Sylvia Allen: Featured Fundraiser

The featured fundraiser this month is Sylvia Allen of Sylvia’s Children. Sylvia’s Children is a 501 (c) 3 that works with school children in Uganda.

What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?

I have a goal of making a difference in children’s lives through education. We have grown from a school that educates 439 to one that educates 1,002. Once we have developed some businesses within the school and they become self sufficient, we will have developed a model that can be used anywhere in Africa.

What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?

Forget that you are a non-profit and work like a for profit agency. Develop a business plan, understand the elements of marketing, quit begging and being afraid to ask for money. If what you are doing fulfills a need, be proud of it and act that way in your fundraising efforts.

What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?

For me it is finding the time! I run a full-time marketing and public relations agency and there are just never enough hours in the day!

Do you have any memorable donor visits or solicitations that you’d like to share?

The most wonderful solicitation came after many “subtle” telephone calls to my Mother who ultimately sent a check to pay for all the books in the library. It was a thrill!

What is the most exciting thing about fundraising?

Knowing that you are making a difference in people’s lives. Even if we only educate 1,000 children we have improved their standard of living. You leave a legacy long after you are gone.

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