I was born as clueless as a...
...geoduck (an edible saltwater clam with a disturbingly long siphon, native to the Pacific Northwest; pronounced "gooey-duck") and stumbled into fundraising communications.
My background includes award-winning magazine journalism (on social justice, mostly). I was chief creative partner in a small ad agency that pulled down major international awards for wildly successful work for clients such as Plan International, NSFRE (now AFP), and a nationally-ranked zoo.
Before that, a marketing communications manager for an international high tech firm. Before that I worked in PR. Before that I was a published poet and fiction writer, "noted" by the New York Times Book Review. Before that, an MA and BA in English from Brown University and a certificate in advertising art from the Rhode Island School of Design.
I knew I wanted to be a writer before I could actually write. I have four published how-to books about donor communications with two more in the pipeline and I write a popular how-to e-newsletter for fundraisers.
Tom is counted among North America’s top authorities on fundraising, advocacy, and “persuasion” communications. His consulting projects range in scale from multimillion-dollar capital campaigns with many moving parts… to multi-year communications planning for local charities… to helping a grassroots coalition make a compelling case. He likes to work with unstoppable organizations, ambitious people and outrageous goals.
In addition to his four books, he has also created a video series on donor communications.
Find out more about Tom: www.AhernComm.com
Tom’s most recent book: Making Money with Donor Newsletter
I was born; so were...
I was born; so were you. Each of us is the hero of our own story. But in early November, our stories will intersect at the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in Seattle. When I fly through your story like a sparrow fluttering through a barn, I hope to give something to you: ideas, information, inspiration -- that will empower you on your own quest to be the hero you are meant to be. If that happens, your story and mine will each have sections in which we are heroes together on the same quest. I look forward to meeting you.
Jeff is the creative director at TrueSense Marketing, and has been serving the nonprofit community as a copywriter, strategist, and creative director for more than 25 years, working for top organizations including CARE, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Feeding America, Project HOPE, and dozens of urban rescue missions and Salvation Army divisions. He's been blogging about fundraising since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits.
Read Jeff's blog: www.futurefundraisingnow.com
Jeff has an excellent book: The Fundraiser's Guide to Irresistible Communications
I was born butt first. Those of...
...you who were born head first or feet first are much better able to relate your birth to who you are now ("I have jumped feet first into storytelling…” or “Ever since, I’ve thought with my head, not my heart…"), but I have a much more difficult task. So, allow me to reframe my birth: I came out (yes, butt first) wrapped up in a tiny little ball. So tiny that nobody knew my mother was pregnant, and so tiny that I had to wear casts for the first year of my life to straighten everything out. Even now, I have a bit of a protective shell. I like to think before I speak. I like to absorb a conversation, not dominate it. I feel deeply. My heart dominates my brain, and my heart lives for stories.
Leah is a “fundraiser’s fundraiser” with a wide and varied background in charitable fund development. At Good Works, Leah has worked with name-brand clients such as the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Kidney Foundation and the UN Refugee Agency Canada. Leah’s work with these clients focuses on direct marketing, donor research, social media and legacy marketing. She has raised upwards of $100 million by using these tactics intelligently and appropriately.
Leah has a deep passion for her family and for helping those less fortunate. But she is most excited knowing that she’s helping to make the donor experience one that makes the heart sing.
Find out more about Leah: www.GoodWorksCo.ca
I was born on the windswept, remote...
...and gorgeous island of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – a place Famous for its storytellers and musicians. But I promise to leave my bagpipes at home. My life was transformed 40 years ago by a one hour meeting with two people I’ve never seen again. (Maybe you'll find out why in my sessions).
Harvey worked at Oxfam-Canada for a decade where he grew the program by 1,000%. Before leaving to run a consulting agency for the past 25 years. He has been the keynote speaker at national conferences from Australia to Norway, has taught a number of Master classes at the international fundraising Congress, and has spoken at roughly 20 AFP international conferences, but who's counting.
He's helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars, and his book hidden gold, the first resource on monthly giving has been used by nonprofits to raise billions. He co-authored the power giving: how giving back has enriched us all, which was a number one bestseller in both Canada and the USA. It's been translated into seven languages, won the Nautilus gold award for books on social change, and was an Amazon best book of the year selection. His fourth book the 11 questions every donor asks is used as a training manual by nonprofits all across North America. It recently went into a second revised edition.
He has written for a number of newspapers, has been a regular contributor to CBC radio, and also produced number of award-winning documentaries that have aired on PBS, BBC, CBC, ABC and networks around the world.
Over the years he has sat on many boards including: Oxfam Canada, Greenpeace Canada, the Vancouver international comedy Festival, the Vancouver writer's Festival and the AFP Vancouver Board. He knows approximately 21,706 jokes among others, but the number goes up every day.
I was born during a winter thunderstorm...
