Master Gift Officer. Just the words alone conjure up confidence, optimism, energy, and success. And the phrase embodies what we all strive for: demonstrating the highest level of ability, talent, and dedication within the development profession. Today, the job title is not on the tip of the tongue of most nonprofit fundraising professionals or organizations, but it will be soon as it is beginning to be spotted on resumes.
Copley Raff, Inc.’s annual planMGO (Philanthropy Leadership Advancement Nexus – Master Gift Officer) training program is a four day immersion experience that rapidly equips development professionals to revolutionize their donor relationships, conduct comfortable and effective asks, and ensure dramatic fundraising success. In essence, attendees walk into the program as fundraisers and walk out as Master Gift Officers or MGOs. 2013’s event runs from April 19th through April 22nd.
In 2011, we launched our planMGO Fellowship, awarded to an applicant who’s application essay best reflected MGO potential. This proved marvelously successful and we decided to continue the tradition. We received many outstanding entries this go-round, but this particular one deeply resonated with the judging panel.
My name is Lori Freeman and I currently work as an Associate Executive Director for Administration and Advancement at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in Washington, DC.
NACCHO is a relatively small membership non-profit, representing 2,800 local governmental health departments across the United States.Our budget belies our small membership because we perform significant work under the direction of federal grants and private foundations. Like most non-profits, we struggle with balancing our revenue-generating capabilities across funding streams so that we are able to achieve results for our funding partners while also considering the long-term sustainability of NACCHO as a non-profit formed to meet the needs of local health departments.
NACCHO is now in the very midst of expanding its view of unrestricted revenue to include new business development and major gifts. These areas fall under my responsibility at NACCHO. The search for non-traditional revenue sources can often be intimidating for any organization to address. I am particularly proud to lead this effort at NACCHO for the future of the organization and its membership.
Although a career non-profit professional with broad experience across traditional revenue generating areas, there is a chasm in my knowledge and experience related to the area of major gifts and donor fundraising. The time is truly opportune for me to gain the knowledge I need to help my public health non-profit move into this new, exciting, and unchartered territory. The MGO fellowship would afford me a powerful and timely learning experience and allow me to build skills and knowledge to support NACCHO’s new ventures. Since NACCHO focuses much of its work on providing technical assistance to our local health department members, this is also an unprecedented opportunity to develop a staff expertise that might translate eventually to helping local health departments think differently about their own fundraising capacities.
Participating in the fellowship program would also be extraordinarily rewarding in terms of my personal development. I would enjoy the chance to meet and interact with other professionals looking to achieve the same learning objectives, yet beginning their journey at the same level of knowledge and expertise. These types of distinct learning opportunities so often offer benefits beyond the knowledge gained during the experience itself. A strong, like-minded cohort of professionals emerges and transforms the original experience to long-term professional networks of friends and colleagues. Having exposure to a rich resource like this at the beginning of my new endeavor would be instrumental in countless ways. Being selected for the fellowship, and using the experience to advance NACCHO, would represent a personal and professional milestone for me.
My career calling, from my first professional position, has been to serve non-profits. I will always remain committed to the passion of the non-profit, the desire to serve its constituencies, and working with amazing volunteer leaders. The MGO fellowship would allow me to ‘pay it forward’ and to serve these organizations in yet one more way. I would be honored to be selected for the fellowship.
- True Master Gift Officers see the upside in all opportunities – anticipated or not.
- Seek and use valuable training opportunities.
- It is always the right time for new skills and training, wherever you are in the career spectrum.