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Jon Schaffrath

Director of Development, Strategic Initiatives, Harvard Business School


Program Director, Certificate for Professional Fundraising Program, Boston University

Boston, Massachusetts

In Episode #27 of “People in Fundraising,” HBS’ Director of Development for Strategic Initiatives Jon Schaffrath shares his insights and experience from almost 20 years as a fundraiser. He describes a second professional hat he wears, as the Program Director for Boston University’s Certificate for Professional Fundraising Program.


In the course of our chat, he acknowledges many people who have mentored Jon in his career: Ginny Wise, Tracy Van Dorpe, Prescott Stewart, and Frank White. I mention Kerry Cietanno, who tipped me off to a role in prospect research when I was temping at HBS.


Highlights of our conversation include:
* Jon’s sense that “I think there are other ways we should be encouraging people” to enter the nonprofit industry.”
* On looking to others' examples as a young professional: “I was not looking for just one person to emulate, more about the different parts that people express and do well in their roles, their style, and how they present themselves with other colleagues and people in the field.”
* The longevity dividend
* The future of fundraising leadership – people with broader sense of the non-profit and its overall strategy, with leadership encouraged to come from all parts of an organization.
* The BU Certificate for Professional Fundraising Program - who takes it, how long the program runs each cycle, learning modules, the impact it has on students and faculty alike, and mentors who work with students.


At the 42-minute mark, Jon offers concluding observations: how to positively participate in inclusive fundraising; how to better address the unevenness of opportunities; and the value of friends at work.

Thank you for an outstanding and thought-provoking conversation, Jon! If you'd like to learn more about the BU Certificate for Professional Fundraising Program, please visit

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