RealJobs: Calvin Lai

People say that to be an effective fundraiser, you have to be a good schmoozer.  I don’t believe that garbage.  I believe that as soon as you see your interactions with another human being as schmoozing, you’ve already lost.  I think the key to success in any nonprofit is to be passionate and totally on fire for the mission.  If that’s how you feel about the work of your organization, it will never feel like schmoozing.  Instead, it will just be a natural thing that you talk about because you’re excited about it.  That’s how I approach every day at The Doe Fund – and every interaction with a potential donor.

One of my biggest responsibilities is to raise the bar of the writing and the creative components of our fundraising efforts.  This role allows me to work with a variety of staff at The Doe Fund, which leads to me to Monday.  After my requisite caffeine fuel-up in the morning, I contacted my Special Events Manager on some follow-up correspondence and proposals that we needed to get out to corporate sponsors and potential sponsors for a fundraising event that we have coming up on March 1st.  The event is called sweet: New York, and we’re looking to draw hundreds of working professionals to this event to celebrate the transformations of the homeless men in our program.  Today I spent a chunk of the morning communicating with companies who are donating to our silent auction.  We also submitted a sponsorship request to secure beverages for the event.

Today, I also met with our website development team.  The Doe Fund is in the midst of overhauling our website with new content, design, and functionality.  It’s an exciting project and we have a big team working on this.  I found that a big team comes with lots of opinions.  But it also comes with lots of great ideas.  We met to make some final changes to the site map, and I felt really good about the meeting and came away pumped up about writing the content – which will fall mostly on my shoulders.

In the afternoon, I took care of a few loose ends: writing some copy for a trade advertisement that promotes one of The Doe Fund’s social enterprises, and working with one of our internal creative sources to design new cover art for our promo DVDs.  These DVDs are included in all of our media kits, and we also play them for donors and potential donors when they tour our facilities.

I mentioned in my first post that I also do freelance copywriting on the side.  Right now, I’m working with a design boutique to create a landing page and some email communications for a client that’s announcing the arrival of its New York City office.  I spent a bit of the evening on concepting for this assignment, but made sure to spend the bulk of the evening with my wife and daughter.  I love my work.  But it will never be more important than my family!

All in all, it was a productive day.  Tomorrow, I’ll get up and do it all over again.  Thanks for reading!

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