Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself?
I joined U.S. Soccer seven years ago as the first member of the Federation’s new Development department. My development background includes serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, followed by work at United Way and then a small nonprofit focused on cross-cultural exchange, environmentalism and volunteerism called Greenheart International. Before transitioning to development, I worked in public affairs in Washington, D.C. and London, at one of the world’s top PR firms, Edelman. But my first ever “real job” was as a local sportswriter for my hometown newspaper, The Gettysburg Times, in Pennsylvania. I attended the College of William & Mary (an alma mater I share with U.S. Women’s National Team coaching legend, Jill Ellis!).
Why development at U.S. Soccer? What’s the goal of your role?
Not many people realize that U.S. Soccer is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. The Federation oversees 22 National Teams, coaching education, referee programs, and more. I get to work every day with fans and donors who want to make an impact on the beautiful game at the national level through their philanthropic gifts. We have big goals and we know it will take all of us working together to make soccer the preeminent sport. I encourage you to read more about U.S. Soccer Development programs at www.ussoccer.com/fund.
What does your day-t0-day look like?
My role has evolved over time. As the first – and for a period of time only – Development department employee, I’ve been lucky to work with donors at every level and along every step of their journeys. No day is quite the same. I’ll go from check-in meetings with staff, to writing an email for all donors, to an event-planning conversation, to a budget conversation, to meetings on a scholarship or grants program, to personalizing a thank you letter, to refining a presentation for a donor, to a SheBelieves brainstorm, to using our development database for reports and research, to collaborating with technical staff about a program funded by donors, to a call with a donor.
What do you love most about your job?
Over the years, my proudest moments are when I’ve known that the programs and experiences we’ve created for donors have really touched their lives. I’ve loved hearing, “This was one of the best days of my life!” or being told even years after a program, “Remember when we did that? My family still talks about how incredible it was.” It’s special to know you’ve made an impact on donors, in the same way they have made an important impact on U.S. Soccer. I’m also extraordinarily proud when I can tell a colleague that a donor is interested in supporting their department’s program. Everyone at U.S. Soccer works so hard and cares so much about our mission. To make it even a little easier for them to achieve their goals is an exciting and powerful part of fundraising.
What advice would you give to women seeking a position in your field?
Work hard. Have passion for the mission you seek to support. And actively seek to learn more. Like any other industry, fundraising comes with core, learnable and actionable best practices that contribute to success. Consider volunteering or attending an event for the cause you care about, to get more experience and exposure. Then speak up. Be professional. Be personable. Be articulate. Be authentic. Connect. Truly care about the people donating and be ready to help them and put them first. There are so many nonprofits out there (including U.S. Soccer!) doing great work. You can be an asset in helping them grow and serve others.