Meet Our Award Winners!
Last month, FundRaising Success named the winners of our 2008 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards. Take some time now to learn a little more about them and their perspectives on fundraising.
Fundraising Professional of the Year
Vice president of development and external relations
Old Salem Museums & Gardens (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Organization’s mission: To preserve, interpret and operate the restored town of Salem, from its founding in 1766 to the mid-1850s, as one of America’s largest living history museums.
Annual operating budget: $5.8 million
How much raised annually: $6.9 million
Role models: My staff. They’re my source of inspiration, and they inspire me every day with their commitment and dedication to our mission, to our donors, to the team and to each other.
Why did you choose fundraising as a career: I love the process of seeing people connect with a mission they care about in order to advance that mission. It’s always personal for them, and it’s inspiring and very emotional for me when they share their stories.
Greatest fundraising challenges: Growing unrestricted giving to meet operational needs while performing the necessary administrative duties of this job.
Challenges facing fundraisers in general: Since I started in development more than a decade ago, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the administrative demands placed on chief development officers. At the same time, revenue needs have grown exponentially while competition for those dollars continues to escalate.
Keys to success (in fundraising):
*Treat every donor’s point of encounter with you and your organization as if your life depends on receiving their gift — even if it’s $25 — and see what begins to happen with your program.
*Treat your staff as you would your donors. After all, they represent the brand of your development department, and they carry that brand within their donor contacts as well.
*Send a handwritten thank-you note to whatever level defines your “society” giving. For us that level
consists of gifts of $1,000 or more.
Keys to success (in life): Know what you believe because your actions reflect what you believe. Fundraising accomplishment of which you are most proud: Receiving a District III Grand Award in 1999 from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in the Total Fundraising Programs category, and receiving this 2008 Fundraiser of the Year Award. Both reflect building a comprehensive development office from the ground up, consisting of individual, foundation and corporate giving strategies, and raising significant funds at the same time.
How would your co-workers describe you: Focused, dedicated, loyal, giving, warm, funny.
Greatest lesson ever learned: Never procrastinate anything you dread doing.
Personal philosophy: I strive to make every personal encounter I have with people a positive one.