No Substitute For Passion
Who: Tina M. Johann, chief development officer and campaign executive director for Children’s Bureau, which provides child-abuse prevention and treatment services to 7,000 California children each year.
Grew up in: Sylvania, Ohio.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bowling Green State University in 1983; MBA from Pepperdine University in 1993.
Role models/heroes: “My mom is a hero to me with her gentle guidance and encouragement. Through her I learned how to take one day at a time. My 4-year-old is an awesome role model. Through him I learn patience, acceptance and the joy of curiosity.”
First job in fundraising: Program coordinator for the Northwest Ohio Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Major responsibilities at Children’s Bureau: Senior management responsible for fundraising and public relations. Oversees agency operations ($20 million annual operating budget), volunteer leadership recruitment, and development of boards of directors and trustees.
Why fundraising: “With an undergraduate degree in psychology, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I knew I didn’t have the skill set to be a social worker or teacher, but I always wanted to be part of helping people change their lives.”
Major challenges: To bring in $20 million in capital dollars in a very competitive nonprofit environment and to attract dynamic volunteer leadership.
Favorite organizations: Nonprofits that provide services directly to children. “Preventing child abuse is the most compelling cause there is because it is the root cause of nearly all of society’s problems. Those who are abused grow up to be homeless, juvenile delinquents, mentally ill, drug abusers and child abusers themselves. Changing one child’s life is exponential in its impact.”
Personal rewards: “I’m committed to making the world a better place for children. I approach the world from a very positive place and align myself with very positive, dynamic people.”
Management philosophy: “Bring in talented professionals, and let them do what they do best. Bring the highest level of excellence to everything you do.”
Keeping it fresh: “Because marketing plays an important role in successful fundraising, I like to come up with new slogans, logos, taglines, quotations and colors in our collateral materials every few years. It’s important to keep with your brand, but strive to be current and new.”
Challenges facing fundraisers: An organization must work to distinguish itself from the crowd of competitors. That needs to be done through reputation, stewardship and excellence. Rise to the top to become the leading provider of services in your category.
Keys to success:
- Relationship-building. “We have 80-plus directors and trustees and some 100-plus additional auxiliary members raising funds and leading the agency. For each encounter with or exposure to Children’s Bureau, I want people to leave knowing they have played a major part in changing abused children’s lives. The same is true for every donor.”
- Tenacity and persistence.
- Career development. “The MBA has been a unique ‘trump’ card in my career.”
- Humor. “Why not laugh while you work hard? It’s easy to smile when you love what you do.”