A learning (and growing) experience

Hello all!

My name is Haley Duff, I am a senior at Ohio State studying Community Leadership in the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science. I’m very excited to be completing my fellowship this year at Local Matters. Local Matters is dedicated to making an inspiring impact on the Columbus community through healthful food access and education. Knowing the rate of diet-related diseases and how important nutrition is to kids success in school and their future, I feel passionate about Local Matters’ mission and was excited to learn of my placement and being working with them. 

Within Local Matters, I am working with the communications and development team on a number of upcoming projects that I see incredible learning potential in. When I first started, the team was wrapping up a large annual fundraiser event they put on called Harvest Ball. While I started a little to late to be involved with planning the event, I did get to see all the work that goes in to after such a large scale event. Individually thanking every person who came and donated is a tremendous undertaking, and seeing how important donor stewardship is to the success of the organization is was eye opening. Now the main focus of the team is in their end of the year campaign, which is doubling as a huge capital campaign.

Local Matters is in the process of moving to a big beautiful new office space that will have all the resources within it that they currently rent out from local churches and other space. I’m very excited to work with them on the capital campaign, as I know it will be excellent experience moving forward with my career to be able to draw on the success of it. So far my involvement has been in some online crowdfunding efforts, and writing some copy for emails to be sent out. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from such experienced, kind, and passionate people.

So far one of the coolest experiences I’ve had as a member of the team was being at my first full staff meeting, which was used as a brainstorming session for a new tagline or slogan for Local Matters. It was so interesting to me how just changing the order of words can make a totally different impact on a brand and identity! Everyone at Local Matters is so passionate about the mission, it was inspiring!

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Hope for the Future


My name is Danielle Francis and I am a senior at The Ohio State University studying Early and Middle Childhood Studies. I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work as a fundraising and development fellow for Catholic Social Services.

“Motivated by faith, Catholic Social Services helps poor and vulnerable seniors and families reach their potential.”

Catholic Social Services works to achieve this mission through a variety of services and locations across Central and Southern Ohio. They provide counseling and supportive services to families, a companion to seniors so they may keep their independence, supportive services to seniors, and many other services to the community members. These services are able to be provided through the efforts of donors and supporters of the organization.

The Spirit of Hope Gala is one of the organization’s annual fundraiser that brings people together to support the various causes and services Catholic Social Services provides. It will be held at the Columbus Museum of Art on March 5, 2016. This is where the majority of my time and energy will be focused during my Fellowship. I will be working alongside the Director of Mission Advancement as well as the Development Manager to make this event a success. I have been working on organizing a list of businesses and supporters to be invited to join the event as well as comprising a list of possible auction item donors. I will continue to work on both of these efforts as well as other tasks as the Gala approaches.

I have enjoyed my time with the organization thus far and cannot wait to see what else is in store for me with this wonderful opportunity. It is rewarding to know that all of the efforts that are put into making this event a success have such a powerful impact on the over 11,000 people the organization serves throughout the year.

Danielle Francis

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The SON is rising!

Hello! My name is AnnMarie Graham, I am a senior at The Ohio State University studying Public Affairs and International Studies, and much like a sunrise, my time as a Fundraising and Development Intern for Serving Our Neighbors Ministries is just beginning!

Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries works “to build our Hilliard community while offering a hand up (not a hand out) to families facing the unique challenges of poverty.” In order to achieve this goal, the nonprofit hosts several initiatives, ranging from a free legal clinic to the Hilliard Free Summer Lunch Camp to a Family English as a Second Language (ESL) program. The Family ESL program has already had a profound impact on me and has made me extremely proud to be part of this organization. Serving 126 adults and their children from 22 different countries, it is the literal definition of organized chaos, but chaos that is producing a tangible effect in the Hilliard community. Despite the already impressive magnitude of the program, there is still an extensive waitlist. That’s where I come in.

Working with the Development and Communications Associate, as well as the CEO and founder, I am providing fundraising and development support for the organization. My main responsibility is working in conjunction with the Stewardship Committee to plan and execute the Open Your Heart Gala that will be taking place in April. Other tasks include assisting with the creation of communications materials and interactions with partners.

Every day I leave the office feeling extremely content and fulfilled; I am so appreciative of the chance to be creative and help make an impact within my community. Already, I have learned so much from a truly extraordinary team, and it’s only been a month! I cannot wait to see what the next five have in store.

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

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GREAT Futures Start Here!

Hello Readers,

My name is Taylor Weis, I am a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University. I am fortunate to be serving as the fundraising/development fellow for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus. I have a history with the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) as I interned with BGC of Alachua County in Gainesville, Fl this past summer. As an intern I worked directly with the kids on a daily basis teaching fitness classes every morning, teaching the program SMART girls, coaching the baseball team, and many other fun activities. I had a wonderful experience there and really fell in love with the organization.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Columbus provide affordable after school and summer programming to youth ages 6 through 18. Our Clubs offer a safe and positive environment for kids to spend non-school hours, and also provides various extra-curricular activities. Our mission statement is “To empower young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.”

As the fundraising/development fellow I will be working with the director of development, the CEO, and the board to set up the policies and plans behind their endowment fund. I spent my first few weeks learning in depth information and history about the Boys and Girls Club of America. I also spent time learning about Boys and Girls Club of Columbus in particular, through reading and interaction. I got the opportunity to visit and tour all seven of the Columbus Club locations, meet the Club staff, and interact with the kids. After the introduction phase I started intensive research regarding my project. Some of this research includes gift acceptance policies, investment policies, spending rules, and policies for accepting bequests.

