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Karen LaMalva

Karen LaMalva joined RNL in January 2017 and serves as vice president and senior consultant in the Fundraising Management division. She brings with her more than 25 years of experience as a leader in higher education and non-profit fundraising and donor engagement. In her career, Karen has led numerous multichannel annual giving programs along with digital and crowdfunding, leadership giving, capital campaigns, event planning, and volunteer management.

As a member of RNL’s consulting team, Karen helps RNL partners optimize strategy across multiple channels, for both annual giving and major donor pipeline success. An expert in using tight resources to reach goals, Karen helps institutions integrate their efforts in channels like digital, direct mail, crowdfunding, giving days to craft highly effective, omnichannel donor outreach campaigns.

Previous Experience

Prior to joining RNL, Karen served as director of annual giving at the University of Connecticut Foundation (CT). In this role, she led fundraising initiatives through direct marketing, leadership giving, social media advertising, event oversight, and volunteer management. This included strategic planning, leading or participating in cross-departmental work groups related to building the pipeline of donors and stewardship development, working with programmers to develop a suite of annual giving reports, and the implementation of disruptive technologies such as crowdfunding and text-to-give. Karen analyzed data and created hundreds of segments to better target and personalize mass solicitations. While at UConn Karen and her team won a CASE award for innovative use of technology (crowdfunding) and was listed among EverTrue’s top 20 higher education crowdfunding campaigns.

In 1995, Karen began her career while a student at the University of Connecticut. She took on the role of phonathon manager and participated on a team to evaluate software, ultimately choosing CAMPUSCALL, the predecessor to RNL Engage. When she returned to UConn as director of annual giving in 2008, she partnered with RNL as a Masters Client.

Immediately following her graduation from UConn, Karen spent three years at Brandeis University (MA) overseeing phonathon, direct mail, and alumni reunions and events. In addition to her career in higher education, Karen also has 10 years of experience in healthcare fundraising. This includes roles at Hartford Hospital and Eastern Connecticut Health Network.

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Karen holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from UConn, and completed an Executive Leadership Seminar Series at UConn’s School of Business.

Recent Presentations and Insights

Building an Integrated Annual Giving Program

Building a Strong Partnership that Impacts Results

Quotes from Karen

“Every institution is different, and has different goals, priorities and resources. Whether you have a large team or a small shop, working with a consultant that can bring an objective perspective to your unique situation is key. You greatly benefit from what we have learned from peers across the nation.”

“In my consulting role at RNL, I draw on my personal experience as an annual giving leader in our work with universities. This includes evaluating annual giving strategies, building omnichannel engagement and fundraising plans, and being a resource for ongoing questions.”

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