Pulse: ProFile: Amy Franze, JDRF
People tend to think the nonprofit world is vastly different than the for-profit world. But as Amy Franze, executive vice president of development at Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, exemplifies, the two worlds aren’t as different as they might appear.
Franze has been involved with charities since she was a child. And after seven years working in corporate America in various sales and marketing roles, she ventured into the nonprofit sector at the recommendation of a mentor and quickly developed a successful career, despite some initial resistance.
“It was interesting, when I first interviewed in the nonprofit world, several people who had been in nonprofits had said, ‘Oh wow, great résumé. She’s done some terrific things, but how does this fit?’” Franze admits. “So actually I had to use my sales skills to convince those in fundraising that I could really add value, and that relationship skills and relationship building were very transferable to fundraising, and that understanding how to work with people and manage people and inspire and motivate people in a for-profit world would certainly be a huge benefit in the nonprofit world.”
Franze broke into the sector and in 2002 joined JDRF as executive director of the Illinois Chapter, where she increased the chapter’s revenues to more than $14 million annually and spearheaded a $100 million, five-year local campaign supporting the global JDRF “Research to Reality” campaign.
Recently, we caught up with Franze to discuss her path to fundraising.
FundRaising Success: You mentioned how you were raised in a family where philanthropy was important. What sort of charitable causes were you involved in both growing up and as an adult prior to joining the nonprofit world?
Amy Franze: It started at an early age, working at the local food pantry. What I remember most about the pantry was that I went to school with some of the kids whose families we were helping. So at a young age, I learned to be discreet and appreciate my good fortune.