Member Spotlight: Erin Branagan, Communications & Development Director at the Center for the Art of Translation

Erin Branagan is the Communications & Development Director at the Center for the Art of Translation, a San Francisco-based organization that champions literary translation and builds understanding across culture and language through their award-winning small press, events with international authors, and translators, and poetry and translation school curriculum. However, she didn’t begin her tenure at the Center in a development role. Her introduction to the development field came within the first few weeks of starting her role as the Center’s Marketing Manager when she was asked to lead the organization’s year-end fundraising appeal. 

That massive undertaking was her crash course introduction to the world of fundraising and since then she’s helped lead the Center through its nonprofit start-up phase and created the organization’s fundraising and communications programs from the ground up. 

Reflecting on 15 years plus at the Center, Erin is proud of her work and shared, “It’s been exciting to have been able to take on a range of responsibilities and see the organization grow.” She notes that fundraising fundamentals haven’t changed, but the tools development professionals have are more varied. “It’s still about building relationships—but the ways that we do that have been transformed with the growth of online giving, email fundraising, and social media.”

While some people might think that only extroverts succeed as development professionals, Erin, a self-identified introvert knows that being a good listener helps her in doing her job. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has concentrated on sustaining relationships with donors through Zoom conversations, small presentations, or more engaging email updates and news. 

As a relatively new DER member, she joined in 2020, Erin has found DER’s resources, workshops, and community to be “a fantastic help as a one-person development department.” She’s even had the opportunity to contribute to the DER community by co-leading a conversation about small Development Shops with DER Board member P. Tyrone Smith. 

“I find that COVID-19 has forced me to be very intentional about setting boundaries between work and home life since it’s so easy for them to blend together during remote work.” When she’s not leading and learning with DER or the Center, Erin enjoys reading (fitting for someone working at a literary organization), taking walks in her neighborhood, traveling, and spending time with her children.


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