Being too deeply mired in the corporate-giving mind-set is problematic when the economy takes a downward turn, and Gene's idea was a move that exemplifies the flexibility that fundraisers need to keep their programs strong in the face of the changing economic atmosphere.
The unfortunate twist is the economic turbulence resulted in Gene himself being laid off last year.
Cass explains: "Gene was made aware of the impending layoff [while he was still in the midst of his projects], and he has continued to volunteer his time since the layoff; he does about 30 hours of volunteer service to Twilight Wish each week and, in addition, we pay him a small consulting rate for 10 hours each week since then. Twilight Wish is beginning to see an increase in donations and sponsors in the past few months as people are recovering from the economic downturn, and it is our hope to be able to hire him back full time in the near future."
Writes Rod: "The amazing thing is this guy won't stop. He is a believer and carries a positive spirit like few I have ever seen."
Missy Ryan (slideshow photo 3)
senior director of development
College of Business and Behavioral Science at Clemson University
The economic downturn, it seems, is pushing fundraisers to new heights of creativity and determination and, as a result, creating more "fundraising stars."
Even in the tough economy that dictated unprecedented state budget cuts at Clemson University, Missy Ryan brought in more than $7.3 million in fundraising to the school, exceeding her annual goals, according to Claude Lilly, dean of the College of Business and Behavioral Science.
"Missy made over $7.8 million in asks to potential donors, and got over $7.3 million of that funded — an astounding number by any standards, but especially given the current economic climate," he explains.