Silicon Valley Business Executive and Philanthropist Shares Tips For Donor Relationship Building

September 14, 2015

Wes Wasson, voted "Top Executive Leader in Silicon Valley," to speak at Sept. 25 seminar held by National University's Sanford Institute of Philanthropy; Other speakers include Mark Stuart, Foundation President of San Diego Zoo Global, and Author Deirdre Maloney

 San Diego, Calif. - Sept. 15, 2015 – Wes Wasson, who left a successful career building and growing some of the leading tech firms in Silicon Valley before focusing on philanthropic efforts around the world, will be among the featured speakers at a Sanford Institute of Philanthropy seminar entitled, The Art of Cause Marketing and Mastering Donor Relationships, set for Sept. 25 at National University – the second-largest, private, nonprofit university in California.

The one-day seminar is part of a comprehensive series of educational and training programs offered through National University and its Sanford Institute of Philanthropy that are designed to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations. The offerings, which include certificates and a master’s program in Cause Leadership, emphasize best-practice skills in fundraising, relationship building and nonprofit leadership. The curriculum is also available to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions through fully developed or customizable options. Integrated throughout the curriculum and seminars is an emphasis in applying business and sales principles to the passion of philanthropy, as is the case of the featured speakers, including Wasson. His session is titled Seven Marketing Secrets You Won’t Learn in School; Observations of a Recovering Silicon Valley Marketing Jedi and Non-Profit Padawan.

“The speakers at this upcoming Seminar offer a valuable range of perspectives and strategies for applying cause marketing strategies to strengthening donor relations, a topic that is particularly applicable to the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy’s mission,” said Bob Kelly, former President of The San Diego Foundation who serves as Executive-In-Residence of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy.

Wasson is a long-time business executive who spent more than 20 years building and growing successful companies in Silicon Valley. Over the course of his career, he has led marketing and business strategy at companies of all sizes, from fast-growing tech startups to multibillion-dollar industry leaders such as Sun Microsystems and Citrix Systems. In 2010, he was voted the “Top Executive Leader in Silicon Valley” by a survey of employees conducted by the San Francisco Bay Area News Group. In 2013, Wasson stepped down from his role as Chief Marketing Officer at internet software leader Citrix to spend more time in philanthropy and mentoring. He is currently involved in several poverty alleviation projects, including his work as board chairman of Elevate Africa, a San Diego-based nonprofit that uses technology, education and mentoring to help people in developing countries break the cycle of poverty, and which was the recent recipient of the “Most Innovative Microfinance” award from Google and Mifos.

“Most people ignore marketing until the end of the process, then try to write a bunch of inspiring stories and clever copy to jazz it up,” said Wasson. “Unfortunately, that’s not how great marketing works. Great cause marketing must inspire people with the possibility that they can be part of something far bigger than themselves.”

Other speakers at the Seminar include:

  • Mark Stuart, Foundation President, San Diego Zoo Global, who will speak on Donor Relationships. Stuart leads a staff of 60 for the Zoological Society of San Diego’s Development and Membership Department, and San Diego Zoo Global is in the midst of its first ever comprehensive campaign. In addition, he spearheaded the formation of the Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego in 2006 and serves as its founding president.
  • Deirdre Maloney, an educator, author and speaker, who will lead a session entitled Marketing Matters. Maloney is president of her training, facilitation and marketing company Momentum LLC. Her books include `Bogus Balance: Your Journey to Real Work/Life Bliss,’ `Tough Truths: The 10 Leadership Lessons We Don’t Talk About,’ and `The Mission Myth’. In addition to her work through Momentum, her experience includes teaching marketing, and serving as a broadcast news producer at a variety of affiliate stations. Maloney is a member of the San Diego Rotary.

To register: http://sanfordeducationcenter.org/cause-marketing-donor-relationships.cfm

About the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University
The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is dedicated to increasing the positive impact of nonprofits and cause organizations through specialized training and educational offerings with a focus on successful fundraising skills. The Institute offers a unique Cause Sales approach to fundraising, based on proven sales and business principles as applied to collaborative donor relationship building. This approach is integrated throughout the Institute’s offerings, which offers seminars, a certificate and a master’s degree program in Cause Leadership with curriculum developed by the University’s School of Business and Management and Division of Extended Learning. The Institute was established at National University in 2014 through a generous gift by renowned philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford, and the vision is to offer universities access to the curriculum.

To learn more: http://sanfordeducationcenter.org/instituteofphilanthropy.cfm

Media Contact: Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations
858-642-8163
acearley@nu.edu