This week’s Featured Fundraiser is Rochelle Zeidman.Thank you Katherine Wertheim for referring her to me.
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?
Strategy, campaign, foundation, corporate, individual major and principal gifts, and board fundraising are the kinds of fundraising I do for local, national, and global non-profits. Also develop fundraising products.
What keeps you going? Why do you keep working in development?
Development is a means to an end. I work in development because ultimately services depend on organizations acquiring resources. Development professionals keep the lights on in theatres, ensure food reaches those in needs, advance education for youth, help achieve solutions to pressing global health issues, and tackle so much more.
Conceptualizing and designing sustaining solutions keep me going.
What tips/advice do you have to other fundraisers in your field?
- Ours is a rapidly changing profession — stay tuned in to change so you will be an effective leader.
- Have a plan a, b and c for your organization and monitor closely.
- Your success is interdependent. Be active in your organization’s plans and actively network.
- Create opportunities for growth within your own organization.
What is the most frustrating or difficult thing about fund development?
A challenge about fund development is how other factors may affect results. That’s why it’s wise to take a broad view, look at trends, etc. Also your organization’s financials, visibility, reputation, relevance, social marketing, quality of programs, customer service, and technology can affect your fundraising.
Do you have any memorable donor visits or solicitations that you’d like to share?
My first week on a new job, our top donor passed away, and this gift was not endowed, which was a huge problem. I immediately created a challenge to five donors who were one level below to increase their gifts, which they did. In fact, several stayed at the new level. Long-term solution is to endow annual gifts to avoid this situation.
What is a funny story you’d like to share about a solicitation?
Funny story was a visit with president of my institution to a wealthy prospect who graciously offered us a beverage to quench our thirst — glasses of 150-year old scotch. I was eager to try this beverage but felt a quick small kick and urgent look from my president…and we politely refused. You guess: did we ultimately receive a gift?