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American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Liaison Report From the Development Committee

Davis, Leslie L. PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA; Fink, Anne M. PhD, RN, FAHA; Taylor-Piliae, Ruth E. PhD, RN, FAHA

doi: 10.1097/JCN.0000000000000603
DEPARTMENT: Council on Cardiovascular Nursing

Leslie L. Davis, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Anne M. Fink, PhD, RN, FAHA Assistant Professor, College of Nursing, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Ruth E. Taylor-Piliae, PhD, RN, FAHA Associate Professor, College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence Leslie L Davis, PhD, RN, ANP-BC, FAHA, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, PO Box 7460, Chapel Hill, NC, 27599-7460 (

The purpose of this report is to provide a brief introduction of the Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) Council Development Committee, review essential responsibilities of the committee, discuss fundraising, and share opportunities for council members to support initiatives in the coming year.

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Introduction: The Development Committee

The development committee is 1 of 17 committees in the CVSN Council (

Volunteer members in the development committee include the chair, the immediate past chair, a vice chair, 4 to 6 members at large (1 member as the liaison to the stroke committee), an early career member, and the vice chair of the larger CVSN Council (who serves as an ex-officio member). To become a member of a development committee, the nomination committee receives self-nominations from the CVSN Council members or members are nominated by other council members. Invitations are sent out to volunteer members, usually in April/May, to serve for a 2-year term (July 1–June 30). Members roll off on a staggered basis to allow for continuity and succession planning. Meetings primarily occur by teleconference, typically occurring 2 to 3 times a year, with 1 face-to-face meeting at Scientific Sessions on the night of the CVSN Council’s annual dinner.

According to the development committee’s commission, one of the primary responsibilities is to secure needed resources. For the short-term, this responsibility involves ensuring resources are obtained to sponsor the awards that the CVSN Council presents to members annually during Scientific Sessions. Relevant to the long-term, responsibilities involve anticipating and appraising areas for possible future needs for resource development. In addition, special requests may be made from the CVSN Council leadership committee to assist with an identified and often unexpected need. For example, this past year (2018), ticket prices for the annual CVSN Council dinner increased dramatically. Thus, the development committee was charged by CVSN’s executive committee with raising funds to help offset a portion of the ticket prices for members (discussed below through affiliation sponsorships).

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Securing Resources

One may ask what type of things are considered resources. Financial resources are likely the first type of resource that comes to mind. However, resources also include providing a means of doing something, often by supplying support in a timely manner. Thus, for CVSN’s development committee, creating a plan for securing resources for the short- and long-term includes identifying strategies and timelines to complete objectives approved by the leadership of the CVSN Council.

An assumption one might make is that development exclusively refers to “fundraising.” As noted by Mark J. Drozdowski in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “development” and “fundraising,” although used synonymously, are not the same.1 He notes that fundraising is just 1 aspect of development. In fact, only a portion of employees who work in a development office of most organizations are assigned to raising money. He posits that development should be viewed more broadly, one that involves relationship building—be it building new relationships or maintaining/broadening existing relationships.

Building new relationships involves thinking “outside the box,” especially during times when resources are scarce. Members of any development team/committee, especially those comprised of volunteers, need to work collaboratively to visualize potential opportunities to move the organization (eg, CVSN Council) forward.

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Fundraising: An Essential Aspect of Development

Fundraising, although not the only component of development, brings development plans to fruition. Fundraising for the CVSN Council occurs in several ways. First, for the past several years, during Scientific Sessions each November, the development committee has conducted a raffle during the annual CVSN Council dinner to benefit the CVSN Educational Fund Campaign (previously referred to as the “40 for 40” campaign). The educational fund provides monies to help offset expenses for educational programs and activities such as travel grants, awards, and support for early career council members. Traditionally, this annual raffle was for an I-pad (with cover) to a lucky winner who voluntarily contributed monies. This fundraiser has been very successful, and the development committee plans to continue the raffle this year (2019). In addition, an electronic link is now available online at: located on the CVSN Council web page, for individuals to make a tax-deductible contribution or for organizations to make a direct donation, using an attached form to ensure that the donation goes directly to the CVSN Council.

