This month’s “Featured Fundraiser” is Terry Andrews. Feel free to refer someone that you think I should feature. Thank you Terry.
What kind of fundraising do you do and who do you do it for?
I am in the higher education field, raising money for a new pharmacy school at a public institution, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. I have a background in higher education fundraising, as I started my career at a small liberal arts institution, though I did spend 6 years in the cause marketing trenches, for Special Olympics Illinois. It was at Special Olympics where I learned that “non-profit” and “higher education non-profit” have many similarities… and MANY differences.
What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?
I started in the development field because it seemed the perfect place for my skill set – writing, speaking, planning events, working with people, etc. Ultimately, during a stint in corporate America, I decided the cliché phrase “I want to make a difference” wasn’t cliché at all. Though I love my job most days, there are frustrations and road blocks that pop up along the way. I remind myself, frequently, that my actions will impact many, and that keeps me going.
What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?
Connections are crucial and stories reinforce that. Donors ensure the happy endings. When I can connect a student with a donor, it reinforces the commitment of both. The donor sees the impact he or she has, and the student realizes there are many outside of their immediate circle, who care about the success of our students, and the program as a whole.
What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?
Often times my enthusiasm is tempered by the bureaucratic realities of higher education. It takes time to get new programs off the ground. There are many layers of approval to go through and everything, from the political landscape to the weather, affects an ask. It’s daunting, and frustrating, but you keep moving forward because that’s how it works.
Do you have any memorable donor visits or solicitations that you’d like to share?
The best donor visits to the SIUE School of Pharmacy typically involve a “smart classroom” demonstration. Our students do not take notes with pens and paper. They download a faculty member’s presentation to their laptops and make notes right on the screen. The lectures are taped, and students can check them out later to listen and watch on their ipods, allowing them to go directly to specific sections of the lecture. There are clicker response systems so faculty can ask questions to determine comprehension and either go back and re-explain a concept or move on. We have faculty at various clinical sites throughout the state, and they can lecture from their site, to a classroom of 80 students, in real time.