David M. Huffine, CFRE, vice president for advancement for St. Joseph’s Villa who has helped raise an estimated $750 million in charitable funds over his career, has been named the 2015 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). Huffine will receive this award on March 28, 2015 at AFP’s International Fundraising Conference in Baltimore.
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.
“What stands out about David Huffine is his understanding of fundraising and how he has applied it to his entire career,” said Andrew Watt, FInstF, president and CEO of AFP. “Yes, he has raised an extraordinary amount of money. But he knows fundraising is a team process that needs to involve everyone at an organization, and he is never afraid to step back and let donors, supporters, and other staff take the spotlight, even as he quietly leads. He is a consummate professional, and it is AFP’s great honor to spotlight him as our 2015 Outstanding Fundraising Professional.”
Huffine joined St. Joseph’s Villa, the longest continuously serving children’s organization in the U.S., in 2008 just as the recession was beginning to decrease overall national giving for the first time in decades. Despite the downturn, Huffine successfully ensured the Believing is Seeing campaign—the first capital campaign in the organization’s 180-year history—exceeded its $10 million goal. Under his leadership St. Joseph’s annual fund continues to break records every year, and he has started the organization’s first planned giving program as well.
Huffine’s trademark fundraising combines a personal and selfless touch, always putting his work in the background while focusing on the impact of donors and volunteers. He also pioneered new philanthropic ground at every organization where he has served by embracing the latest technological advances. Even before his first development position, Huffine had set up phone banks and computers to merge direct mail solicitations, relatively new applications in the 1980s, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“My sophomore year at UNC-Greensboro, word went around that they needed student volunteers to call the alumni and ask for money. It had never occurred to me that was something people actually did. As I walked through the Alumni House doors, little did I expect that I was walking into what was to become my life’s vocation,” said Huffine. “I don’t know if I raised much money that night, but I learned that fundraising is nothing more, deep down, than making a connection with people over a cause you both believe in.”
Before joining St. Joseph’s Villa, Huffine served Union Presbyterian Seminary for 11 years. He reinvigorated the seminary’s $40 million Enduring Commitment campaign that had stalled, pushing the campaign past its goal. He then designed and led the seminary’s successful $70 million One in Mission campaign—a comprehensive initiative mixing endowment, program and annual fund giving. During his tenure, Huffine also oversaw increased annual contributions for operating, capital and endowment purposes rise from $6 to $14 million.
Huffine began his fundraising career at North Carolina State University as annual fund associate in 1987. He launched the university’s first annual fund, as well as the Chancellor’s Circle for contributions of $1,000 or more to help inspire larger gifts. He also helped manage NC State’s $230 million Opening New Doors comprehensive campaign.
“David has earned the admiration and respect of all those he works with by making consistent choices that are honorable, compassionate and selfless,” said Kathleen Burke Barrett, CEO of St. Joseph’s Villa. “His integrity is above reproach. While he has experienced many successes throughout his career that would make any fundraiser proud, perhaps most important of all is that he really does things right.”
The award recognizes Huffine’s commitment to building up fundraising as a profession. He has mentored dozens of newer professionals, led training workshops, and has taken an active role in local AFP chapters. Between the Central Virginia and North Carolina Triangle chapters, he has served as president, treasurer, program chair, National Philanthropy Day chair and mentoring chair. He has also been a board member of the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives, which in 2014 recognized him with the Nina Abady Award for outstanding professionalism in fundraising.
Huffine was nominated for the award by Alan R. Hutson, Jr., Principal and Managing Partner of The Monument Group. “In celebrating David’s award, we are celebrating Central Virginia’s philanthropic community,” said Hutson. “David has helped build that community through mentoring countless professionals—myself included. Central Virginia’s nonprofit sector is much more vibrant thanks to David’s involvement.”
Huffine strongly believes that fundraisers need to practice what they preach and is committed to supporting numerous nonprofit organizations through gifts, volunteering and board service. Locally, Huffine serves on the advisory board of the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy and is an active elder at Bon Air Presbyterian Church. On the national level, Huffine serves on the Board of Directors of his collegiate fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, and as an alumni advisor for its chapters at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond.
Huffine resides in Midlothian with his wife, Linda, and their two daughters.
Huffine’s professional and volunteer efforts focus on equipping children, youth and young adults for brighter futures. He says working with amazing teams for inspiring causes is the secret of his success.