working at Orr Group, CJ worked in Institutional Fixed Income Trading at Alliance Bernstein, where he was responsible for funds trading, account management, and reviewing analytical research. He also spent several years in municipal bonds sales and trading at Oppenheimer & Co.


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