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The Bright Future of Fundraising in Kansas City

By May 8, 2015July 16th, 2015All Posts, Commentary, Fundraising, Insights

mary_ellen_clark_for_web-2By Mary Ellen Clark

Senior Vice President
A recent meeting of the area’s nonprofit leaders in Kansas City gave me an opportunity to smile about the future of fundraising. (Giving USA 2014.) The information shared was “statistics”, and while this may be boring to some, we had so many thought-provoking, critically-worded questions, we didn’t even have time for me to ask more than one! And these well thought-out questions were not only from individuals with graying temples: many were from those younger professionals who actually went to school to become fundraisers.
These individuals didn’t just fall into the profession like so many of our colleagues; rather, they chose fundraising as a career. My route was certainly not like theirs. With a Master’s in Nursing and a love for my university’s phone-a-thon, my second career followed my favorite former volunteer job.
Kansas City is fortunate to be one of the most philanthropic cities in the nation. However, along with this claim, the institutions of higher education have followed this trend by providing nonprofits with well-educated fundraisers, learning more than what’s shared in just an afternoon seminar. Rockhurst University offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Nonprofit Leadership, while Avila University offers a Master’s Degree in Management with a Fundraising Concentration. And UMKC offers a Certificate in Fund Raising from the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership, Henry W. Bloch School of Management.
The future for nonprofit leadership in the area is as bright as the faces of those 18-year olds entering school this fall to learn about “how to ASK!”
Nonprofits must constantly raise the bar of excellence to achieve greater capacity, often with less resources. Boards expect staff leadership be current on recent changes in fiscal management, fund development and volunteer resources. Staff leadership is continually seeking Board members who understand mission, can open doors for the organization and participate effectively in Board activities.
Summertime is the time to recharge. Jeffrey Byrne + Associates kicked off summer fundraising education with a presentation by Dr. Patrick Rooney, Dean of the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy, with the report of “Giving USA 2013”. With this information we look back at giving in the past year, learn about what impacted these changes and consider how these changes will affect our organizations. If you missed the presentation, you can find special insights from the report at
No matter how you began your fundraising career, or where you were educated, stay current. Summer seminars are a great way to do that, and begin fall fundraising activities with this new information!

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