Our Expert Staff

WRA’s team of experts has three decades of working where decisions are made, sweating the details, creating evidence-based solutions, and holding decision makers accountable.

Elizabeth O'Connell

Elizabeth O’Connell

Associate Director of Donor Relations



Office Location

Boulder, Colorado

Area of Focus

As Associate Director of Donor Relations at WRA, Elizabeth works closely with individual donors, engaging them in WRA’s mission and enabling them to support its efforts to fight climate change. Individual donors play an essential role in WRA’s work to decrease carbon emissions, connect and protect critical landscapes, and ensure healthy rivers.

Elizabeth builds strong relationships with and improves the giving experience for major donors, so they can plug into the organization’s work and help WRA drive results where decisions are made. She uses her knowledge about WRA’s programs to match supporters with the right opportunities to give and connects them with WRA’s expert staff to ensure they are up to speed on the most important solutions the organization is spearheading. In this role, she enjoys helping donors see that they are a key part of WRA’s on-the-ground efforts to address the climate crisis.


Elizabeth joined WRA in 2018, first supporting the Development team in a donor relations role. She focused on growing the organization’s Annual Fund program, supporting direct mail outreach, improving the donor database, and building a more robust donor experience. While reinvigorating the Annual Fund program, she improved communication with donors by sending prompt acknowledgement of gifts and multiple appeals throughout the year, launching thank you videos, and pursuing creative giving opportunities like Colorado Gives Day. Her efforts significantly increased revenue from individual donors, growing the Annual Fund program by 60% between 2018 to 2021.

Prior to joining WRA, she spent five years as the publisher of Elevation Outdoors Magazine, an adventure lifestyle publication, giving her deep experience in sales and business management and exposing her to various Western conservation issues. It was this experience that led her to want to put her relationship building, event planning, and fundraising skills to use for an organization that was making an impact. Through roles with Habitat for Humanity and AmeriCorps, she has focused her career on helping others.


  • Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Mary Washington
  • Certificate in Fundraising Management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
  • Mid-Level Fundraising Certification from the Veritas Group

Favorite thing about the West

The variety of landscapes has to be one of my favorite parts of living and playing in the West. We have so much here to offer all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts and I feel incredibly lucky to live in Colorado. I love getting outside with my husband and our dog Winston, camping, fly fishing, skiing and mountain biking.

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