Meet Our Advisors: Kurt Aschermann
Kurt Aschermann has years of marketing and resource development experience. He has worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and March of Dimes, and has been a consultant for a variety of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He currently is president of the Boston-based Foundation for Charity Partners, which provides fundraising solutions to charities.
Kurt also is a member of our Editorial Advisory Board. To learn more about him, check out this feature that looks at his background, experience and fundraising advice.
Hometown: Born in Ossining, N.Y., lives in Falls Church, Va.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in physical education from Springfield College, Springfield, Mass.
Professional background: “Teaching, politics/government, March of Dimes, 16 years with Boys & Girls Clubs of America.”
Heroes/role models: Jimmy Carter; Nelson Mandela; Henry David Thoreau; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Dietrich Bonhoeffer [the German pastor who participated in the German Resistance against Nazism]; and [American journalist, anarchist, social activist and co-founder of the Catholic Worker Movement] Dorothy Day.
Favorite quote: “Simplify, simplify, simplify.” — Henry David Thoreau
Best advice you ever received: “Dr. Harvey Schiller was president of [TBS] Sports and a member of the National Board of BGCA. He told me, ‘Never let the for-profit bastards think they are better than you.’ I took that to heart and was successful, I think, because I dealt with them on the same level.”
Charity Partners is not a nonprofit, but it works with nonprofits. How does that work? “We invite customers of products to purchase the products, pay a premium (which they would do anyway, like for concert tickets), and donate the premium to charity. [It] also will work for travel, consumer products, fashion, etc.”
How do you see social-networking working for nonprofit organizations and their fundraising efforts? “‘It’s the Web stupid,’ is what I say when I train. Nonprofits that don’t understand the technological age we live in are doomed. Those that don’t see how social-networking is the communication tool for young people are doomed times two.”
Best advice you can give fundraisers:
a. “Focus your message. What makes you unique?”
b. “Build your board, and everything else will follow.”
c. “You can’t get the money if you don’t ask.”
What are your own personal favorite charities? “Various poverty-relief agencies, U.S. Holocaust [Memorial] Museum and Open Door Homeless Shelter.”
Describe yourself in three words: “‘Nasty, brutish and short’ … no, wait that was Hobbes. I’m afraid this is for someone else to do — not me.”