Meet Our Award Winners: David Ludwigson
In our February issue, Fundraising Success named the winners of our 2010 Fundraising Professionals of the Year Awards. In this recurring "Meet Our Award Winners" series in the Advisor, you will have an opportunity to learn more about these distinguished nonprofit professionals and their unique perspectives on fundraising. Here, meet David Ludwigson, who was named one of this year's Rising Stars.
Chief development officer
God's Love We Deliver (New York)
Organization's mission: The mission of God's Love We Deliver is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-altering illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. We prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. We also offer illness-specific nutrition education and counseling to our clients and families, care providers, and other service organizations. All of our services are provided free of charge without regard to income, and we have never maintained a waiting list.
Annual operating budget: Approximately $10 million for FY 2010, which ends June 30.
Dollars raised annually: The budget calls for us to raise approximately $7.2 million with an additional $2.5 million from the government.
Role models: My parents. Both always stressed two things to me and my sisters — hard work and education. My parents both worked very hard and sacrificed much to help ensure we received the best educations possible. They instilled in us that we could do anything we wanted, by working hard and looking at education as both important and as a life-long process. They encouraged us to be curious and open to learning new things. So that even when you are from a very small Midwestern town, you can end up with a great job in New York City!
Why you choose fundraising as a career: After 13 years in marketing at Ford Motor Co., I was ready for a change. I had been a volunteer for about eight years at God's Love We Deliver, and was completely taken with their mission and how the organization embraced its work. The staff seemed truly energized in all of my encounters with them, and I said to myself, "I want to feel like that." When the position I now have became open, I started talking to a couple of board members about joining the team. At first it seemed like a stretch. But when we really got into the discussion, we realized that many of the skills I had developed in the private sector were a great fit for what was needed here at God's Love. I give our president and CEO a lot of credit for taking a shot on me. There was certainly some risk involved, as I didn't have any professional fundraising experience. But I think she would say (and certainly I would) that it has worked out just fine!