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A conversation with Kim Alvarez, VP of Donor Relations at United Way of York County

Kim Alvarez, 37, was named vice president of donor relations at United Way of York County in March. She has spent more than 14 years in philanthropy work, mostly in York County, previously serving as director of development and interim vice president of philanthropy at SpiriTrust Lutheran. She also worked in annual and special giving for WellSpan Health before that.

Alvarez earned her bachelor’s degree in communications/journalism from Shippensburg University. She also graduated from Leadership York’s leadership training program in 2013.

She and her husband, Eric, and their 5-year-old daughter, Olivia, live in Manchester Township.

CPBJ: In your 14 years in philanthropy, what changes have you seen in the ways nonprofits engage with various audiences?

A number of giving trends and donor preferences have emerged – building meaningful relationships with your supporters, the ease of online giving, the success of one-day giving events and donor designations. 

I think some of the most successful nonprofits have embraced donors as partners in their mission, lifting them up in the work they help accomplish. This philosophy brings your supporters close to your organization, and regular communication creates long-lasting relationships.

CPBJ: How have those changes – and any new developments – come into play as nonprofits try to continue functioning in the economic struggles related to COVID-19?

In many ways, COVID-19 created the perfect storm for nonprofits – many were facing an

unprecedented need for their services and increased expenses for (personal protective equipment), while also investing in ways to deliver services virtually. On top of that, many event-based fundraisers were postponed or canceled.

The nonprofit community needed to rely on their current donor base as partners to help meet

the needs in our community, and many generously stepped up. This showcases the power of relationship building in philanthropy. Of course, the ease of online giving is also critical. At

United Way of York County, we saw a three-fold increase among workplace campaigns interested in virtual-only options this year.

CPBJ: What lessons do you think the for-profit business community can take from how nonprofits have handled the pandemic?

The nonprofit community has always found a way to pivot in support of the mission. In the pandemic, many nonprofits rapidly formed partnerships to address critical needs in the community. I am proud of the work United Way of York County and the York County Community Foundation accomplished with our COVID-19 Response Fund. Together, we raised more than $1 million to support the most pressing community needs in food and housing, and we’ve relied on our advisory committees comprised of nonprofit partners to make sure we’re getting it right. I think the power of partnership is worth celebrating.

Which is your favorite Halloween tradition or activity?

What a fun question! I love all things fall, but a highlight is taking my daughter trick-or-treating with her neighborhood friends and seeing their excitement.

CPBJ Staff
Contact the Editorial Department at editorial@cpbj.com

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