Seeing the work first hand

I’ve always known Local Matters does great work in the community, even prior to this fellowship I had seen the name around and heard through friends and peers who engaged with them how important their programming was. From the beginning, it was always on my ‘to-do’ list to go see a class Local Matters provides in action, but scheduling never worked out. My schedule this semester allowed for much more free mornings, so I finally got to go see a class! And it was absolutely wonderful.

I observed and helped a little bit with a Food Matters class at a head start program near Linden Park last week. The Food Educators, David and Monique, engaged these preschoolers in talking about food and where it comes from and how it grows. The kids were so captivated and well-behaved and interested in knowing more about different types of vegetables! We made little salads for them to try, and pointed out which part of the plant each vegetable came from. I also learned a secret from David to get kids to try salad, they mixed a little syrup in the dressing so it was sweet! I never would have guessed.

Without knowing what these kids eat at home or how these classes every week will change their lives, it’s hard to judge the true impact it will have. But I know it means something to them when they get so excited to see Monique and David walk in, or when at the end one little girl told me she was going to ask her mom to make salad for dinner. Having this experience, I feel more confident writing correspondence to donors and supporters knowing first-hand that the programs they are supporting do provide life-changing experiences. Moving forward, I am working early corporate donor and sponsorships for the 2016 Harvest Ball, which is Local Matters’ largest annual fundraiser. I’m absolutely enjoying my time learning and working with the Local Matters’ team, as well as taking pride in knowing I’m contributing in a small way towards these larger community goals.

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Crunch Time at Catholic Social Services

Since the start of the new year, things have been very busy at Catholic Social Services. The date of our Spirit of Hope Gala is approaching very quickly and there is still a lot of work to be done. Over the past few weeks, I have been responsible for securing auction items that we can put into our silent auction. In doing this, I have been calling businesses that we had not heard back from to see whether or not they would be willing/able to donate. Although it has been a tedious process, it has proven to be beneficial. We have more than doubled the number of committed items for our silent auction since I began making phone calls. Through this process, I have learned that there are times that businesses are willing to donate but the information either got lost in the mail or they became busy and forgot to respond. In these instances, a simple phone call was all that was needed to remind them of our silent auction and the causes that will benefit from the funds raised through the silent auction. It is rewarding to see how my work in making these calls is able to help the organization secure items that will allow them to increase the amount of money they are able to raise from the silent auction at the Spirit of Hope Gala.

In the coming weeks, things will continue to be busy as March 5th approaches and we are able to showcase our efforts at the Spirit of Hope Gala. I am looking forward to this event not only because I have put hard work into helping pull it together but also because I have never attended an event like this before. It will be a rewarding experience being able to see the attendees enjoy the event and knowing that all of the proceeds of the evening will go toward serving the clients of Catholic Social Services.

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Recognizing and Stewarding Donors

Over the past month, I have been able to wrap up two projects, present the work to my supervisors and begin to identify the next steps for my engagement with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The first project, focused on evaluation and recommendations for social media donor stewardship, has led to a number of follow-up projects that I hope will help the Zoo keep their donors interested and engaged. The second project, which involved researching and comparing the Zoo’s donor recognition practices with that of peer institutions, will enable me to be a helpful collaborator with our philanthropy team during the preparation for an upcoming campaign.

In order to create an effective social media donor stewardship program, it is critical to take the time to develop a thorough understanding of the Zoo’s current stewardship model on both an annual giving and major gift level. With this background informing my project, I was able to target key areas in which the Zoo can create social media content that is appropriate, timely and aligned with overall stewardship strategy. I found this project to be especially interesting because there wasn’t a clear “best practice” for social media donor stewardship at Zoos—I look forward to the Columbus Zoo becoming a thought-leader in this area.

The second project presented an excellent opportunity to engage with fundraising professionals at Zoos in Houston, Omaha, Denver and Saint Louis. From “Adopt-An-Animal” programs to plaque, bricks and benches, there are so many different ways Zoos recognize their donors on grounds. The goal of this project is to ultimately identify which methods of donor recognition best balance the need to properly acknowledge donors while remaining cost-efficient. We will be looking to incorporate my work on this subject matter into the planning for an upcoming capital campaign.

As always, I am continually impressed by and grateful for the intelligent and thoughtful Zoo philanthropy team. Learning from them is truly a privilege.


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Crowdfunding and Millennial Giving

As a fellow at the Charitable Pharmacy I’ve been working on a crowdfunding campaign in order to capture our volunteer base as donors. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me for research and career purposes.

Our volunteer base at the Charitable Pharmacy largely comes from Pharmacy students who have interned at the Pharmacy in order to get hours to graduate. Our Development Director wanted to put a focus on how to capture the people who have served through the pharmacy and were immersed in our mission to support the Pharmacy fiscally. In order to do this, she suggested a crowdfunding campaign.

