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  • Writer's pictureAlison Monette

Lisa - Roadmap to College Fundraising

What do you do for a living?

Director of North Central College Annual Fund

What does a day at your job look like?

It differs daily. I have administrative responsibilities related to managing the team in charge of our annual giving campaigns when I'm in the office. I also spend time out meeting with alums, friends of the college and donors. These are the people I make pleas to for financial support of North Central. I also manage several key corporate relationships for the college.

What path did you take to get here?

Graduated high school (at which point I had no idea what philanthropy really was or that it could be a career)-->

Got my Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and Sociology/Anthropology from North Central College. I was a good student and very involved in the college-->

Junior year I realized I wouldn’t make it to a professional level in theatre-->

Completed internships on the marketing and business side of a small theater and small television production company-->

After graduation I went into finance and worked at Morgan Stanley (when it was still Dean Witter)-->

A year and a half later I found myself in conversation with the Dean of Students at North Central-->

Got a job on the development professionals team at North Central College while getting my MBA there-->

I've never left. I worked several development level jobs and was promoted up the ranks to the Director role. I've been there 25 years.

What are the Challenges of your job?

1. The topography of fund raising has changed through the years. It's more competitive. It can be difficult to make a case for someone to give support to North Central over a non-profit organization looking for donations for cancer research.

2. Getting appointments with people who don't want to be approached about giving money.

What are the blessings of your job?

1. This job has been everything I needed it to be at every stage of my life. My schedule is flexible, which has allowed for work/life balance. They promoted me even though I had children and have afforded me the time to be involved with my kids and take care of my mom when she was sick.

2. The development of relationships with annual givers who then become friends has been a blessing. My meetings with them are fun.

What 3 characteristics do you have to possess or develop to do your job well?

1. Be able to gracefully take no for an answer, but be able to know when it’s really a "maybe".

2. Be thick skinned. You have to be able to take rejection and keep reaching out.

3. Be comfortable having conversations and establishing relationships with people you don't know yet. Be a people person.

What are 3 concrete things you’d tell someone on their journey to doing your job?

1. Develop a gift for gab.

2. Figure out what you’re passionate enough about that you're willing to ask others to support it as well.

3. Find a place who's mission you believe in.

IG: northcentralcollege

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