Engage P2P Keynote: Marty Coelho
Marty Coelho was one of the driving forces behind Relay for Life. You probably don't know him in that context. But if your organization does or is considering doing peer-to-peer fundraising, you probably want to hear what he has to say.
You can do just that at FundRaising Success' newest conference, Engage P2P: Redefining Peer-to-Peer Fundraising, taking place Oct. 21 in Washington, D.C. Marty is our keynote speaker, and he'll talk about how a potentially fatal run-in with a 350,000-pound train in 1992 eventually led him to being an expert not only in fundraising, but in creating movements around a cause.
Here is a little bit about Marty, in his own words:
"In 1992, my car was crushed by a 350,000-pound locomotive, and miraculously, I walked away from the accident. Now, people have asked over the years how this event changed me. Surely I had a life-altering moment of clarity, an epiphany of what I was supposed to do with my life, or at the very least it changed how I viewed the meaning of life — right?
"Nope, none of the above.
"Now, I will say I was very happy to be alive, and that’s a bit of an understatement. Honestly, I don’t think the train hitting my car and carrying me down the tracks changed me on some deep personal level, but not long after it happened a strange thing occurred — I found my path in life.
“I had been stuck in that, ‘What should I do with my life?’ phase. I did the proverbial go to college, then go back to college and get an MBA, then become a marketing research analyst — all to become completely disenfranchised with the corporate workplace and its soul-sucking cubicles of doom.
“That led to my fiancée and I quitting our jobs and moving to the most remote area of the country we could find. We went behind the Redwood Curtain in far Northern California. Unfortunately, there were few professional opportunities, and I found myself working in the mall, working in a seafood plant, being hit by a train. You know — the usual life crises of a young, urban professional.
“But that train, in some strange way, tossed me onto another track (sorry, I just had to say it). Not long after the incident, I found myself volunteering for a local nonprofit, and things just clicked. Little did I know then I would find myself on a 22-year path of volunteering and working for nonprofits.
“I ended up volunteering on local, state and national levels for the American Cancer Society. I held positions as the head of fundraising for a hospice, as an executive director for the American Red Cross and teaching business courses at Humboldt State University (eventually becoming its associate athletic director).
“To top it off, I became a member of the senior leadership team managing the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life — the largest fundraising activity in the world. For 15 years I oversaw Relay For Life’s marketing and communications team and helped build one of history’s largest social movements. Today I am part of a new team, expanding an even larger social movement, as a senior director of fundraising for Special Olympics International.
“So where has all this taken me? What was the meaning of it all? Well, it seems I have gained a fair bit of knowledge on how to build fundraising movements and have a unique understanding on what drives people to give their time and energy to help nonprofits achieve the remarkable.”