...So rare it’s almost unheard of, even by most weather-obsessed Canadians. My mum woke up that cold February night to my older sister crying, terrified of the bizarre combination of freezing rain, lighting and thunder. And then I picked my moment. Almost 2 weeks late, my mum says I came into the world because I was curious. Still am.
Agent Jen is an early riser and a daydreamer. And a storyteller…but not in a poetic sense. In a fumbling, arm-waving, half-sentence-speaking, let’s-get-to-the-heart-and-the-feelings sense. Write drunk, edit sober…even if you’re only drunk on emotions.
You can find out more about Agent Jen and Agents of Good at www.agentsofgood.org.
MARC A. PITMAN
I was born – not in...
...swaddling clothes on December 24th as my parents expected – but on the 12th day of Christmas. Since then, I’ve developed a skill at helping people to face their fears, lead teams on their own terms, and generally working with people to raise funds. People have called me a “lion tamer” to their fundraising fears. I love spreading the joy of asking so much I’ve even been called the “Johnny Appleseed of fundraising.” People say my approach to fundraising makes it easy for them to want to do it and to know what exactly to do. It’s almost as great a gift to them as a partridge in a pear tree!
Marc is an international leadership coach and fundraising trainer who helps nonprofit board members and staff get excited about asking for money. He is the founder of FundraisingCoach.com, and the executive director of the affordable fundraising training program The Nonprofit Academy.
Marc speaks to thousands each year at events like the World Fundraising Summit and the Association for Fundraising Professionals International Conference, and many smaller groups and teams around the world. His experience in nonprofit fundraising and leadership training, as well as his balanced commentary, has caused him to be featured in books and articles around the world and be sought out as a guest on TV, radio, and print as diverse as Al Jazeera, SUCCESS Magazine, and Fox News.
Marc is committed to making it ridiculously easy for board members, volunteers, and nonprofit staff to get fundraising training and he writes books, creates fundraising training DVDs, and collaborates on systems like 100 Donors in 90 Days. Marc has a zeal for life and was chosen as one of Maine's first "40 Under Forty," honoring Maine's emerging generation of leaders. And if you drive by him in a car, you’re likely to see him singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his wife and three children.
Find out more about Marc: FundraisingCoach.com
Marc’s storytelling book: Who’s Telling Your Story
I was born into a family with both a...
...successful business and a sincere heart for philanthropy. And community. And justice. And the arts. My childhood shaped my career path more than the universities. Although they did come in handy. Really, they did.
I am the father of remarkable daughters. The teacher of excellent students. The leader of fundraising for a phenomenal social enterprise. A philanthro-economist. And a lover of true, healing impact.
The stories deserving to be told are often hidden: within staff members (who don't realize it), within beneficiaries (who rarely get the spotlight), or within financial statements (that get overlooked because nobody seems to realize the stories they are already telling)! I look forward to helping you tease out excellent stories, then give them voice, in service of your mission.
Peter is President of Independent Means, Inc., and is a strategic leader with a richly complementary background in family counseling, financial education, business leadership, and modern philanthropy. He joined the firm in 2015 to lead collaboratively with Joline Godfrey as IMI enters a new era of growth.
Peter was raised in a family business and cares deeply about family- health across generations. He is a university instructor in philanthropy and leadership at the University of Washington and Seattle University and is comfortable holding the deep conversations that impact our relationship with money, like trust, security, fear, entrepreneurship, spirituality, responsibility, and legacy.
Prior to Independent Means, Peter was the Director of Strategy for Splash, a quickly scaling social enterprise focused on "clean water for kids" in Asia and Africa. He holds MBA, MSW, and M.Div. degrees from Seattle University, the University of Illinois, and Yale University.
Peter is also the creator of the "Beyond Cash Fundraising Dashboard"
I was born...earlier than expected (six weeks early)....
...My mother says it was the first sign of my intense drive to make things happen on my own terms and timeline.
Tammy is an envelope-pushing fundraising practitioner, an inspiring international speaker, and a powerful trainer in the discipline of transformational fundraising.
In the past decade she has coached, trained and led nonprofit teams to raise more than $400M including a single gift of $27.1M.
She moved to Detroit in 2008 specifically to fundraise in the most devastated economy in the U.S. and has turned those experiences into brilliant strategies for creating transformational fundraising results in any economy.
Find out more about Tammy at tammyzonker.com
R. Trent Thompson
I was born 2,278 years too late....
...I was to be a highly-skilled warrior engaging in blood-soaked spectacles equal parts sport and theater. Instead, I’m a nonprofit brand strategist making his way through the 21st century.
Trent is founder of Rebrand, Retool or Perish, a brand consultancy that breathes new life into nonprofit brands. He's an award-winning brand and marketing strategist who believes you must engage the heads and hearts of people to move the needle.
To learn more about Trent, visit http://rtrentthompson.com.
