This week’s Featured Fundraiser is Becca Stromdahl. She has some great words about what keeps her development passion alive. If you ever would like to nominate someone for Feature Fundraiser just send me an email. – Jason
What kind of fundraising do you do and who do you do it for?
I’m the Development & Marketing Coordinator at KidsQuest Children’s Museum. KidsQuest is a hands-on children’s museum that engages children in interactive exploration and play that creates learning, inspires imagination and connects children with their communities through exhibits, workshops, outreach and classes. I primarily fundraise through special events like our Acorn Circle Cocktail Party and the KidsQuest Carnival.
What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?
Development provides a unique opportunity to touch the lives of people from many walks of life and connect community members with something they are passionate about – it’s amazing to be a part of that. I love building relationships with volunteers, donors and community members and helping them connect to what they care about and where they want to leave their mark. When I am talking with someone about KidsQuest and their eyes light up as they remember their own childhood or think of what this place might do for their children and grandchildren, I know I have made an impact on them and they, in turn, will impact the future of our community.
What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?
Make time to recognize the friends who support you, it is invaluable to the organization and to the donor. My favorite part of fundraising is saying thank you and showing a donor what their dollars have made possible. When a donor makes a gift they are full of joy and I want to give them that joy as often as possible by personally thanking them and telling them how much we appreciate their generosity, sending them a photo of a new exhibit or inviting them to observe a class or workshop they helped make possible. That connection will keep them engaged and excited about supporting KidsQuest.
What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?
Staying the course of the fundraising plan while allowing for flexibility when new opportunities arise. Exciting new ideas about reaching out to potential supporters and telling KidsQuest’s story present themselves all the time, and while these ideas keep us growing and evolving, it is important to analyze and incorporate them into the overall plan to ensure that we give our fullest attention to all of our efforts. The quality of the events we have, touch points we do, and partnerships we create is often so much more important and impactful than the quantity. Sometimes it’s good to stop and ask ourselves, is this helping KidsQuest reach our goal and should it wait until next year when we can give it better attention?
Do you have any memorable donor visits or solicitations that you’d like to share?
This October marked our Executive Director’s 10 Year Anniversary with KidsQuest and, working with a few founding Board Members, we mailed a letter to some key volunteers and supporters who made KidsQuest possible through their determination and hard work. It was so nice to reengage the important people from our past and recognize those who sketched their ideas on a yellow legal pad and brought it to fruition with the hiring of an Executive Director, the securing of a site for construction, and the raising of funds for design and build. Many of them have not been involved with KidsQuest for the past 10 years, and it was truly touching to show them what we have become.