Byrne Pelofsky is a full service fundraising consultancy delivering a complete set of tools to ensure fundraising success. How do we manage to offer such a broad range of services and expertise? It all comes down to our brilliant team of consultants that bring decades of experience in fundraising to the table. For our Byrne Pelofsky Consultant Spotlight, we aim to highlight the career, accomplishments and knowledge of our consultants. Our first edition features…
How did you originally get into fundraising and nonprofit work?
As a Senior at Emory University, I successfully applied for an internship with The Carter Center Presidential Library. I was in the first ever group of interns and President Carter was in the throes of a major capital campaign to build The Carter Center. They didn’t really know what to do with us, so they put a couple of us in the Development office where we conducted prospect research to shore up the President when he went on calls. I would write the briefing documents that were included in his daily schedule. It was energy-packed and so exciting to see what philanthropy could accomplish. I was hooked.
What is your favorite part of being a fundraising consultant and why?
The privilege of working with very diverse mission-driven organizations to help them maximize their impact. From serving the elderly to feeding the hungry to educating the next generation, each organization I serve is doing something impactful. I am so grateful for all that I am learning from each organization I serve and it is tremendously rewarding to know that I can help them make a difference.
What’s the most challenging part?
Time management. I want every client to feel that they’re the only client. Finding the right balance is difficult.
What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had in your career?
This is a much harder question. The majority of my career has been dedicated to health care and working with grateful patients and their families. One donor couple’s two daughters were diagnosed with a very rare genetic disease. I learned about the desperation and hopelessness families face when diagnosed with an “orphan” disease – a disease so rare that there is virtually no research or treatment. I worked closely with these parents who dedicated all of their philanthropic resources – which were significant – to fund basic research, identify and connect researchers throughout the world, find and connect other patients and experience very real results.
Tell us about your biggest success as a fundraiser.
I had the privilege of facilitating a $12 million gift which brought a hospital and university together to create and endowed chair in neonatal research, provide funding to recruit a world-class research team and renovate the NICU at the hospital. The gift spanned two distinct institutions and required tremendous collaboration. In the end, this was a dream come true for the donor – a mom and dad who had lost their first born daughter when she was born prematurely.
How do you prepare to work with new clients?
I do my homework, learning about their mission, reading any articles, annual reports or other information I can find as well as spending time on their website.
What’s the secret to a successful fundraising strategy?
Understanding what everyone involved brings to the team and putting all of the puzzle pieces together to create a specific outcome.
What is it about Byrne Pelofsky that distinguishes it from other firms in the industry?
I LOVE that every client gets a full team that includes a Fundraising Consultant and a Grant Writer. I LOVE that we assess every client’s range of funding opportunities – from state, federal, local, private and national foundations to individual and planned gifts – and we team up to forge a path to get the maximum success possible for our clients. We’re the only truly full-range offering of any consultant firms in our area.
Any advice to aspiring fundraisers?
First, listen. Listen to your donor, know his heart, her story, what they are passionate about. Watch Simon Sinek’s TED talk, “Start With Why,” and think deeply about the “Why” when you are articulating your Case for Support. Your “why” is never really about a building or starting a program. Your “Why” is about making a difference by doing something that matters. Never “sell” to your donor – connect your donor to the “Why” of your mission and the transformation he/she want to make possible.
What’s a day in the life of Beth Silverstein like?
I’m an early riser and do my best writing in the early morning with a cup of coffee. I typically have client meetings throughout the day and some in-the-office time. As an empty-nester, evenings are spent with my husband enjoying live music or theater or at home where we enjoy the pool and lake.
How do you like to unwind?
As a Florida girl, I have been around water my entire life. Now that I am in KC, our lake is my happy place. I love to sit outside on our balcony with my husband, Steve, a glass of wine and a fabulous sunset.
What would you like to share about your family?
I re-connected with my college sweetheart, we got married two years ago and I moved to KC from Florida. We are empty-nesters but each have children scattered around the country from Florida, Washington, D.C. to Oklahoma and Seattle. I have three daughters and he has two daughters and a son. We share our home with our cat, Chloe.
If you would like to discuss how Byrne Pelofsky can help take your organization’s fundraising activities to the next level, Beth would love to hear from you.