AFP Member Spotlight
Development Director, Kentucky Natural Land Trust
AFP Greater Louisville Board Secretary
Does your organization have a recent success story related to fundraising? If so, can you describe it?
Kentucky Natural Lands Trust was thrilled to receive a large, transformational grant from the James Graham Brown Foundation in 2021. We had been in communication with their leadership and project managers for several years leading up to this proposal and had originally applied for funding in 2020. When COVID struck, JGBF shifted their funding to help people in crisis, so our project was not funded in its first year. However, by staying in close communication, and by demonstrating the exponential and multifaceted impact of our project we earned the award on our second attempt. Foundation partnerships – just like individual donor relationships – are built at the personal level, by developing trust, illustrating the impact of the project, and inspiring an investment in a meaningful collaboration.
What is one thing you wish you would have known when you started your fundraising career?
Somewhere along my journey a supervisor said, "Don't forget that funders are people just like you and me." The point was that foundations, no matter how big or small, are not actually organizations; they are groups of caring individuals. And donors are not any different from the rest of us in the nonprofit orbit; they are folks who want to help and have resources that can advance a cause. So don't feel intimidated when talking with funders about your nonprofit mission – they are people with the same interests, fears, passions and goals as you.
Why did you join AFP?
I joined AFP to build connections with other fundraisers in my community and beyond. As the only full-time development person on my staff it is a real benefit to have a group of like-minded people to share ideas and troubleshoot problems with.
How have you benefited from your AFP membership?
My AFP membership gives me access to timely, relevant information in a number of ways: through my local network connections and educational series, nation-wide virtual forums, online webinars and trainings and a vast library of publications related to my work.
What is one tip you recommend for connecting with donors?
Pick up the phone! Don't depend on written appeals, social media or email blasts to raise money. Make a call (or schedule a call via email) to make that first connection. Then ask for a meeting (in-person or via Zoom) to build your relationship further and set yourself up for a successful ask down the road.
Do you have a fundraising-related resource you recommend? If so, what is it?
The Generosity Network is a book that was recommended to me by David Lopez when he joined the Metro United Way team several years ago. I've since recommended it to co-workers and board members to lay the groundwork for a more positive and creative approach to fundraising.
We are highlighting and answering frequently-asked fundraising questions from AFP members. What fundraising-related question is burning in your mind?
How do you incorporate social media strategies into development strategies? How much time should I spend on it? Are there any good resources for creating a social media or content calendar? Are the paid ads turning into people who will donate or do they just like the pretty picture? I want to know about turning social media posts into donations.
KY, Greater Louisville Admin