Please join CFRE International in congratulating Vern Snyder, CFRE, ACFRE, on his selection by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) as the 2016 recipient of the Outstanding Fundraising Professional award. The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award is the highest honor that AFP bestows upon its members, recognizing effective, creative and stimulating leadership as well as the practice and promotion of ethical fundraising.
Snyder, who first achieved CFRE certification in 1993, has helped to raise more than $400 million during his fundraising career. Beginning in 1988 at Ketchum Inc., Snyder’s career spanned leadership positions with Eastern Kentucky University and Youngstown State University before being named vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Toledo (UT) on July 1, 2002.
“The early part of my career was spent as a campaign director for Ketchum, Inc. At that time I was encouraged to become active in NSFRE (now AFP) and the continuing education they offered. The Certified Fund Raising Executive credential attracted me because it offered independent confirmation of my skills and commitment to the profession,” said Snyder. “When I became a CFRE in 1993, that certification I believe, prepared me for my position at Youngstown State University and all that has followed.”
Early in his tenure at UT, Snyder worked tirelessly to connect the university’s various fundraising initiatives together. He designed and implemented the advancement regional structure which coordinates alumni relations initiatives with major gifts initiatives and allows development staff to reach alumni outside of Northwest Ohio. This restructuring allowed UT to identify 600 new prospects that are capable of making six-figure gifts to the university.
Throughout his time at UT the university received over $160 million in contributions. This included the largest single gift in the institution’s history, which he cultivated and solicited. He also helped to establish more than 350 endowments and under his leadership, UT successfully concluded its largest capital campaign, raising $106 million.
Snyder believes that his CFRE had a big impact on what he accomplished in his career. “Earning the CFRE demonstrated to my colleagues, my donors, and the organizations I served that I knew my stuff. Achieving that credential positioned me as a leader among my colleagues at the universities I served and in the communities where I lived. I renewed my CFRE seven times. I believe that spoke volumes and I am certain assisted me as my career developed and thrived.” Even after Snyder achieved the ACFRE certification in 2010, he continued to maintain his CFRE credential as well.
“Vern of course is an incredible fundraiser, as the amount of funds he has raised throughout his career demonstrates” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “But what’s truly exceptional is that at every institution, he has created cultures of giving that bring donors and staff together, impact that will benefit those organizations for years into the future. He understands the concept of service, and has lived it, both in what he has given to his workplaces and to the fundraising profession. All of us at AFP are honored to recognize Vern with this year’s Outstanding Fundraising Professional.”
Throughout his career Snyder’s commitment to community has equaled his commitment to his profession and the organizations he has served. In the Toledo community, Snyder has served on the board of directors of the Toledo Chapter American Red Cross. As chair of the Financial Development Committee, he has led several trainings for board leadership and staff for the 18-county region. He has also been a presenter at several Red Cross donor forums. He has served on the budget committee of the Toledo Rotary and volunteered with The Cherry Street Mission, The American Heart Association Heart Walk, Get Fit Toledo and the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio.
“Our profession is evolving quickly” said Snyder. “The needs of our nonprofit community require philanthropic support and the expertise of professionals to guide organizations and their donors. As important, we have the responsibility as professionals to protect against the abuses and misconduct that damage all of us. Through the process of continuing education and credentialing we can demonstrate to our communities, our organizations and our donors that we deserve their respect and have earned that respect by embracing the highest educational and ethical standards.”
Snyder will receive his award on March 21, 2016 at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference in Boston, Mass.