I am sad to share that after seven incredible years with GlobalGiving, I am leaving this Friday, September 11th to pursue my Master’s of Business Administration at the University of Cape Town. In the time that I have been at GlobalGiving, I have been in absolute awe of you, our nonprofit partners. You have inspired and challenged me and you have taught me lessons that I will never forget. Please let me take this opportunity to say thank you.
You inspired me.
When I first joined GlobalGiving as an intern in 2008, I was a firm believer in local solutions to local problems but, to be honest, I was skeptical about what small, community-based organizations could really accomplish. That year, GlobalGiving launched our first-ever Open Challenge, in which organizations were challenged to raise $3,000 from 75 individual donors to gain long-term access to the website. As I wrote in this 2012 blog post, I thought there was no way that grassroots organizations in developing countries could really mobilize that many donors or raise that much money. But you proved me wrong. That first Open Challenge was a huge success. Twenty organizations from places like Nepal, Madagascar, Philippines, and Sierra Leone secured a spot on GlobalGiving. To date, hundreds of organizations like yours have raised millions of dollars through Open Challenges on GlobalGiving.
Since then, you have continued to blow my expectations out of the water and inspire me with your commitment and drive to make change happen in this world. I have had the privilege to visit many of your projects in more than a dozen countries; and in that time, I have encountered leaders who have brought together their entire communities to find solutions to local challenges. I have met project leaders who are maintaining several part-time jobs to fund their nonprofit’s missions. I have personally spoken with hundreds of people around the globe whose lives have been changed because of you: young women who have found their voice and that are going to college because of you, families that have access to high-quality healthcare because of you, school children who drink clean water because of you, and so many more. And in my time here at GlobalGiving, you have become my role models. You are the people I want to be someday. Thank you for your inspiration!
You challenged me.
When I started full-time in the summer of 2010, I was given the task of working with Britt Lake, our Sr. Director of Programs, to improve the services that we offer our current partners. So, in addition to creating resources like the Project Leader Manual and our annual Campaign Calendar, we set out to collect your feedback about ways that we could make GlobalGiving better for you. And since then, you have challenged me and the GlobalGiving team to be better, to get creative and think outside the box so that we could help you raise much needed funds and become a more effective organization to support the communities you serve.
You told us that it wasn’t enough to be able to see your donations, you wanted a way to learn from your activity on the GlobalGiving website and to be able to interact with your donors. You made it clear that you wanted training and support but our monthly webinars weren’t cutting it, so you challenged us to create our two-month Academies on online fundraising and social impact. And you said money wasn’t enough, so you challenged us to find ways to help your organization become more effective.
You taught me.
That August when I started my new full-time job at GlobalGiving, I knew that I would be running webinars, writing blog posts, and hosting one-on-one fundraising consultations, and I thought I had to know it all so that I could teach you. But, just like so many times before, you proved me wrong again. It quickly became apparent that you know this stuff so much better than I do. I learned that we, at GlobalGiving, are really just here to facilitate a conversation between our brilliant partners. So, when I set out to create GlobalGiving’s first-ever Online Fundraising Academy in 2012, I turned to you, our nonprofit partners for help. You led sessions on campaign fundraising and donor retention. You taught one another (and me) how to identify and support donor captains and how to develop an effective Facebook strategy. And this year, when it was time to create our new Social Impact Academy, I returned to you for important information on how to define, measure, and talk about your social impact.
In addition to the ins and outs of online fundraising and how to articulate and measure an organization’s impact, you’ve also taught me about the importance of building personal, human relationships. You’ve shown me the value of listening to and engaging your constituents in a conversation. And you’ve given me a glimpse of what it takes to run a successful organization.
In fact, I would say that whether or not you knew it, you were investing in me all along. But don’t worry. Just because I’m leaving, doesn’t mean that your investment is going to waste. I feel confident that with even more knowledge and skills in my toolbox, I’ll be a more valuable resource for the nonprofit sector.
And, the good news is that you will have the opportunity to work with our incredible new Sr. Program Manager, Emma Hersh, who comes to us with years of experience providing training and support to help organizations become more effective. She has a slew of ideas about how to make the services that we provide you, our nonprofit partners, even better and she’s ready to jump right in. Please be sure to welcome her to the GlobalGiving community!
So, with that, I would like to say my final thank you. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you and I hope that our paths will cross again someday soon. I’ll see you later, Project Leaders!