Tag Archives: women and fundraising

Women and philanthropy

Women and philanthropy“Women rock!” “Women rule!” “If you want something done, ask a woman.” “Women hold up half the sky.” Its women’s history month and time to highlight women’s role as philanthropists and fundraisers.

Join us in paying tribute to women and girls who nurture and support families and communities across the country and around the globe. Sometimes we are recognized, often we are not. We are the grandmother putting money in her granddaughter’s pocket as she heads off to college. We are girl scouts selling cookies, sorority sisters raising money for scholarships, and girls running in St. Jude’s fundraising marathons across the country.  We are Oseola McCarty, a Hattiesburg Mississippi washerwoman, giving $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi, and Wylodine Taylor Patton the alumna leaving $487,500 to LeMoyne-Owen College. We are Helen LaKelly Hunt and Ambassador Swanee Hunt launching “Women Moving Millions,” encouraging women to give $1 million gifts and raising over $500 million to change the lives of women and girls. We are Gayle Rose creator of Team Max, a “vigilante philanthropy” group of young people giving to others in honor of her generous son Max who lost his life in a car accident.

We give as individuals, and we give collectively through women’s foundations and giving circles. We are the Women’s Funding Network, founded 30 years ago, and now the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to women and girls with 160 members from 30 countries on six continents. We promote philanthropy, encouraging others to give through online portals such as Black Gives Back, started by Tracey Webb, a woman of course.

We are presidents and CEOs of regional and national foundations, setting the philanthropic agenda, funding research and making grants that affect every aspect of life. We are Jan Young (The Assisi Foundation of Memphis), Judy Belk, (The California Wellness Foundation), Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Carol S. Larson (David and Lucile Packard Foundation), Patricia E. Harris (Bloomberg Philanthropies), Audrey Yamamoto (Asian Pacific Fund) and Helene D. Gayle (CARE).

As professional fundraisers we raise funds for social organizations, political parties, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, arts institutions and more. We are Jann Honore, a fundraising executive with more than 30 years experience with UNCF raising money for generations of college students. We are Maricar Boyle, focused on health, education and the environment; Dionne Jackson with Lehigh University; Gurdeep Sihota He’Bert, executive director State Center Community College Foundation; and Iris R. Ramey, Vice President for Development, Hampton University. We are Marianne G. Briscoe, President and Managing Director of Brakeley Briscoe, a leading fundraising consulting firm that provides services across the Americas.

The list of women who make a difference is longer than long. If you want to meet a woman philanthropist, look in the mirror or into the eyes of the women and girls in your life.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

Leadership and Fundraising: No Money No Mission

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“…the true leader can be recognized because somehow or other his people consistently turn in superior performances…. A leader is great, not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others.  Success without a successor is failure.”  This quote from Robert Townsend was used by Jeanette OBryant, Development Coordinator at the National Civil Rights Museum as she introduced her boss, outgoing museum president Beverly Robertson.

She concluded her remarks with Townsend’s words: “Loyalty to the leader reaches its highest peak when the follower has personally grown through the mentorship of the leader.  Why? Because you win people’s heart by helping them grow personally.”

These words capture the essence of Robertson. She has a strong respect for her staff and has provided them with opportunities to grow and assume leadership. And, she is leaving the museum in a strong position for her successor to build from.

The event we were attending was an intimate breakfast at the newly renovated museum that brought together former board members, volunteers, donors, supporters, staff and community members to hear Robertson’s reflections and tour the museum with her. She began by lifting up current and former staff, board members and volunteers – calling them by name and thanking them for their involvement. She made it clear that her tenure was rooted not the in the status that accompanies her position, but rather in her commitment to the museum and the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here are qualities we observe in Robertson that contribute to her success as a fundraising leader. She makes everyone she comes in contact with feel good about their interactions with her and their support of the museum. She invites everyone to the table, while keeping her eye on the prize: raising money. She lifts up her staff, encourages them to move beyond what they perceive as their limitations, and provides opportunities for professional growth. She is a “we” not “me” person. Never once have we heard “I raised the money.” She is clear that fundraising is front and center for a nonprofit’s success. She summed it up with “No money, no mission” followed by a warm laugh that embraced the audience. In our words: you can have great ideas, but without money it is very difficult to bring them to life.

Robertson has served as president for 17 years, ending her tenure with the opening of the renovated museum and the beginnings of an endowment. She will be succeeded by Terri Lee Freeman, president of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, a public foundation serving the District of Columbia, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia.

We salute Beverly Robertson and we welcome Terri Lee Freeman.

Visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis TN.  http://civilrightsmuseum.org/

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.