The end of 2010 brought sad news of the passing of Bob Zimmerman, a nationally known fundraising trainer and consultant who worked in the field of fundraising for over 35 years. A fundraising specialist, author and the President of Zimmerman Lehman, Bob was loved by many who appreciated his expertise, insight, and keen sense of humor.
We always enjoyed Bob’s appearance as a member of the Development Executive Roundtable’s (DER) world-famous “Show Me the Money Players” – a group of fundraising professionals who would entertain fellow professionals at the San Francisco DER Holiday Party with skits based on the trials, tribulations, and misconceptions associated with fundraising. Mel was fortunate enough to be included as one of the “players” one year, and in 2005 we both joined him on a panel for a NetImpact Conference at Stanford University. Regardless the venue, Bob could engage and energize.
Here’s how Leyna Bernstein, pays tribute to Bob. “Bob Zimmerman embodied all the best qualities of our profession. He was enormously generous with his time, was passionate about his work and the importance of our sector, and he cared deeply about helping others. He was a tireless advocate for the board’s role in fundraising, and had a knack for getting even the most reticent volunteers to believe they could raise money. Bob made friends wherever he went, and he has left many, many of us mourning his loss.”
Bob taught workshops for staffs members and boards in the United States and Europe. He taught boards to overcome their fear of fundraising and create successful campaigns. His dry wit, combined with a down-to-earth approach, was accessible to everyone, regardless of his or her level of sophistication in fundraising.
A graduate of Antioch College, Bob earned his M.A. from the University of Michigan. He served on the Board Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and was the Co-chair of the ever-popular “Ask the Experts” panel at AFP’s 2009 and 2010 “Fundraising Day” in San Francisco. He taught on subjects that include major donor solicitation, grantseeking, hiring top-notch executive staff, and overcoming the fear of fundraising.
A well known writer Bob was the author Boards That Love Fundraising: A How-To Guide For Your Board, and Major Donors: The Key To Successful Fundraising, and Board Members Rule: How to Be a Strategic Advocate for Your Nonprofit and was a regular contributor to ZimNotes, a fundraising e-newsletter.
If you didn’t have the opportunity to work with Bob you can certainly learn from him through his many writings. And don’t forget the Zimmerman Lehman website as another source of information.
Bob’s loves included his wife and business partner Ann, son Gabe, Opera, baseball, dogs, cats and poker. He was loved by many and will be missed by many more. Join us in saluting Robert Zimmerman – a husband, father, community leader, and friend.