I am very thankful for this promising opportunity to help develop such a substantial organization that makes a profound impact on youth in the Greater Columbus Community!

Stay tuned for more updates on my work and experience!

-Taylor Weis

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Unite Today. Change Tomorrow.


My name is Ryan Fisher and I have the fortunate opportunity to serve as the Fundraising & Development Fellow for United Schools Network (USN) at the Columbus Collegiate Academy- Main Street Campus.

Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA) Main Street Campus is a college prep charter school that provides educational opportunities to underserved students, Grades 6-8, in Columbus, Ohio.

What is Fundraising & Development?

I believe that working in Fundraising & Development means moving the organization forward in respect to its mission, vision, and values. Development entails utilizing multiple aspects of the organization, such as communication and alumni services.

What do I do as a Fellow?

On the first day of work I learned more about the behind-the-science operations of CCA. After getting an idea what my Fellowship would be all about I was excited to get started on the following projects:

  • Grant writing
    • proposing a $30,000 grant for a new playground at the CCA- Dana Ave. campus
  • Social media strategizing
    • utilizing multiple social media platforms to promote USN’s Annual Campaign
  • Event planning
    • help organize sponsorship packages for Launch Bash, which is an event that takes place next May and celebrates the LAUNCH of USN’s students into college and the LAUNCH of the 8th grade cohort into high school.

This experience so far has made me appreciate the efforts of United Schools Network to not only close the achievement gap for low income and high need students, but to also give students the skills to gain a degree from the most demanding high schools and colleges.

I look forward to being a part of this movement! Stay tuned for more updates in the future.

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What a Time to Work at The Zoo!

Hello All! I’m Connor Hooper and I have the pleasure of serving as the Fellow for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! I was incredibly excited upon hearing my placement with the Zoo—the organization has such a tremendous reputation locally and nationally for excellence and creating meaningful impact.

At the Zoo, I serve as a member of the Philanthropy team and report to Directors of Philanthropy, Cheryl Lesko and Mayme Norman, who focus on major gifts and annual giving, respectively. At the onset of the Fellowship, the following were identified as the primary goals to accomplish:

  • Assist with creating a new social media focused donor stewardship program
  • Create and explore new commemorative gift options for donors of certain levels
  • Expand aspects of the Jack Hanna Legacy Society for planned gifts
  • Focus on expanding appropriate donor recognition for capital campaigns

With the help of Cheryl, Mayme and Donna Zuiderweg, our Vice President of Community Engagement, I developed a timeline for the first month of my Fellowship which has helped guide my work and keep me on track. However, before jumping into these projects, it has been important, and valuable, to take the time to learn as much about the Zoo, its mission, its impact, its programs and services and its future trajectory. Understanding all these elements of the Zoo enables me to make more thoughtful recommendations in my work.

The first projects I have delved into as part of my Fellowship have been creating a plan for social media focused donor stewardship and assessing the greater donor recognition practices of the Zoo.

As I write this post, these projects are ongoing. In regards to assisting in the creation of a social media focused donor stewardship plan, I started by assessing the Zoo’s current social media presence and focuses and then performed a SWOT analysis which should help guide the development of the plan. I look forward to sharing more about the progress of this project as we move forward!

In assessing the donor recognition practices of the Zoo, I have been frequently touring the Zoo, exhibit by exhibit, detailing all of the instances of donor recognition and returning to compare them against giving levels and other exhibits at the Zoo. Although this project is ongoing, the goal is to deliver an analysis of current donor recognition in the Zoo with “best practices” and innovative options for future naming opportunities.

One of the most comforting aspects of the Fellowship thus far has been the willingness of the entire philanthropy team to check-in, provide assistance and lend their institutional memory to ensure that I am empowered to do the best work possible. With thoughtful planning, commitment and their continued support, this Fellowship will surely allow for me to grow professionally while providing a substantial contribution to a vital community anchor.

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A Great Start

Hello There,

My name is Yasmin Radzi and I am the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio’s Development/Fundraising Fellow. This week marks the third week of my fellowship and I have had such a blast. I’ve been learning how to operate through Raiser’s Edge and other Blackbaud products. Through these two programs, I’ve been learning about  gift outreach, gift records, and project development.

Every week I attend a Development Committee meeting that involves the Volunteer Coordinator, the Annual Gift Manager, and the Director of Development. During these meetings we talk about different events to hold in Columbus and different ways to reach out to a diverse population. Currently we are working on a “Helpers for the Holidays” Campaign which will act as peer to peer fundraising via a Blackbaud product. For this project, I’ve been tasked to design the website layout, make the donor solicitation letters, and the donor thank you letters. I’ve also been researching on different Furniture Bank of Central Ohio “Swag” items to act as incentives for volunteers who recruit the largest teams!

I also have the responsibility to manage all of the social media updates: twitter, facebook, and instagram! This has been a bit challenging because I have to remember day to day to finish all of my daily tasks on top of social media postings. I’m thankful that I have hopefully mastered time managing and will be on top of this as the weeks progress!

I am grateful for such a great start at such a great non-profit. The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio has helped 8,000 families over the past year in order to fill empty houses with furniture. It’s been a great first three weeks to help create a positive impact on the families in the surrounding area that are in need.

I’m looking forward to work tomorrow and work in the future!

#BedsForKids #FurnitureBank


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