ProFile: Christine Carroll
Fundraising has seen many changes over the past 15 years, and nonprofit veteran Christine Carroll has been around for them all. From the launch of the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University to the advent of social media, the profession certainly has evolved.
Recently named vice president for development of the Partnership for Public Service, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit working to revitalize the federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and transforming the way government works, Carroll spoke recently with FundRaising Success about her background in the fundraising sector, how it's changed and her philosophies on achieving the goals of the organizations she's worked with.
FundRaising Success: How have you seen the field of fundraising evolve over time?
Christine Carroll: One of the main changes I've seen is that it's become more of a professional field. When I started fundraising right out of college, there were really no college and university degrees in philanthropy or fundraising. The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University was just getting started. Now there are specific programs at a number of universities in fundraising and nonprofit management. That's been really good for fundraising and good for the nonprofit sector overall, sort of professionalizing it more.
Also, technology obviously has been the greatest change, even in just the last three to five years. Organizations that have the resources [to] invest in technology and the consulting and professional services needed to support that technology have really done a tremendous job of unlocking the potential in individual fundraising.
FS: What's different/more difficult/easier now than when you began your career?
CC: The competition has increased. It seems like there's a new nonprofit popping up every day. That makes it harder because there are more organizations competing for the same dollar; so in some ways it's become more competitive to raise money. Technology has made it easier in some ways, because once the investment is made and the technology's in place, it does a lot of work for you. But it's very difficult to know where to make those strategic investments. A number of nonprofits have invested poorly in technology to support their fundraising.