American Red Cross North Texas Region Names New Chief Development Officer

DALLAS, TX (July 27, 2012) — Since Clara Barton founded the organization in 1881, the American Red Cross has served the country as the leading emergency response organization. After a year of reorganizing chapters into a regional structure, the Red Cross is moving forward to meet the needs of our modern society, and is once again calling on successful and high energy females like Liz Birlet to lead the initiative. Newly appointed as the chief development officer for the American Red Cross North Texas Region, Birlet joins a seasoned senior leadership team dedicated to advancing their fundraising efforts into the future.

While her resume showcases a successful history in fundraising and senior leadership, it’s Birlet’s passion for people, whether her donors or her staff of 22 employees, that sets her apart.

“I truly believe that every gift matters, whether it’s one dollar or a large gift from a corporation or foundation,” Birlet explained as she shared her plan to come in focusing on all areas of local fundraising. “I want to make sure that we’re paying attention to all of the Red Cross supporters and working to communicate to them in new and engaging ways.”

With a $12.3 million dollar fundraising goal for the North Texas Region this year, Birlet knows it is going to take willingness from her team to approach fundraising in new and creative ways to make this fiscal year a record breaker. Birlet points to some of the more creative fundraising tactics already in place, such as the “Piper the Puppy” campaign, as examples that show why her team is set up for success. “Piper the Puppy” is a stuffed animal that is given to a child to provide comfort after disasters and is sponsored by a donor for a $100 gift. The donor’s name is written on Piper’s paw pad and a postcard is sent to the donor once Piper has been placed in the arms of a child.

“When you think that a donor engagement device as innovative and unique as “Piper the Puppy” was imagined by one of our donors and developed right here in Dallas, I know that I have a team that is dedicated and creative enough to take fundraising efforts for the Red Cross to a new level,” Birlet explained.

Birlet recently relocated to the Dallas area from Chicago where she served the nonprofit sector as a consultant for more than a decade and also held positions at academic research institutes including the University of California, San Diego, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

American Red Cross North Texas Region CEO, T.D. Smyers, said it is Birlet’s experience combined with her excitement for new opportunities that will make her a great fit for the organization’s fundraising team.

“I knew to go through the roof with fundraising this year we would need to find a leader with a great amount of experience and someone who is truly an expert at donor relations,” Smyers added. “Liz definitely has those qualities, and her enthusiasm and creativity are going to help her bring our fund development team to new levels after our reorganization.”

A passionate volunteer herself at the Mental Health Center and The Reading Group in Illinois, Birlet expects to fit right into the volunteer-led spirit of the Red Cross. “When you look at the volunteer staff at the Red Cross, their background, skill sets and interests are so diverse so there’s always something to gain, no matter your project,” Birlet shared. “They are already committed to the Red Cross and I look forward to growing closer to the mission of the Red Cross as we work together.”

Birlet has also served as a member of the Junior Leagues of both Chicago and Boston and is a past board member of Sound Mental Health in Seattle.

Birlet will set up her office at the American Red Cross-Dallas Area Chapter, 4800 Harry Hines Blvd., but will oversee fundraising efforts for the American Red Cross North Texas Region’s 12.3 million dollar fundraising goal across 111 Texas counties.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcrossdallas.org or join our blog at http://redcrossdallas.blogspot.com.