Hi it's me, Alison!
I started my nonprofit career as a student. When I was 18, I decided to study a few things... theology and philosophy because I am an insatiably curious person and my heart is drawn to the deeper questions in life... and nonprofit development.
There are a lot of reasons why I chose to go into nonprofit development, but the one that drew me in the most was the idea of being able to bring forth goodness into the world. There are so many beautiful, generous, loving people out there. I think sometimes, through the news and feelings of low self-worth and pain, we can lose sight of all the beauty. As an entrepreneur, I want to bring more beauty forward.
In 2019, I made my first fundraising template but was too afraid to share it online. Something inside of me felt like it was bad, desiring to make money directly for myself. A new concept to this fundraising professional! But in 2020, when I was experiencing writer's block before our year-end campaign, I remembered the template. And it worked. Not only did it work, it made the writing process feel fun and I found myself feeling grateful for what I had made. That gratitude gave me the confidence to start The Fundraising Shop, a store filled with templates for other nonprofit professionals and fundraisers to more easily create the materials they need. You don't have to start from scratch! Since launching in 2021, over 1,000 nonprofits have used the templates and given rave reviews. I can't begin to explain how amazing this is, and how grateful I am to be able to support them in this way.
A little bit about me
In late 2022, I began to get the "itch" again... I wanted to do more. So, I launched RAISE: The Fundraising School. And this process has been incredible and surprising. I've learned that as I create these courses - focused on fundraising skills and mindset work - that I am finding myself becoming a better and more confident fundraiser. I am confronting my imposture syndrome and healing from past fears and scars - all while getting amazing feedback from my students. The courses are helping them!
The amazing thing about working for nonprofits is how their mission can impact us as individuals. Currently, I serve as the Director of Philanthropy for Shelterhouse, a domestic violence and sexual assault shelter and services agency. One of the phrases we use the most at work and through our communications is “Asking for help can be your greatest strength."And it’s true… it’s true for you… it’s true for survivors…and it's true for me.I remember the day I finally asked for help. The words flowed out of me like a river - like a dam that burst because it couldn’t take the pressure anymore. I called my Mom from the parking lot and while I don’t remember exactly what I said, I remember the momentous shift I felt when she affirmed that she believed me and loved me.The bits of shame:
“How did I get myself so deep into this?”
“I used to see myself as a smart capable woman, what happened?”
“How did I let things get this bad.”
“People will hate me.”
None of this mattered anymore.I was no longer in “indecisiveness land.” I had made a decision. And now I had to map out the plan… a journey into the wide and scary unknown. It’s hard to describe the inextricable faith that came to me, and I firmly believe my grandma Joan was my guiding force. She had recently died and I felt like she made helping me out part of her newfound post-life mission. I talked to her, a lot. Still do. And she continued to give me so many answers and signs and solutions.I’ve criticized my journey a lot because I had the privilege of so many resources within my network. But I’ve since learned that gratitude is much more powerful in this area.... Gratitude has helped me find a way to pay it forward for the next person who has their decisive moment, to move forward, ask for help, and make a plan.
I'm excited to share the "Achieve Fundraising Excellence" workshops through RAISE with you, but I may be more excited about the upcoming series that will be called "Embrace a Philanthropic Mindset." Philanthropy is all about loving humanity... and part of doing so is remembering that you, too, are human.
When I'm not raising funds for Shelterhouse or building out RAISE, I am enjoying my time with my husband, David, on a walk with Livvy, practicing art (I'm an aspiring watercolor artist... check out my work @alisonclarebaldree on Instagram), or on an outdoor adventure.