A  friend recently accepted a position as the executive director of a not-for-profit agency in Kamloops, BC. When the dust settled, she found that she needed to do some emergency fundraising to keep her program alive. Then she made the mistake of emailing me for help. Here’s what I wrote. Does anyone have other ideas?

Hi Joan,

 It’s good to hear from you again and that you’ve landed on your feet and ready to face that perennial – getting the money. I learned a long time ago to not ask for money – from anyone. If you ask for money, you get advice. If you ask for advice, it is very likely that you’ll get money.

 The right people to ask for advice from would be not government at any level. It should be the community. I your area (Kamloops) there are local business associations such as the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce ( ) These agencies and local service agencies (Kiwanis, Lions etc) have periodic networking meetings that you should attend. They are also often starved for speakers for their meetings, so periodic presentations would be welcomed

 When you give a presentation, whether it’s a 2 minute networking presentation or an hour long diatribe, try hard to not tell the crowd what you do. Rather, tell them what you did, and do it in a story fashion. I’ll give you an example.

 A while ago, I had a client who was trained as a legal secretary. She can do all the work of a legal secretary. She can file, she can take calls, and she knows the difference between a writ and a tort. Best of all, she can type up to 35 words per minute


 But she does that by putting the keyboard on the floor and typing at 35 words per minute with her toes because she doesn’t have any arms.

 I tell my rapt crowd that that is what I told the litigation coordinator of a law firm. “Does she have a resume?” she asked. I emailed it to her and a few days later she called me about references. I told her she didn’t have any because she doesn’t have any arms, but she could call the girl guides where she was once their district commissioner.

 She worked there for 2 years.

 You’ll notice I didn’t tell what I do, I tell  them what I did.

 People love a story. People are hard wired to hear stories and will remember you when it’s time to make donations or get involved in fundraising events for your agency.

 Another thought … Are you on LinkedIn? That is a good place to be for digital social networking. There are discussions online for non-profits. There is also a website called Many people go there to find positions in non-profits, and also to post positions. What people don’t know is that there is a lot of information and ideas on fundraising.

 I hope you find this helpful, and that you’ll let me know if it’s off target.  I really encourage you to hunt me down on LinkedIn and connect with me.


 Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a  fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at   or at

If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates

When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.


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