The first part of this campaign required doing extensive research on Millennial giving and crowdfunding campaign. I found out that volunteerism is a unique to the Millennial generation. My further research showed that those who volunteer are more likely to give financially to an organization they have volunteered with. I also researched the unique and innovative ways nonprofits are engaging with Millennials in order to bring them in as donors. I was able to call and speak with other nonprofits about the way they run crowdfunding campaigns. It was a wonderful experience to call and speak candidly with non profits from all over Central Ohio. The thought that this specific group of donors are not financially established yet was a reoccurring thought, especially since I am also a student. Crowdfunding provides an innovative way to overcome this barrier, with large amounts of money raised from small donations from a large group of people.

I am now at the point where I am planning the campaign, step by step. We have set a specific goal that will help alleviate a specific need. This campaign has come to encompass a lot more than just the development department. I have sat down with Pharmacists and Qualifiers to understand the need within the pharmacy in order to create and execute the story. I am really looking forward to this innovative and creative step the Charitable Pharmacy is taking to capture and retain Millennial donors!



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Welcoming 2016 with Smiles

It has been a great start to the new year of 2016!

I can finally say that I have become very comfortable navigating through Raiser’s Edge!

The office has become very busy planning and preparing for the opening for The Furniture Bank’s new Thrift Store located at 2165 Morse Rd, Columbus, OH 43229 . Our new thrift store will be selling furniture, clothing, and appliances! Last Thursday Jan. 28, we had our first Hard Hat Open House at the Thrift Store which hosted many potential new board members!

On top of planning for the grand opening for the Thrift Store, I’ve been very busy with planning for our 1st Annual Bed Race! What is a bed race? All it takes it a team of 1 racer, 4 bed pushers, a bed frame, and a twin mattress! The race will take place on Goodale Avenue at Goodale Park in downtown Columbus.

For the Bed Race, I have been reaching out to local food trucks and vendors that I think would make a great “festival” addition to the Bed Race. For this outreach, I had to draft media sponsor emails, vendor emails,  and potential team recruitment emails. As of now I have one food truck confirmed and one team confirmed! I hope to book 3 food trucks and 4 teams by the end of this month! It’s been really fun working along side of Director of Development, Sarah Rooney, at the Furniture Bank. On top of gift management, I am now getting an insight on outreach and event planning as part of the development department!

This month I also started attending weekly management meetings where issues of HR, gift management, development, and other topics at the office are discussed with the management team. It’s nice to get an insight on how real staff meetings are run.

I’m looking forward to this next month and hope to draft a festival map, recruit more vendors, recruit more teams, and learn more about non profit development!

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A Big Move

Hello all!

I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season!

At the end of 2015, Local Matters lease ended at their former Broad St office space, or rather, mansion-turned office, even though the new office space on Parsons across from Nationwide Childrens Hospital was not complete yet. This made an interesting start to my school year and trying to get into the swing of a new schedule, because for about two weeks there was no office to go to! The team was great about frequent communication and working remotely. I learned a lot about myself and my own motivation in those two weeks as well, mostly that I am not sure working at home will be something I’ll chose to do if given the option! I had a hard time staying at home working on things, and was much more efficient when working in the student union or a coffee shop. When we finally got into the new office (which was sooner than expected), it’s beautiful! There is still much work to be done to it, especially in the instructional kitchen which will be used for the classes Local Matters offers. However, the space is so open and bright and in a great location.

Currently, they have me very busy and working on many things. One of the ones that I’m most interested in is a ‘focus group’ of sorts for promoting their Seeding the Future campaign. I went through the social media pages Local Matters utilizes and identified a team of people who interact with it the most, by liking or commenting or sharing posts. Then, I created a ‘tool kit’ for the team to use to promote to their own social circles about the campaign. I’m also working on analyzing donor data from 2015, going person by person to see if they were a new donor, returning, if they upgraded or downgraded their donation. As someone who has always been a little bit of a math and stats nerd, I have really enjoyed seeing the trends of donors and it has been insightful to see that people will only donate $5 if they can, but it really goes so far! I’m excited to keep moving forward this semester and see how the Seeding the Future campaign turns out!


Haley Duff


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New Year, Same Mission


Happy New Year! I have enjoyed the first few days in the office at Columbus Collegiate Academy (CCA). Some of the highlights include starting two new grants that would potentially help create a permanent space for alumni services at both the CCA- Main Street and CCA- Dana Avenue schools. This new space will help the USN alumni become more engaged with their alma mater, provide resources for college preparation, and hopefully host professional development workshops. In order to successfully complete these grants I have already been in communication with the COO, School Director, and the Alumni Service Coordinator.


Another project that I’m excited about is getting ready for the Launch Bash, which takes place this May. I am currently looking into sponsorship opportunities for this fundraising event. I’ve learned how sponsorship values are calculated so I am doing my best to break down the components of each USN sponsorship level. At times it can be difficult, but my supervisor has been helping me along the way.


Working at USN has been a great experience thus far. The positivity and teamwork in the office is super encouraging. I recently applied to Teach For America and if it weren’t for the inspirational people at United Schools Network I would not have thought about this possibility. Advancing education for kids in low-income communities has become a passion of mine and I’m fortunate to be a part of USN’s mission to prepare all students to achieve academic excellence and become citizens of integrity.

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