Fundraiser of the Year
Amanda Lipsey joined the Adventure Cycling staff in May 2011. In 2012, her efforts, innovation and hard work culminated in a substantial increase in development revenue since 2010 (from $407,806 in 2010 to $506,649 in 2011 and $795,007 in 2012).
According to Arlen Hall, tours director for the Adventure Cycling Association, Amanda organized and successfully conducted a capital campaign to raise the difference between reserve funds earmarked for a building renovation and the total cost of the renovation. The campaign raised more than $250,000, which allowed the organization to complete the renovation without taking on any debt. Through the campaign, she also created a major-donor circle, the Founders Circle, and worked with a professional recognition company to create a special art piece to recognize major donors.
Amanda has improved the organization’s direct-mail appeals by taking a more heartfelt and direct approach with donors both in content and design of appeals, Hall says. “She has increased our work with the for-profit bicycle industry and corporate partners, and built and grown personal relationships between major donors and Adventure Cycling.
“Upon her arrival at Adventure Cycling, one of her first major projects was implementing a prospect research program, which has had a significant impact on raising major gifts,” he adds. “For example, Amanda successfully negotiated the organization’s largest major gift in history, a $50,000 gift from a donor who previously had only donated as much as $2,500.”
Another example of Amanda’s sensitivity and great relationship building with donors is a recent major donor who contributed $25,000 after only being affiliated with the organization for 10 months.
“When the donor approached the organization to make a gift, Amanda worked with the donor to achieve the donor’s philanthropic goals, which started out as a potential $5,000 gift and ended with a pledge of $25,000 — all because Amanda listened to the donor and focused on the donor’s goals.”
Amanda introduced new fundraising methods to the organization, including Adventure Cycling’s first-ever charity auction event, which raised approximately $8,000 from fewer than a dozen auction items.
“Efforts like this have brought back donors who had lapsed with new, exciting opportunities to support the organization,” Hall says.
But beyond revenue numbers and processes, Amanda has brought a unique perspective to Adventure Cycle’s leadership team, making sure everything the organization does is in sync with its mission — an important concern that is too often overlooked. As organizations have to work harder for donor dollars, mission creep can become a problem.
“She believes firmly in our mission to inspire and empower people to travel by bicycle and lives our mission in her personal life,” he says. “She has shed new light on the true impact Adventure Cycling has on people’s lives. She has introduced a new way to evaluate our impact by looking at statistical and demographic data within the context of personal stories from constituents.
“I know I speak for the entire staff when I say we feel lucky to have attracted such a fundraising superstar to our staff,” he adds.
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