Creativity in Development

Undergoing a significant capital campaign requires a broad base of big donors. From what I have seen so far, these donors come in three different categories:

  1. Current supporters
  2. Friends on supporters
  3. Strangers

The categories are arranged in order of how likely they are to support the campaign and how easy they are to reach. The first two categories are very self explanatory. Current supporters already understand and connect to the mission and vision of your cause. You also already have an established communication channel, so it is easier to make new requests and get additional support. It is simple to see why they are the best group to work with. Most times, however, this group is limited so the next category is made up of their friends and connections. The hardest part in development is to initiate relationships, and having a reference makes it a lot easier to start as compared to a cold call or email.

For big capital campaigns, however, the first two categories of donors are not always enough and you have to work harder to start relationships with strangers. Strangers are people in certain communities with capacity to give, who don’t have any current connection to your cause or current supporters. Creativity is key in order to help initiate this relationship.

For my project in Dublin specifically, one creative idea the team has identified to successfully engage strangers is to 3D print small models of the new Dublin branch and send it to potential donors in order to peak their interest and ensure that they will read our materials. For the next couple months, one of my side projects will be to ensure this happens and identify other creative opportunities.

I wrote about this because I never thought of this as a part of development, but I find it very interesting.



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Late December Post – Giving Tuesday

This blog should’ve been posted a while ago, but with the new year and last semester of school, things got a bit crazy.

One of the most interesting things I learned this month, regarding fundraising, is how powerful bringing the community together can be. I learned this after seeing what happened in Giving Tuesday.

Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is supposed to be a day where people help their communities by donating money. Leveraging the use of social media, many organizations communicate with their constituents to and try to maximize the number of donations during that day. This is very popular and effective because many people like to donate towards the end of the year so this is a good time. Additionally, this happens around the Holidays and many people participate, so others feel as if not only are they helping but they are also joining in a movement.

To capitalize on this idea of a movement, one donor called the library and said he would donate $5,000 that day, only if other donors could match the amount. Typically, matching gifts are much larger and come from known donors in the community. This time, it didn’t happen this way, but since it was Giving Tuesday, it was easy for the library to spread the word online and reach a lot of people. Various donors started to feel as if they were working together towards meeting the $5,000 goal. The excitement of working together with others and the strong desire to reach the goal even prompted some donors to call and ask about the status of the goal because they were ready to donate again in order to succeed.

I write about his because I thought t was a very interesting and successful movement, and it shows how much greater things can be accomplished when people work together and they work under the right incentives.

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2017 at Mid-Ohio Foodbank

As we enter into the new year of 2017, things have been moving along swiftly at Mid-Ohio Foodbank. On December 14th, MOF celebrated its annual “Double Your Donation Day”. NBC4 hosted a phone bank, where volunteers took donation calls. I spent the day in the walk-in room at Mid-Ohio Foodbank, meeting committed community members who wanted to make their donation in person. It was extremely rewarding to see all of the individuals who wanted to be a part of addressing food insecurity in Central Ohio and took time out of their day to visit the Foodbank. Overall, the day was tremendously successful and it was great to see the incredible impact that the Columbus community could have when we come together for an important cause.

I have also been making a lot of progress on my specific project. Using the information I gathered from meetings with our Development directors, the Agency Services team, and the Corporate Engagement team, I began to craft several pieces. These pieces will be used to inform corporate and individual donors about the impact of Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s fresh foods initiatives that work to alleviate food insecurity amongst children, seniors, and Franklin County residents. They are brief pieces, each one page long and tell the story of a client. It has been very rewarding reading through many inspirational and moving client stories. After finishing these concise pieces, I will start constructing more detailed documents that can be used for grant writing and reporting purposes.


Until next time,


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New Year, same project


With January begins a New Year and with the New Year comes a renewed and increased desire for AIDS Walk Ohio to get rolling. Through January comes the opening of the website, a big push to register teams, and more and more details being ironed out. My project has been evolving and it is really fascinating to watch how I originally thought it would be to what it is developing into. We are thinking about adding other aspects to the project that would function during a different time frame. Understandably details are still being ironed out with that initiative, but I think it will be a great addition to get more people involved. Also, I have really started enjoying working on the website and learning the behind the scenes of online donations.

In more New Year news, classes have begun again at Ohio State and that means a new schedule. It was nice this semester to be able to create my school schedule around my Equitas schedule. I am hoping it will be a little easier this semester to get work done because I will be coming in on a more regular, part-time schedule for longer stretches of time. Everyone was so accommodating last semester when my schedule was hectic and I could only come in for two hours at a time. It has shown me truly how great the people are that work here and what type of environment I want for after graduation (in just 4 short months!).

Goal update: 1. I feel much more confident approaching coworkers and I think that is in part because I have come to truly understand how friendly and willing to help everyone is here. I know I have said it before but I cannot stress enough how great it is here. 2. While (as far as I know) none of the signs have been sold I am hoping that will change shortly as the website gets its full launch and more email-blasts get sent out to the public. I am confident by the next time we speak I will have a few sold. A new goal I would like to set for myself is working hard on creating relationships. Especially in the fundraising and development world I always hear that it is basically all relationship building. I want to make sure I am utilizing this time to the fullest extent and make as many connections as I can.

