Under Construction: Just a few more days till when the October 1 new logo will be released!
This month’s Fundraiser of the Month is Chris Logan! I will be highlighting a different fundraiser every month and asking them to talk about what makes them good at what they do. Last month I highlighted John Boyle. Feel free to refer someone you know of that’s a great fundraiser in the comments section below.
What kind of fundraising do you do and who do you do it for?
As Director of Development for NPower Seattle, challenges and unique opportunities are the norm! NPower is a non-profit that provides technology consulting and assistance to other non-profits, putting us in the realm of “capacity builders”. Like most non-profit organizations we focus on individual giving, corporate sponsorship and grant writing. The challenging part stems from the incredible talent and success of all my fundraising colleagues…it’s hard for our organization to compete against topics like homelessness or children. Let’s face it, broken computers and difficult software does not exactly tug on those heartstrings, does it? Seattle is a technology town, and hi-tech companies get us, and like us. We are quite grateful for our core funders that have helped make us successful for the past ten years.
What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?
I am often curious and motivated by those things that create such an inspiring sense of philanthropy among individuals. De Tocqueville spoke about this incredibly American spirit of giving, and I have seen it first hand. Knowing that there are people who give so much from their hearts keeps me going everyday. Development is such a difficult field, yet there continually arise wonderful examples of true generosity that spark me to keep fighting the good fight!
What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?
Patience. Patience. Patience. And then you need a little more patience. Things don’t always work, they don’t always go your way. The test of a real fundraiser is how you pick up the pieces after something that didn’t work. The first year we created a golf event for one agency, we barely broke even. That was 5 years ago. Last year, they made $100,000 at the event. Imagine if we had packed it up after that first year?
I first entered into fundraising in November 2001, which is likely the start of the worst fundraising period in recent history. I stuck with it and came out a better, more experienced fundraiser in the end. Remember that fundraising goes up, and comes down, and is quite sensitive to economic downturns, like the one we are in now. Stick to your basics through the tough times, and you will be fine. Sometimes there is a tendency to try new “experiments” during tough times. My advice would be to be sure you have the basics down first, then try new things.
What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?
Ask the staff people outside of the Development Department what the Development folks do, and you are likely to get many different answers. Though everyone knows we “raise money” we do so much more! We are the lifeline to those people outside of the agency, from awareness to volunteers, from building relationships to vying for public recognition, Development Departments are so much more than fundraising! I think that we sometimes are so good at building bridges and relationships outside of the agency that we don’t leave sufficient time to build those internal bridges with our fellow agency staff members.