Doug Diefenbach is an accomplished marketing and communications professional with special expertise in the area of nonprofit and philanthropic communications.  For more than 35 years he has helped a wide range of organizations to develop, meet and exceed their goals for brand visibility, constituent engagement, and philanthropic revenue.

Doug formerly served with the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, a national network of more than 450 community-based human service organizations.  As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Philanthropy he led the intersection of all external affairs and institutional advancement functions, including individual and planned giving, grant writing and stewardship, corporate sponsorships, business development, marketing, public and media relations, government relations communications, content development and graphic design.

Prior to that assignment, Doug was Vice President of Campaign Strategy and Communications for Advocate Charitable Foundation, the fundraising arm of Advocate Health Care (now Advocate Aurora Health), one of the nation’s top ten healthcare systems.  He directed the foundation’s strategic planning, campaign development and message alignment for its capital campaigns on behalf of Advocate’s 12 hospitals.

Prior to joining Advocate, Doug served as Associate Vice President at Lipman Hearne Inc., where he consulted with a wide array of local and national nonprofits on marketing communications assignments including case statements, campaign themelines and brochures, communications audits, marketing plans and institutional positioning initiatives.

Doug began volunteer service with the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 1998 in Chicago.  He wrote the chapter’s first-ever case for philanthropic support and was subsequently invited to present this case in a plenary session the International Conference of AFP.  In 2007, he received the Chicago Chapter’s Presidents Award.  He currently serves as Marketing Vice President for AFP’s Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter, and writes AFP’s monthly column in the Milwaukee Business Journal. 

Doug is a graduate of Miami University.  He founded and led (and until all too recently performed at) The Playground Improv Comedy Theater in Chicago, the nation’s only nonprofit improv co-op theater, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017.


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Christa Beall Diefenbach, CNP (she/her/hers), is a seasoned nonprofit leader who assists social impact organizations of all sizes with marketing strategy, program innovations and talent development solutions. Most recently, Christa was the Vice President of Mission Engagement for the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance—a national network of 50 universities and national nonprofit partners working to create a talent pipeline for the nonprofit workforce. In this role, she oversaw all marketing and expansion activities, including the process of launching Leaderosity—an online leadership development platform that thoroughly transformed the channels through which the organization delivers on its mission. She also was instrumental in developing Elevate—a highly successful online conference that works to change how the nonprofit sector approaches equity.

Prior to the Alliance, Christa was the Associate Director of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management at North Park University in Chicago where she developed effective and innovative leadership development programming for nonprofit professionals. Christa also teaches nonprofit marketing and management as an adjunct faculty member in the School of Business and Nonprofit Management. She has a bachelor of journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and an M.B.A. (with honors) from North Park University.

For 25 years, Christa has worked in development, marketing, alumni engagement and operations for nonprofits that range in size from small to multi-billion dollar institutions. During her years in the sector, Christa launched successful rebranding efforts at several nonprofit organizations, enabling the agencies to achieve fundraising and programmatic goals. She was recently awarded the Nonprofit Mentor of the Year Award by the Chicago Young Nonprofit Professionals Network.

In addition to being a co-leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop, Christa serves in volunteer leadership positions for several nonprofit organizations whose missions enhance accessibility to quality mental health services. Christa lives in the Milwaukee area with her husband, Doug; two children, Ella and Eliot; and mother, Lorna.

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