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Getting down to work

Hello all!

This past month has been great here at Equitas Health. I have begun really getting into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to create a new initiative within a already established event. For me the biggest learning curve has been getting other’s approval on things before moving forward. Often times as a student you work alone and can power through a project in a night if you really want to. Even with group assignments, everyone usually divides up parts and then is set free to complete their section as they see fit. That is not always the case in the ‘real world’. Especially as an intern here, I need/want to make sure that everything I am working on gets approved by my supervisor before sending it to anyone else. Luckily my supervisor is fantastic and is always willing to read over my work and offer constructive criticism to help me improve. Heather Llewellyn is the Development & Special Events Manager and has been instrumental in helping me adjust to the work place and getting me up to speed with the rest of AIDS Walk Ohio and our Red Ribbon Project. Figuring out the correct pathway to get products or ideas approved has been my main focus in addition to creating the products or idea. So far I have had a good experience with people looking over my work where it gets to have a lot of eyes on it, but the reviewing and approving process is not unnecessarily long.

            I will be leaving for a few weeks to go home for winter break but I intend to use this time to work from home and  brainstorm to return in 2017 raring to go. We plan to begin pushing the Walk and the creation of teams and fundraising goals as early as the end of this month as well as a big push in early 2017. We have plans to push the AIDS Walk Ohio Red Ribbon Project (AWORRP) in a multitude of platforms to reach as wide of an audience as possible.

            I would like to set some goals for myself before the next time I post: 1. I would like to be more confidant approaching co-workers that I am less familiar with for help or suggestions, and 2. I would like to have at least one of my commemorative signs sold. Wish me luck and I will check back in in 2017! Happy Holidays!

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Fundraising and Development at Mid-Ohio Foodbank

Hello blog readers!

Professional Headshot.jpgMy name is Caroline Mashni and my fellowship placement is with Mid-Ohio Foodbank. I am currently a senior at THE Ohio State University pursuing a double major in Public Affairs and Spanish. Here at OSU I like to stay busy and am involved in the Office of Student Life’s Community Service Cohort, referred to as Pay it Forward, my sorority Alpha Xi Delta, and The Girls Circle Project. In my free time, I like to relax  in the great outdoors and explore Columbus Metropolitan Parks, travel and practice my Spanish, and cheer on Buckeye football.

My experience at Mid-Ohio Foodbank has been incredible so far. Their mission is “to end hunger one nourishing meal at a time and to co-create a sustainable community where everyone thrives”. More than 650 community organizations pair with MOF to distribute the food to community members, which amounted to 66.5 million pounds of food last year. I am so grateful for this opportunity to grow and learn from all of the truly wonderful individuals at Mid-Ohio Foodbank in the coming months. I am constantly amazed at the intelligence, passion, and thoughtfulness of every team member I meet.

For my development and fundraising fellowship project, I will be creating marketing pieces about all of the diverse programs at Mid-Ohio Foodbank. They will be used to inform individuals, government agencies, and businesses about the immense impact of MOF programs and how they can be involved in these efforts to end hunger. I am beginning by looking at Fresh Food programs and how they provide fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products to individuals across MOF’s 20-county service area.

To learn more about Mid-Ohio Foodbank, visit their website:

Until next time,




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Starting at The Columbus Metropolitan Library

Hi! My name is Paul d’Hyver and I am a senior at Ohio State studying integrated business and engineering. Over the next couple of months, I will be working with the development team of the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation (CMLF).

CMLF just finished a huge capital campaign, where they raised around $20 million as part of their renovation project “vision 2020.” CML has a network of 22 libraries across the Columbus area and as a part of this project, many of the branches will be completely rebuilt or updated and renovated. The Dublin branch has a lot of visitors and high circulation, therefore it will be completely rebuilt and doubled in size. To accomplish this, there is a gap of about $2 million in funds, so this will be my focus during my time here.

Over the next 5 months, I will help to plan the capital campaign to raise the needed funds to finalize the Dublin branch renovation.

The development team is comprised of 9 people and they all have different roles. I will work mainly with the development director and the fundraising manager, although I have already received help and learned information from some of the other team members.

During my first week, I read a lot of information and talked to a variety of people in order to understand all aspects of development at the library at a deeper level, specially concerning the Dublin project.

After catching up to speed, I leveraged existing documents to write a new campaign plan and to begin writing documents such as a committee description. Although I did not have much guidance writing these new documents, I found it helpful to take initiative to give it a try and then submit it for feedback. This helped me learn quicker and showed my manager and director that I am willing to learn and that I can be responsible for the tasks they need me to complete.

For the remainder of my time here, my main tasks will be to update and finalize the campaign plan, create a gift table to ensure we can raise all the needed funds, perform a lot of prospect research, and create profiles for these prospects.


If you want to learn more about the library, go to their website here:

Also, here is a picture I took during my first day with a hat they used at a big celebration event called the Celebration of Learning:





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