Member Spotlight: Melissa Vaillancourt

Posted by askirvin on May 16, 2024 12:00:00 AM

Meet Melissa Vaillancourt!

Melissa is the Director of Gift Planning at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. She holds a Master's in Communication and Rhetorical Studies and a Certificate of Advanced Study in Conflict and Collaboration from Syracuse University. In 2023, she was awarded a CGP Scholarship entailing a CGP Conference registration and a one-year membership. 

"CGP Conference is a conference for everyone in gift planning at every level, in every department. From the front line to stewardship to marketing, there are so many seminars to choose from." 

Melissa continues, "You build relationships with colleagues at other institutions and take away important and impactful learnings."

Life-long learning is often central to Melissa's work and personal life. Balancing her role, organizing donor meetings, earning the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy Certification (CAP) offered by the American College of Financial Services and even participating in her first bodybuilding competition, she consistently seeks new opportunities for growth and development.

Melissa's career in higher education began in various student-facing roles. Witnessing the transformative power of donor support allowed her to articulate the impact on students from a firsthand perspective. Inspired by conversations with peers about gift planning, came to her current role following three years as the Assistant Director of Leadership Annual Giving at Syracuse University.

"My job is to discover people who are already philanthropic and help them see what they can do," says Melissa.

The impact and opportunities that education offers drive Melissa to continue her work. Donors' various experiences and interests broaden her understanding of the opportunities available at Syracuse University. Understanding donors' unique aspirations and values helps her find new ways for donors to give their support while expanding the opportunities. 

Creating multiple points of contact for donors is a crucial aspect of her philosophy. While she aspires to be a resource for fellow gift officers navigating conversations about gifts of assets and deferred gifts, she relies on her colleagues for their expertise in fund designations and department priorities. These partnerships benefit Syracuse University by building trust with donors and perpetuating lifelong learning.

"When we collaborate, we also learn from each other. Some of my best lines, I've taken from conversations with other colleagues."


We deeply appreciate Melissa's taking the time to share her experience with CGP. You can connect with Melissa on LinkedIn or through the CGP Link

If you would like the opportunity to be featured in an upcoming Member Spotlight, contact us.

Topics: Member Spotlight