Q-and-A With Jo Sullivan
In addition — the team of development and communications people we've assembled over the past 10 years is one of the best in the industry. I am going to miss them most. If I didn't directly hire, I was part of the recruitment for more than 80 percent — and that transcends "staff." They are my family, and I am proud of each and every single one of them.
FS: What do you think was a key to your success at the ASPCA — namely, growing revenue more than 500 percent and launching the DRTV campaigns?
JS: I think it was setting forth on a twofold vision: First, commitment to making monthly giving the cornerstone of our development portfolio and doing everything we could to ensure that happened. In 1999, we had 8,000 monthly donors. Today, we have more than 140,000. That commitment and dedication to growth in that segment changed the face of our fundraising.
Second, commitment to find relevance in every single pet-passionate person's life. This took us into consumer, retail and mainstream brands like Subaru and Wal-Mart. It was the most important channel to open and begin to elevate our brand to a household name.
FS: What do you see for the future of the nonprofit sector?
JS: Online, offline, between the lines! It's all about integration. The donor must not be in a silo — but elevated. Charities that tell their stories and build their need with true mass-market vision will survive. You can segment and analyze on the back end and make sure you have the customer service team you need to answer whatever that donor needs, but never forget to yell your story from the rooftops and put effort and excellence in all the channels you can open — donors will resonate and come with you.
FS: What advice can you share with others at nonprofits during these challenging times?