Meet Our Advisors: Jo Sullivan, ASPCA
Jo Sullivan is a voice for those whose barks go unheard. As senior vice president of development and communications for the ASPCA, she has been a driving force in its efforts to raise dollars to protect the nation’s kitties, canines, hamsters, horses and herds of other animals.
Read on to learn more about Jo, a three-year member of FundRaising Success’ Editorial Advisory Board.
Grew up in: Collinsville, Va.
Education: “I went to Fieldale Collinsville High School.”
How long have you been with the ASPCA?: “Nine years this Oct. 8.”
First and previous fundraising jobs: “This was my first. I was in advertising/marketing [in the packaged-goods industry] prior to coming to the ASPCA.”
Why did you choose fundraising as a career? “I really didn’t know I was … I wanted to save animals. And when I moved to NYC it gave me the opportunity to stalk the ASPCA for about a year before they hired me. It wasn’t until I started that I realized — naively so — that nonprofits and fundraising were career paths.”
Who are your heroes/role models? “Henry Bergh — our founder. He stood up for animals in a time that nobody else did. Founded in 1866 — you can imagine what else this country was facing. His bravery to take on animal issues is inspirational.”
What’s the best advice you can give your fellow fundraisers? “It’s not a program for ‘one.’ Think big and always look for new channels. If you build your customer-service team well on the back end, the program can have a broader sweep in fundraising.”
What are the biggest challenges facing fundraisers today? “Everything from economy to budgets to convincing leadership to take a chance on things like social networking and mobile fundraising. They are limitless. But the upside is the change we make every day in the charities we serve.”
What’s the best part of being a fundraiser? “For me personally? Saving puppies and kitties every single day.”
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? “I honestly have no idea. Maybe teaching people to do this.”
Can you sum up the key to fundraising success for ASPCA? “The ability to invest in new channels and grow a program with full support of leadership.”
What is your proudest moment as a fundraiser? “Watching the (singer) Sarah McLachlan spot debut.”
What’s your favorite quote? “Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” — Ann Landers
Describe yourself in three words: “Passionate, trusting and determined.”