June 4, 2023

Shelby Orlando: ‘All In’ One Day

When the leaderboard ticker started counting down days – then minutes and seconds – to next Tuesday’s Mary Wash Giving Day, Shelby Orlando’s blood pressure started going up.

Assistant Director of Annual Giving Shelby Orlando. Photo is by Norm Shafer.

Assistant Director of Annual Giving Shelby Orlando. Photo by Norm Shafer.

There’s a website to maintain, challenges to set up, matches to secure, groups to meet with, vidoes to make … and that’s just for starters.

Three years ago, after just weeks on the job as director of Annual Giving, Orlando joined a brainstorming session for UMW’s first-ever 24-hour online donation event. Since then, it’s grown like wildfire, from 1,218 gifts in 2017 to a goal of 3,500 this year.

But Mary Wash Giving Day – themed “All In” this year; use #MaryWashDay and #AllinforUMW – it’s not all about the numbers. “It’s all about our love for Mary Washington,” said Orlando, a 2014 UMW grad. “We want everyone, alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents to show their pride for the place we all love.”

Q: If you could only use five words to encourage people to give to UMW, what would you say?
A: Can I have six? Give back to pay it forward.

Q: Is there any program you’ve supported for giving day?
A: Giving to any area is a great way to support our current students, faculty and staff, and our future students, as well. I give to the Fund for Mary Washington because that is our area of greatest need. These gifts go to work immediately to support critical needs across the University, touching each student’s experience.

Q: With so many clubs submitting so much information and so many materials, how do you manage it all?
A: We have a lot of excel sheets and folders, and a Google workbook that has been extremely helpful.

Q: How does it feel to watch the numbers on the leaderboard representing more and more money being raised?
A: It’s very exciting! I remember last year at the Fredericksburg Alumni Network Giving Day Celebration at the Underground, we had reached our goal of 1908 donors during the event and the numbers kept climbing!

Q: What’s something people would be surprised to learn about you?
A: This July, I’ll be traveling to Standing Rock Indian Reservation for my 11th summer in a row. I’ll be working with teens on completing scholarship and college applications, and discussing self-worth.

Q: What one thing in your office is the most special to you?
A: I’d have to say a few of the pictures that I have of me and some kids/teens I’ve built relationships with during my time at Standing Rock. Every time I look at them, they make me smile.

Q: Do you have any mottos you live by?
A: My father always said, “Tomorrow is a promise to no one.” That’s one that has always stuck with me.