ProFile: Kory Christianson
FS: How did you become interested in fundraising and the nonprofit sector?
KC: I really hadn't considered it too strongly until I was in graduate school. In our MBA program, we were offered a few course electives, and I chose nonprofit marketing, administration, etc. And from there, my plan to begin a career in nonprofit management developed.
FS: What fundraising strategies, both internally and externally, have you employed over the past 16 years at St. Joseph's Indian School?
KC: Well, the good Lord has richly blessed us, first and foremost. We also implemented a number of measures that have helped us grow.
First, we implemented a series of five-year strategic plans. These really helped us determine what kind of organization we wanted to become and how we would achieve that vision.
Second, we changed our mind-set in terms of direct-mail fundraising. Instead of always looking for the least expensive option and managing from the cost side of the equation, we began managing our program from the growth and net-income perspective. This led to changes in our packages and many more donors.
Third, we focused our planned-giving efforts on bequests, gift annuities and memorials, and expanded promotion of them through the mail, telephone, online and donor luncheons.
Fourth, we implemented a direct-marketing program in Germany, and we have recently initiated a program in France.
Fifth, we updated our brand image from a graphic and content standpoint.
Finally, and most importantly perhaps, we are very focused on donor service. We want to be a "development" office, not a "fundraising" office. So, we are very prompt with thank-you letters, returning phone calls, answering mail and e-mail, etc.
FS: What do you like most about working with nonprofits?
KC: First of all, our donors continue to amaze me. The USA is the most generous country on earth, and daily we see that generosity with the contributions made to our school.