Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Field Report: Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights

Our office finally has a development team! After over a year working with just my executive director, we now have a director of development to steer the ship. Ryan has 10+ years in nonprofit fundraising in DC and recently settled in New Orleans for the position.

The sunset from Bay St. Louis, where we stayed for our strategic planning retreat last week.

Sunset at Bay St. Louis, where we stayed for our strategic planning retreat last weekend.

Observing him in the last two weeks, I’ve learned a number of useful practices: How to introduce oneself to a major funder via email; how to respectfully exert expertise to nudge an alternative strategy or idea, particularly when the boss prefers another route; and how to structure a grants tracking chart that is both user-friendly and comprehensive. He’s also invited me along to stakeholder meetings over the next couple of weeks, including some informational interviews with other New Orleans development officers. He hopes to gain insight into the city’s fundraising landscape, and I get to tag along!

Needless to say, my remaining six months with VISTA should be exciting and educational! Besides the onboarding of Ryan, we also just returned from our strategic planning retreat, are wrapping up our annual report, making final preparations for the merger event, and are in the midst of a website redesign. Talk about busy. And on the horizon, we’re starting to think about the holiday appeal mailing and launching eTapestry, a new database to track donor information. This last point is such a relief—keeping track of supporter information in an Excel file is a nightmare.

The boss and Hamilton, the facilitator, discussing the "goal wall" at the retreat.

The boss and Hamilton, the facilitator, discussing the “goal wall” at the retreat.

As we strategize how to build our development and fundraising capacity, we’re having conversations about how to better tell our story. Do we continue with annual reports, or consider a biannual online magazine? Do we move from traditional news articles to editorial content on our website? The discussions are challenging and refreshing. I look forward to sharing more as the ideas unfold into action!




This entry was posted on October 1, 2014 by in VISTA Field Reports.



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