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Rising Stars

February 2011 By Margaret Battistelli
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Paige Cauthron
director of development
Covenant House Florida

In her three years in development at Covenant House Florida, Paige Cauthron created and implemented three new fundraising strategies and, in her first year, took a portfolio of donors and grew its giving by 25 percent. She also has managed some of the best special events the organization has ever held. She launched Covenant House Florida into the world of social media and found a way to have its website redesigned at no cost. She creates copy for direct-mail appeals; storyboards for TV and radio ads; and contributes content for the website, Facebook and Twitter, and collateral materials for myriad other uses.

She's an energetic Jill of all trades, but underlying everything she does, according to Covenant House Florida Executive Director James Gress, is her forward-thinking belief that fundraising and public relations not only can but must work hand in hand if an organization is going to thrive.

"Many nonprofits divide this work in such a way that fails to recognize the critical overlap between fundraising and public relations," he says. "Paige continually develops new ideas and materials with a keen recognition of the need to maximize the relationship between these areas. She thinks like a marketer, works like a laborer, acts like an executive, and speaks to everyone she encounters with absolute respect and a conviction for the mission."

Ben Gonsher
director of institutional advancement
Southern NCSY (New York)

Southern NCSY is an international organization that works to improve the lives of Jewish teenagers around the world. Executive Director Todd Cohn realized recently that it was time to shake things up — especially in terms of the organization's approach to fundraising. Enter Ben Gonsher, a former teacher who jumped headfirst into the role.

Ben brought with him intense people skills and immediately set out to meet as many players within the organization and the community it serves as possible. His enthusiasm and energy turned out to be highly contagious.

Cohn outlines Ben's many accomplishments, including doing away with expensive, time-consuming special events in favor of more one-on-one meetings with donors; producing the organization's first useful database; creating its first multichannel year-end campaign; orchestrating an $18,000 increase in a prior donor's contributions; and soliciting $15,000 from a new partner.

 

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