Michelle Gorham, CFRE

Chief Advancement Officer
YMCA of Rock River Valley, Rockford, Illinois

NAYDO: Membership Committee


  • Years total YMCA staff experience: 7.5

  • Years in current Y position: 7.5

  • Current Budget responsibility: $800,000

Financial Development Accomplishments

    Annual Campaign  

    • Doubled annual campaign contributions to $1.3M in first three years
    • Achieved 55%+ retention rate for new donors and greater than 65% for existing donors.
    • Worked to create a campaign that focuses on relationships over transactions and emphasizes major gifts, strong stewardship, partnerships, and a year-round calendar.

    Capital Development

    • Current $20M capital campaign to renovate aging infrastructure, transform a church into a neighborhood Y, and change with the needs of our community.
    • In the past nine months, hosted more than 100 community leaders in our vision room to share our Y dreams for the future.
    • Received more than $1.75M in state and federal support.

    Marketing & Communications
    Work very closely with a top-notch marketing department to bring the donor perspective into our communications and develop fundraising events and strategies that tell our story in an engaging and thoughtful way.


    Received more than $3M in grants over the past year – allowing us to offer key programs and services to improve    academic success, develop young leaders, and provide mental health services to children who otherwise would not have access. 

    Used the lessons learned in COVID to revamp our fall event and strengthen sponsor relationships outside of events – yielding a matching gift donor, more sponsorship dollars, and sponsors who understand the mission and cause of the Y transcend any event. Advocate with local, state, and federal legislators to build the reputation and recognition of the Y.