How did you get into direct response fundraising?
My first professional job out of college was with a direct response marketing company. It was a great opportunity that let me work with some of the largest financial and publishing companies in the US. The experience was invaluable, but after several years I decided with my family to make the move from New Jersey to Florida. Shortly after my move, I got the opportunity to work with New River and nonprofit fundraising. In a lot of ways, commercial and nonprofit marketing are very similar. In other ways, they are worlds apart, so I feel like I’ve brought as much to the work as it has given to me.
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing the impact of my work and knowing that, in some small way, I’m helping to make the world a better place. Sometimes, I’m taken back by the access my position grants me; the things that I can see firsthand that very few people get to experience. Traveling to Haiti and walking hand-in-hand with an orphan I’ve helped to feed. Visiting a sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from medical experimentation and witnessing the care that we helped provide. Going to Washington DC and talking with a poor family that my work is helping to lift up. I am forever grateful to my clients for allowing me to help in the good works they do.
Worst part of your job?
When internal departments within the same nonprofit can’t collaborate. Inter-departmental silos are way too common in the industry and limit the good works that they can accomplish. I’m a huge advocate for sharing success for the greater good.
Your favorite escape from the job?
Over the past few years, I’ve developed a real love for traveling. Being able to see the world through my own eyes has been a blessing.Shaun Petersen