Cover Story: The Art and Science of Fundraising
Bennett paraphrases New York Sen. Hilary Clinton, saying that it “takes a village” to cultivate a donor.
“Our [giving] pyramid is very fluid; people come in and out of it in all kinds of ways,” she says. “When Joanne hands off her donors, she’s doing her job. If I see an opportunity to connect with a donor on the local level, then shame on me for not telling the local office — and vice versa.”
‘Synergy’ in action
Rounding out Bennett’s current regime are three other managing directors in addition to Brtva and DelGiorno: Nancy Stinson, corporate development; Peter Knockstead, special events; and Joe Herget, strategic marketing.
“Synergy” is a word that pops up often when talking to these folks about their jobs, and it’s apparent that Bennett’s enthusiasm has spilled over onto her managers.
“ADA has a supportive senior management team that believes in and practices the core values of the organization,” Brtva says. “I’ve never seen an organization and its leaders believe in the philosophy of ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ Senior leaders have gone out of their way to make staff, from all levels, feel welcome and we are encouraged to strive for excellence.”
More succinctly, Brtva says, “You can’t hear the enthusiasm on paper, but every day I say that I have the most awesome job in the world.”
There seems to be no getting around the influence that Bennett has had on development at ADA. Thoughts from some of her staff:
“The growth of the development office can be attributed to the vision Vaneeda had for a system that allowed every area of development to benefit from moving a donor up the giving pyramid,” DelGiorno says. “As the development office has grown, so have our synergies with one another.”
And from Brtva: “Vaneeda has brought a core group of professionals together who collaborate and strengthen one another. She’s the kind of leader that breeds excellence and determination in finding a cure for diabetes. She practices what she preaches. Our growth should be directly related to her leadership and vision about donor-focused fundraising.”