When Erika Mork started her position as the University of Lynchburg’s director of annual giving last fall, she wasn’t exactly a newbie.
“This is my sixth year living in Lynchburg and being involved on campus, and my third year as an adjunct professor in the nonprofit leadership studies program,” she told us.
During those six years, Mork has left her mark on a number of initiatives. In 2017, she partnered with Lynchburg faculty and was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of State which involved students in a project with Lynchburg Grows titled “Building Soil and Community: An Educational Composting Pilot.” That same year, she was one of four featured speakers in the University’s Dear World storytelling show.
In spring 2019, she helped organize a master class at Lynchburg with Grammy Award-winning cellist Zuill Bailey and later represented the University as a Public Affairs Section speaker in Kazakhstan through the U.S. Department of State. She’s also accompanied students on a study abroad trip to Japan with her husband, Dr. Takashi Maie, who teaches in Lynchburg’s biology department.
“The Lynchburg community has been an integral part of my — and my entire family’s — life since relocating to Virginia from Minnesota,” Mork said. “I’ve so enjoyed attending campus events over the years and getting to know so many outstanding faculty, staff, and students.”
“It’s an honor to now, in addition to part-time teaching, move into a full-time staff position through which I can be a part of this community on a daily basis and put my professional skills to work to help ensure its stability and growth in the years ahead. I feel really fortunate to join such a professional team that is already so well-positioned for success.”
In just a few weeks on the job, Mork has already made a big difference. She revamped the University’s year-end giving campaign digitally and through traditional direct mail, with impressive results: the average gift size in response to Lynchburg’s most recent direct mail campaigns is up 15% over 2018, and the number of donors and gifts increased by more than 30% for online giving.
The Lynchburg Fund is also tracking ahead of this time last year. The fund helps ensure that a modern liberal arts education that celebrates creative thinking, experiential learning, and immersive opportunities with a global mindset remains within reach for all students. As of the end of December — the midpoint of Lynchburg’s fiscal year — the Lynchburg Fund was already at 67% of last fiscal year’s total.
“I want donors to know that their gifts — no matter the size — make a real and lasting difference in the lives of our students,” Mork said. “The Lynchburg Fund provides a great opportunity to make a gift that supports the entire institution. It’s a way to support all that makes Lynchburg the school and community we know and love.”
Going into spring, she has her eyes set on making the most of Lynchburg’s campus-wide Give Day on April 9.
It’s clear that Mork is always looking for a challenge, and her résumé speaks volumes: a former Fulbright Scholar and Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, she holds an MBA with an emphasis in nonprofit management. Before joining the University of Lynchburg, Mork racked up more than 10 years of consulting and director-level experience in development, marketing, and communications in both nonprofit and governmental organizations.
Most recently, she served as executive director of the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra. She’s a Certified Fund Raising Executive who has twice assisted CFRE International as a subject matter expert. She’s also a long-time member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and a former award judge for the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators.
Is there anything she can’t do?
“I love to travel the world, but I can’t do spicy food,” Mork said. “I keep trying, though!”