Chamberlain Scholar Profile: Lianna Shepherd

By WA, South Sound Admin posted 05-29-2018 10:20 AM

By Lianna Shepherd

Fifteen minutes after walking through the front doors of the AFP International Conference in New Orleans in April 2018, I met a fundraiser from Germany.

I expressed my surprise that his organization was willing to send him to New Orleans for a conference like this. He laughed and said, “Of course. Americans are so lucky, your country has a culture of philanthropy that you don’t find in other parts of the world. If your people see a problem, they know they personally have a role in fixing it.”

His words defined the rest of my time in New Orleans.

I could go on about some of the incredible learning opportunities I received as the AFP South Sound Chamberlain Scholar (made possible through the BE the CAUSE campaign), like how to use improv to improve my Ask or how to better understand organizational life cycles.

But the most incredible experience was learning how to appreciate my work as both a science and an art. Completing the necessary day-to-day tasks of this field can make me lose sight of how much fun I have in my job. Sitting in sessions taking notes on coming up with new plans for my agency, I was fired up to leave 75-degrees New Orleans, where I ate a praline every day, to get back to work in Washington (which was still in the 50’s and rainy).

Thousands of fellow fundraisers at the conference made it clear to me that the struggles I face in this profession are universal. There is a methodology I can study to help me overcome them, but it’s my love for this work that fuels its artistry.

My German friend was right: I am fortunate. I live in a community filled not only with dedicated fundraising professionals but also with an incredible philanthropic culture. I work alongside people who will give until it hurts because they believe they have a role in fixing the problems they see. And I get to be the lucky person who makes a way for them to do it.


Lianna Shepherd received her B.A. from the University of Idaho in 2009 with a focus on journalism and history. She received her M.P.A from Evergreen in 2017 with a concentration in public and non-profit administration. Her history working with nonprofits began in 2010 as an AmeriCorps VISTA member working for a small organization in Dallas Texas. More recently, she works as a Development Director for the Washington State Historical Society. Lianna is a member of the board of directors at Greater Christ Temple Church and has been a members of AFP for two years.

Support Scholars Like Lianna

Each year, in partnership with AFP Chapters, the AFP Foundation conducts the BE the CAUSE annual fundraising campaign. A portion of funds raised go back to chapters like AFP South Sound, supporting priorities including education, scholarships, and diversity and inclusion efforts. Since the campaign began in 2000, over 2,100 Chamberlain Scholarships have been awarded, including local recipients Lianna Shepherd, Mary Brickle, Kate Albert-Ward and others. AFP International pays for Chamberlain Scholars registration expenses (an $800+ value) and AFP South Sound provides a travel stipend of $500. (Applications for the 2019 Chamberlain Scholarship will open later this fall. Subscribe to the AFPSS e-newsletter to be notified when the application opens.)

Join AFP South Sound board members in making a gift that gives back to our chapter and profession. Make your gift here today and select "AFP WA, South Sound" as your local chapter designation. Thank you!