Get to Know Pam Spencer, Senior Consultant:
- What makes the biggest difference for an advancement team?
- What do you wish you had learned early in your advancement career?
- What are you most excited about joining Gonser Gerber?
- Are you a coffee or tea person?
- Contact Pam
What makes the biggest difference for an advancement team?
A case for support is a crucial document for any advancement team within a nonprofit organization. It serves as a compelling, comprehensive, and strategic tool for development officers and board members alike. It helps them to convey a consistent message to donors and stakeholders. This consistency reinforces the organization’s brand and messaging, reducing confusion and building trust.
A case for support helps the advancement team articulate the organization’s mission, vision, and goals in a clear and concise manner. It ensures that all team members have a unified understanding of the organization’s purpose, which is essential for effective fundraising. By providing a roadmap for fundraising efforts, it outlines the specific projects, programs, or initiatives that require funding, along with the associated financial needs. This strategic guidance ensures that fundraising efforts are aligned with the organization’s priorities.
It is a valuable tool for board members as well. It equips them with the information needed to advocate and actively participate in fundraising efforts. It effectively communicates the tangible impact of contributions and demonstrates how their support directly advances the organization’s mission. This storytelling aspect can emotionally connect donors to the cause.
Having a professionally written case for support lends credibility to the organization. It demonstrates that the nonprofit is serious about its mission and has a well-thought-out plan for achieving its goals. It helps in resource allocation by identifying which programs or projects are the highest priorities for fundraising efforts. This ensures that limited resources are directed where they can make the most significant impact.
What do you wish you had learned early in your advancement career?
I wish I had learned early in my career that there is nothing scary about asking another person to give to a cause. Like most starting out in fundraising, the fear of the unknown, of rejection, of the stigma attached to talking about money made me very apprehensive about asking a prospect to give to the organization.
What I have since learned (thankfully!) is that when you approach fundraising as an invitation to create change together, you not only build stronger connections with donors, but you also lay the foundation for a sustainable and impactful nonprofit organization. It’s about inviting others to be a part of something larger than themselves, and there’s nothing scary about that.
Rejection is not a personal judgment but rather a potential mismatch in values and priorities.
Successful fundraising is not a one-time transaction; it’s about cultivating and nurturing relationships over time. Emphasizing the invitation to join you in making an impact fosters a sense of belonging and shared commitment.
Rather than viewing fundraising as soliciting or asking for money, consider it an invitation for individuals to become active participants in the positive change your organization aims to achieve. When you approach potential donors with this mindset, it transforms the interaction from a transactional request (do something for me) into an opportunity for shared purpose and collaboration (let’s do this together).
What are you most excited about joining Gonser Gerber?
My very first experience in working with a campaign consultant was with Doug Mason of Gonser Gerber about twenty years ago. The way he led you to discover solutions by asking questions has stuck with me throughout my career. And through the years I have had the pleasure of working with a variety of consultants from different firms. But Gonser Gerber’s methods have always been the gold standard!
We dedicate ourselves to understanding the unique needs and aspirations of each organization we work with. No two organizations are identical, and cookie-cutter solutions rarely lead to long-term success. At Gonser Gerber, I can work with organizations to tailor strategies that align seamlessly with the specific goals and aspirations of the organization.
For example, some organizations may benefit most from developing major gift programs, while others might require an overhaul of their annual fund campaigns. At Gonser Gerber, I can tap into my diverse toolkit of fundraising methods allowing me to approach challenges with a holistic view, ensuring that we don’t overlook any potential opportunity for growth.
Moreover, having a broad understanding of fundraising doesn’t just involve the technical aspects of soliciting donations. It encompasses building strong donor relationships, optimizing database management, crafting compelling storytelling, and staying abreast of emerging trends in philanthropy. At Gonser Gerber, we comprehensively address these components and help create robust, sustainable fundraising programs that adapt and thrive in this ever-changing landscape.
In practice, this means our solutions don’t stop at the surface level. We dig deep, identifying not only immediate fundraising needs but also long-term strategies that can help our clients flourish over time. At Gonser Gerber, it’s about thinking strategically, anticipating challenges, and proactively finding solutions that not only meet current demands but also position our clients for future success. It’s never just about achieving short-term fundraising goals; it’s about creating lasting, positive change for these organizations and the communities they serve.
For me, at Gonser Gerber, it all boils down to the leveraging of deep expertise and broad fundraising knowledge I’ve acquired over twenty plus years to help organizations approach challenges not as obstacles but as true opportunities for comprehensive, sustainable growth. That’s the essence of Gonser Gerber’s mission-driven work. That’s why I am genuinely excited to join Gonser Gerber.
Are you a coffee or tea person?
Both! I love coffee … but perhaps I love tea more. I grow camellia sinensis (tea plant) and harvest and dry the leaves to make my own tea. I love to add dried lemon verbena leaves and lavender flowers along with locally harvested honey for sweetener. There is something deeply satisfying about picking leaves and flowers from your garden, steep in hot water, and then pouring the steaming liquid into an old, chipped mug. And then taking it out on the porch to watch a beautiful sunrise on a crisp, cool morning (ok, that last part is pure fantasy; my mornings in Florida are muggy and buggy).