What Does an Olympic Swimmer Have to Do with Fundraising Strategy?

Just about everything.  Well, at least for me.

“To be a champion, I think you have to see the big picture. It’s not about winning and losing; it’s about every day working hard and about thriving in a challenge. It’s about embracing the pain that you’ll experience at the end of a race and not being afraid. I think people think too hard and get afraid of a certain challenge.”  –Summer Sanders, U.S. Olympic Swimmer

As a former competitive figure skater, I’ve always found great meaning and inspiration in this quote. And in my professional life, I’ve held on tightly to its wisdom; I have continued to “push the envelopeto keep leveling up my own knowledge and expertise and that of those around me.

I could not have been more excited when Bill Sayre (the president here at Merkle Response Management Group) reached out to me about this position. I am fairly certain that the first time we spoke, I talked his ear off for 55 of the 60 minutes as I shared all of my ideas for what Merkle RMG could do to keep moving the nonprofit industry forward. Needless to say, I am very excited and energized about my new role as vice president of strategy and the positive impact it will have for our clients. Moreover, I’m excited to share all of those solutions and strategies with you.

This role is a big change for me. I came from the “front end” of fundraising, having worked for nonprofits or at an agency for nearly ten years. I’ve worked with nonprofits, political campaigns and political organizations developing direct mail, telemarketing and online fundraising strategies — so I have a strong knowledge of the creation and execution of a fundraising program, along with the strategy and analytics that inform it. And I think that my experience puts me in a unique position, as I’m able to bring that “front-end” perspective and understanding to the “back end” of fundraising.    

I will lead Merkle RMG’s efforts to develop innovative back-end solutions that help nonprofits achieve the maximum value from the data captured during donation processing and other interactions with donors. And, those solutions will turn data captured from those touch points into meaningful insights and tactical programs that will complement our clients’ overall fundraising strategies. (We already have one new service ready to go — a solution for undeliverable mail. Goodbye nixies! I’ll be posting about that soon!)

And I’m sure you know the wealth of donor data that is captured on the back end of donation processing, and the potential value in capturing even more. And, you also understand that in its current state, the process of capturing and deriving insights from this data is a bit unwieldy. That’s one of the first challenges I will tackle this year — creating tools to share this donor feedback with our clients in a meaningful way and craft custom response solutions leveraging the other response services we offer here at Merkle RMG.

There is so much potential for organizations to improve their back-end processing from a strategic fundraising perspective, and I’m thrilled to be at the helm guiding our path forward.

I am your eyes and ears on the back end of fundraising. “Pushing the Envelope will share industry insights and trends, fundraising expertise, best practices, etc. all from a behind-the-scenes perspective after the mail has been received.

Merkle RMG is changing the way back-end operations are perceived in the industry, and I am thrilled to share my journey through this transformation. Check in monthly for new posts!