This article was written by Ariel Glassman. She is no longer with Ostara, but we want to preserve this piece so that you can learn from her and from the wonderful work she did while part of the Ostara team.
We want you to trust our experience and our counsel. But to trust us, you have to know us! Over the course of 2016, our blog will feature a profile of a different Ostara consultant each month. We begin with our amazing Vice President, Rebecca Zanatta!
1. What’s the biggest challenge you see for the nonprofit sector?
The turnover we see in our staff. Fundraising is a relationship business. We need to remember to build relationships between our donors and the organization, in addition to building them with one person. People give to people; we have to ensure donors have many touch points with different people in our organizations.
2. If you ran your own nonprofit, what would it be?
That’s a tough question. Most likely, it would involve women and girls, and an international bent.
3. If you were an animal, what would you be?
Definitely an ant: teamwork, persistence and organization.
4. If you were a sandwich, what would you be?
Practical and necessary: peanut butter and jelly.
5. If you weren’t a fundraiser, what would you be?
An athletic director at an NCAA institution… so, still a fundraiser.
6. What have you learned from collaborating with other Ostara consultants?
There’s always more than one way to solve a problem. Solutions come from creative thinking and teamwork… there’s that ant piece of me again!
7. What difficulties did you face earlier in your career (and how did you overcome them)?
“You’re so young, how do you know anything?” Developing the confidence in my abilities, and aligning myself with smarter people than me to endorse and support me and my ideas.
8. What is something you wish you knew in the beginning of your career?
Focus on planned giving! If you have the luxury of a prospective planned giving donor pool, there is way more ROI than the slog through annual and major gift fundraising.
9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Fundraising related? Never go through a day without engaging with at least one donor. Non-fundraising related? Do what you say you’re going to do.
10. What advice would you give to someone starting out in fundraising or nonprofit management?
Find a good mentor, someone to work with and learn from. Working with a good leader is almost as important than picking the right mission or organization in the beginning.