150 Profiles: Barbara Dunphy

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Barbara Dunphy

Current role in the sector: Chief Development Officer, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector:  20+ years.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
Growing up in rural PEI, our family was always involved in community organizations so volunteering came natural to me first while in 4-H, and later on the YMCA board. I consider my first job a privilege learning new skills in the Premier’s Office and later in my government career.  Later, I was recruited to the QEH Foundation as Managing Director.  It was here I discovered my passion and a deep appreciation for volunteers, team work and giving back to the community. When working in the nonprofit sector, you become it and it becomes you.  I love the feeling of fulfillment when a donor feels great about making a contribution to their hospital/their community.  In many cases, I feel like a matchmaker!

Describe your desk/workspace.

My desk is in a major transition!  I’m presently working between an office in the QEH Foundation and an office at home.  As a communicator, I’m straddled between hanging off a telephone and embracing the world of technology through the computer.  But my favourite workspace is sitting in a comfortable chair beside a donor–their choice of location–talking about what they are passionate about and our mission.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?

Planned Giving for Canadians written by Lorna Somers and Frank Mitton was a turning point for me to help me better understand the charitable sector and the impact development officers can have on donors and their charity.  I usually have three books on the go – one for personal growth and development, one for professional development and an easy read!  Right now, I have Lean In, Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg; The Philanthropic Mind:  Surprising Discoveries from Canada’s Top Philanthropists by Chuck English and Mo Lidsky; and The Year of Living Danishly, Uncovering the  Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country, by Helen Russell.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?

As fundraisers, I feel time, talent and treasures are intersecting in our community. We have even more pressures and less time in this fast-paced world. Business leaders who once had a presence in the community may not anymore.  We need to spend time searching our global community – beyond PEI and Canada. We have easy access to the world and require new approach strategies. With CRA reporting over 85,000 registered charities, donor fatigue is evident and donors need to feel confident of their decision to help an organization. Charities need to be good stewards and tell donors the impact of their support.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com


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