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When Oklahoma-based fundraiser Somerlyn Cothran got into the political industry there was one thing missing: a mentorship and training program specifically geared toward campaign fundraisers. So she decided to jump in and help launch one.

Cothran, who runs Cothran Development Strategies, a fundraising firm that works with national political clients and trade associations, launched the National Association of Political Fundraisers earlier this year and brought the new group together in Washington, D.C. for its first winter conference last week.

Between an ever changing regulatory landscape and the compliance challenges presented by online fundraising, Cothran says there’s a need for political fundraisers to unite as an industry. The new association’s primary goals: serve as a mentorship program for younger fundraisers, and bring the industry’s top professionals together to discuss ethics and compliance issues.   

Joining Cothran on the association’s executive board are Rachel Hirschberg, who heads Berger Hirschberg Srategies in D.C., Krystle Alvarado of the Texas-based firm Sullivan Alvarado, and Kristin Oblander, who heads the Atlanta-based Oblander Group.

C&E caught up with Cothran at NAPF’s winter conference to talk about the association’s next steps and what trends she saw emerge from 2016.