Title: Senior National Walk Director, National Kidney Foundation
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Number of years as a fundraiser: 15
Number of years at current organization: 6
What inspired you to do this work?
My grandmother was a lifelong volunteer so I started volunteering with my family at a very young age. It was the natural path for me – to take my volunteer experience to turn it into a career to make lives better. The role drew me to the National Kidney Foundation. As a national walk director I have the opportunity to help create a nationally branded campaign and increase awareness about kidney disease.
What has happened recently that pumped you up?
We just launched a new five-year strategic plan that is all about bringing awareness to kidney disease, to help people understand their risk of kidney disease. I am also excited about technology and how online fundraising platforms are evolving. It’s interesting to think about how to people fundraising from their smart phones and tablets. We also just launched a mobile responsive webpage and took a hard look at our communications using tools like Google Analytics to really figure out how people are interacting with us.
Tell us of a recent challenge that you’ve faced?
For the fall season, we are working more closely with team captains who are busier than ever before. We are coaching our field staff on ways to connect one-on-one with our participants – beyond our e-communications plan. And, of course, in the realm of peer-to-peer fundraising, outdoor events are always a challenge – but we are embracing it. Holding events into November means we face not only weather challenges, but also the approaching holidays.
What is next for you as a P2P fundraiser?
We are planning for some very significant growth in the next five years – doubling our revenue, which we did in the last five years. So we are thinking about what that means in terms of technology, training, hiring staff and investing in our walk program. It is an exciting time to be involved because the organization as a whole has embraced the walk as a priority and as our signature campaign.
What advice would you give to someone just starting a career in peer-to-peer fundraising?
It is important to understand that this work is not about planning events. Fundraising is different than putting on events. It takes a lot of hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. This is a business and it’s important to have a savvy mind – as well as a constitution of steel. But the payoff is helping others.
Editor’s Note: Not long ago, the Peer-to-Peer Professional Forum conducted a series of interviews with leaders in the field to gain insights that would be helpful to their fellow fundraisers. As we prepare for a New Year, we wanted to share some of the best interviews here. Look for more P2P Spotlights in the coming days.