It is with much sadness that we say goodbye. AFP events will be very different without Don's presence and sage advice. Another friend, Andrew Watt, CEO of AFP, wrote a wonderful remembrance of Don. I couldn't improve on his words, so I thought I would reprint it here.
Some Thoughts on Don Rizzo:
Colleague, Friend and Fundraiser
by Andrew Watt, FINSTF, former CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals
“What makes a great fundraiser?”
If you were faced with this question you would possibly think of someone who raises a lot of money, runs groundbreaking campaigns, develops innovative ideas and has great rapport with donors and supporters.
I wouldn't disagree with any of those but I think there are other qualities we often forget or tend to give short shrift. Modesty, for instance. For after all, as fundraisers, we are not the focal point—it is our donors and the beneficiaries that together, we serve. And since fundraising is a team effort, what of loyalty to the team and letting others shine? What about giving back and being generous in spirit and camaraderie?
I mention this because Don Rizzo, CFRE, a long-time fundraiser and member, and former chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, died this week. Don was a fabulous fundraiser, running huge campaigns for the University of Louisville, University of Hartford, Butler University and Loyola University, among others. So much so that he was named AFP’s 2010 Outstanding Fundraising Professional.
But when I heard of his death this weekend, I immediately thought of those qualities, not his fundraising exploits. Don was a quiet leader, quick to give credit and always ready to highlight the work of others. For him, it was all about getting the job done by bringing together the best possible expertise and resources, regardless of who got the accolades, and creating a culture of philanthropy and collegiality.
Maybe those qualities—humility, loyalty, compassion and camaraderie—aren't always top of the list in today’s society, but I know they make for a very fine and effective fundraiser. They’re qualities we should all seek to emulate, both in our professional and personal lives.
Thank you, Don, for your service to AFP, the organizations where you worked, and the fundraising profession. We will continue to follow in your footsteps and seek to live up to the high standards and qualities you set for yourself and your work.