An Interview with Sean Scanlon, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
We have a broad and traditional member base that ranges from $20 to $100 per year. Over the past three years we have also created an engaging mid-level program that is focused on experiences — birders like "to bird," and we do too. So, we plan birding trips where we can be amazed by nature, side by side with our supporters.
And finally we have a leadership giving level that is targeted at the people who truly understand the mission and the role of the organization and want to provide the critical resources for the director of the Lab.
FS: What advice would you give to organizations similar to yours in size and
annual operating budget?
SS: Think carefully about the culture of your organization. You have to believe in the mission and the people to be able to give the organization the passion and commitment it deserves. Also, mid-sized organizations may need to take some time to develop a healthy understanding and balance of the role of philanthropy in the organization. Be strategic and patient in building trust and confidence of your non-development colleagues, because what we do can be confusing or off-putting to those outside the profession.