Another fundraising strategy, initiated in 2018, is through sponsorships for the annual Council dinner. Last year, 2 levels of sponsorship, Gold ($1000) and Silver ($500), were offered to various organizations (colleges/schools of nursing, practices, or individuals). In return, the names and logos of sponsors were recognized in the Council dinner materials (signage, in the printed program, and in the slide show). Furthermore, several sponsors took advantage of the opportunity to provide materials at the dinner tables from their organization (goodie bags, institutional logos, flyers). This strategy was successful in covering a portion of the expense of the CVSN Council dinner tickets. In 2019, 3 levels of sponsorships will be available for Scientific Sessions: Gold ($1000), Silver ($500), and Bronze ($250). As with last year (2018), sponsors may include individuals or organizations. The development committee encourages institutions/organizations that have new CVSN fellows being inducted to help sponsor the council dinner, as an additional way to celebrate their inductee.

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Relationship Building: An Essential Aspect of Development

An essential aspect of development is relational. Relationships are built over time through connections. One important group of relationships for the development committee (and the CVSN Council in general) is with ongoing award sponsors. These relationships are valued, as without them, the Council would not be able to maintain the high level of awards. Council awards have several purposes for CVSN members, including, but not limited to, rewarding members for excellence, building a path toward promotion and tenure, securing grants by demonstrating honors earned, offsetting costs for attending Scientific Sessions, and maintaining the legacy of past leaders of the CVSN Council (through named awards).

Relationship building is also evident among the various committees of the CVSN Council working together. For example, in preparation for posting award opportunities for the coming year, the awards and development committees worked together to discuss viable strategies for balancing fiscal responsibility while maintaining these award opportunities. This collaboration resulted in identifying ways to increase consistency in how we fund categories of awards going forward (ie, awards for papers, named lectures). In addition, innovative ideas were generated for funding awards that currently do not have sponsors.

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Anticipating the Future by Engaging Members: An Essential Aspect of Development

Another essential aspect of development is by building the future of the CVSN Council. Early career members are the future! Thus, several grants such as the CVSN Early Career Research Travel Grants and the CVSN Minority Travel Grant are provided to CVSN members to attend the annual Scientific Sessions in November.

The future of the CVSN Council also depends on retaining members beyond the early years in the Council, which includes encouraging member engagement during Scientific Sessions. Enhancing member engagement helps strengthen ties between members of the CVSN council. As a result, a new award entitled the CVSN Educational Fund Travel Grant was launched this year. This award, funded through the CVSN Educational Fund, offers up to three $700 travel grants each year to support nurses who did not submit an abstract and would otherwise not be able to attend Scientific Sessions without financial support. Applicants must be members of the American Heart Association (AHA) and the CVSN Council for 3 years or more at the time of application and have provided service to the AHA (local, affiliate, or national). There is no citizenship requirement. Winners will not be eligible to reapply in the subsequent 3 years.

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Looking Ahead

Looking ahead, the development committee has discussed an exciting opportunity in which past awardees of the Katharine A Lembright Award would be invited to participate in a special fundraising opportunity to establish an enduring fund to offset expenses for Council activities, including but not limited to Scientific Sessions. Katharine A. Lembright was the AHA's assistant director for nursing from 1960 to 1981. She played an important role in the development and growth of the Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Council. Awardees are established nurse scientists and recognized for their excellence in cardiovascular research. To date, 32 awardees have been presented with this honor. Stay tuned to hear more about this opportunity.

In the meantime, if you would like more information about the development committee and the initiatives outlined in this report or would like to volunteer to serve on the development committee (or any of the Council committees), please complete a volunteer form located at or contact the chair of the CVSN council at

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1. Drozdowski MJ. Development and fund raising: what's the difference?. 2003. Accessed May 27, 2019.

cardiovascular; development; nursing council; stroke

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