I was born with a love for...
...reading and stories. I enjoyed Clifford the Big Red Dog books so much that my mother often read me the same book up to 7 times a day.
Vanessa is a fundraising and communications strategist based in Vancouver and founder of TheStorytellingNonprofit.com.
Her communications and fundraising materials for non-profits are steeped in stories and have had big results. Vanessa’s goal is to help passionate non-profit folks learn tools and techniques to better articulate their organization’s true impact in a way that raises more money for the cause. She does this by teaching others how to tell stories and how to use them strategically to achieve goals. She works with nonprofits throughout North America—including BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, Union Gospel Mission, and Cancer Care Connection—and is an internationally recognized speaker.
Vanessa is also the co-author of the book:
The Nonprofit Storytelling Field Guide & Journal
I was born moments before my Dad arrived...
He had been following the ambulance - from the small town hospital where I was supposed to be born two weeks earlier, 70 miles down the road to the big city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He had no idea what to expect when he arrived. Weeks before, his biggest question was whether or not he would have another son, or finally be blessed with a daughter.
On the morning of March 29, 1984, he was just hoping that when he arrived, his wife and his child would still be alive.
So when he burst into the delivery room, and the doctor handed him his brand new daughter, you can only imagine his profound happiness, relief and surprise. This one, he knew, would keep him and the world on its toes.
So when I announced at age 3 that I wanted to be a writer AND a member of Run DMC, he didn’t bat an eye. When I was told by my 9th grade English teacher that I had an inappropriate sense of humour and sought attention in negative ways, he laughed. And when, after two older brothers who became an architect and an engineer, I dropped out of film school to get a degree in Medieval English and eventually become a communications and fundraising consultant for nonprofit organisations, he beamed with pride.
Because no matter what Sheen Beans does, she’ll kick ass at it. And she’ll surprise and delight you in the process.
After a decade in the nonprofit and creative sectors, Sheena Greer decided she needed to do more to help nonprofits & social entrepreneurs communicate their missions. She started Colludo with the hope of sharing her love of simple, powerful communications, and the desire to have fun while doing good.
I was born into a fundraising family...
So I grew up steeped in fundraising data, hearing stories about the organizations that raised a lot of money — and the common mistakes that every organization seems to make.
Today, I’m an award-winning expert at creating fundraising that makes donors take action. And I’m a specialist in the story rhythm your organization needs to use to grab and keep your donor’s attention. Also, I’m probably the only presenter at this conference that’s been fired by one of the other Presenters. You’ll hear the story when you attend the conference
Steven is the co-founder and Creative Director at The Better Fundraising Co. He’s been serving international and local nonprofits for over 20 years. His projects range from writing letters that raise over $50 million to consulting with small nonprofits to increase their annual fund by $25,000 — and everything in between.
Read Steven’s company’s blog at AskThankReportRepeat.com, and
listen to his podcast with Jeff Brooks at FundraisingIsBeautiful.com.
Meet the Producers...
I was born a boy...or at least...
...that's what the sonogram reader promised. Instead, my parents said hello to another little girl. A little girl who stomped in mud puddles, played sports year-round, and wobbled in high heels at her senior program. Because surprising people? It's in my nature. And nothing brings me greater joy.
I can't help being delightfully unpredictable. It's what has defined my fundraising career. And now as a consultant and coach, I teach fundraisers how to surprise their donors too. With love. With adoration. And with amazing donor experiences.
Shanon has been fundraising for close to 15 years. Her unique, mission-driven events and campaigns have raised tens of millions for nonprofits of all sizes. An inspiring and energetic speaker and coach, she loves sharing the know-how nonprofits need to skyrocket their fundraising results and donor retention rates. Shanon is also the co-founder of two popular online courses, Stewardship School and Gratitude Camp. And when she’s not up to her do-gooding ways, you can find chasing after her two young boys, binge-reading on her Kindle, or sending handwritten notes.
Find out more about Shanon: www.shanondoolittle.com
Shanon is also the co-producer of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.
I was born to make films. When I was...
...old enough to hold a pen, I started writing scripts and I haven't stopped.
Having worked on feature films, television shows, and documentaries - stories are just a way of life to me. I'm constantly reminded just how much of an influence stories have on our daily lives.
Christopher has been a filmmaker/storyteller for over 20 years. He worked on feature films in Hollywood and owned his own documentary production company.
In 2007 Chris changed his company to 501 Videos LLC and now exclusively helps nonprofit organizations find and tell their most compelling stories for their audiences.
Chris is the producer of the weekly video series for the nonprofit community, “Movie Mondays for Fundraising Professionals”.
He is the author of the best-selling book,
“Nonprofit Storytelling for Board Members"
and co-author of
"The Nonprofit Storytelling Field Guide & Journal"
Chris is also the co-producer of the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference.