Ed. Note: FLiP is pleased to bring you a brief Q&A today with Suzanne Lee, Manager, Development & Communications for ENACT, Inc. Suzanne is currently a student in the “Help in Hard Times – Raising Funds from Corporations and Foundations” course offered jointly by The City University of New York (CUNY) School of Professional Studies (SPS) – www.sps.cuny.edu – and Community Resource Exchange (CRE) – www.crenyc.org.
ENACT’s mission is to help New York City public school students learn social and emotional skills through creative drama and drama therapy techniques. Using a tailored program of classroom-based theatre activities and role play, ENACT’s team of trained, diverse teaching artists creates an atmosphere of trust within which struggling students recognize their acting-out behavior and learn important life skills that allow them to thrive both in and out of the classroom.
FLiP: Why are you taking the course?
Suzanne Lee (SL): I’m fairly new in the fundraising game, having recently taken over foundation relations a few months ago in addition to my communications duties at ENACT. Although I have had excellent mentors, I took this course to further develop my development cap and gain tips and strategies for improving our fundraising efforts.
FLiP: How has it been valuable?
SL: Each week I’ve come out the classroom thinking, “Wow! That was really helpful!” and excited about sharing what I’ve learned with my organization the next day. Going through even the basics of how to initially approach potential funders, the first face-to-face meeting, and even putting together budgets has been great because we are able to draw from the experiences of the entire group on what we’ve been doing right and wrong. Among the group, there are start-up organizations with one or two on staff as well as hundred year old organizations with over 100 people working for them. We represent education, the arts, health care, social services, immigration, science. Our cohort is really diverse in experience, fundraising roles with our respective organizations, and areas of focus, and it’s reflected in every class discussion. And of course our instructor, Janice McGuire, brings a wealth of experience and insight that translates into very practical and constructive ways to improve our fundraising efforts.
FLiP: What key lessons/takeaways can you share with other FLiPs?
SL: Keep things simple and practical. In the end, it’s about what your organization is doing to make this world a better place that will sell the funder, and you don’t want to overshadow that.