As a professional fundraiser, Barry Nickelsberg is often asked about his experience.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions and the answers:
Q: What is your role in fundraising?
A: As a partnership builder; I bring together people of money with people of vision.
Q: When asking people for money, what is your mindset?
A: I give you an opportunity to make an investment in the future of our community.
Q: What are your philosophies of fundraising?
A: People give to people who they know, like and trust. Nothing breeds success like success.
It is just as easy to raise $100,000 as it is $10,000.
Q: If you could make one change in the mindset of fundraisers, what would that be?
A: Donors have needs and organizations have opportunities to meet those needs.
Q: What experience do you have with major gift solicitation?
A: I have regularly maintained a portfolio of major gift prospects and have been
responsible for their successful cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
Q: What is your experience with proposal preparation?
A: Having written more than 400 successful proposals to foundations, corporations and to
government agencies, as well as two books on the subject, I taught Proposal Preparation and Advanced Proposal Preparation at The George Washington University for 14 years.
Q: Other than teaching at The George Washington University, what fundraising teaching experience do you have?
A: Conducting hundreds of workshops and lectures worldwide, lasting from one hour to
three days each, I hosted a series entitled, Fundraising in America for PBS and NPR and twice chaired the World Congress on Philanthropy.
Q: From a fundraising perspective, what is your single greatest accomplishment?
A: Preparing and implementing a campaign strategy for the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees allowed the agency to raise $400 million. That money saved a
lot of lives.
Q: Do you have experience with investment counselors?
A: Working with not-for-profits, I have assisted in implementing investment strategies for
endowments ranging in size from a few million to several hundred million dollars.
Q: What is your experience working with government officials?
A: In my first job, as Program Director for the Iowa Arts Council, I lobbied the state
legislature and helped to increase the appropriation from $75,000 to $250,000. After that, I worked on Capital Hill in Washington, DC for five years and helped constituent not-forprofits raise $300 million. Working with federal, state and local elected officials is an integral part of my work. While at Washington County Hospital, I created a government relations office and secured an annual $1.1 million grant for Federally Qualified Health Center.
Q: What is your management style?
A: It is a combination of:
Management by Coaching and Development--managers see themselves primarily as
Management by Exception--managers delegate responsibility and step in only when
Management by Interactionmanagers integrate all human aspects to create an
empowering, high-energy, highly productive workforce.
Management by Walking Around and Listeningmanagers get a "feel" for people
and operations (developed by David Packard)
Q: How many staff have reported to you?
A: I have had the opportunity to hire, lead, mentor and evaluate staffs from two to 54
professionals. That said, I have never had more than seven direct reports.
Q: Have you managed volunteers?
A: Yes. In various capacities from board members to those helping with special events, I
have organized up to 500 volunteers in various fundraising projects.
Q: What did you do following your career as a fundraising consultant?
A: From November 2000-February 2004, I was Executive Director of Development, Public Relations and Marketing for the Washington County Health System in Maryland. In that position, I was one of nine on the Senior Management Team of a health system, with a $300 million annual budget and a staff of 3000. Through various fundraising campaigns, annual giving increased 700 percent.
Q: You said that public relations and marketing also reported to you? What successes did you see in those departments?
A: We implemented a system-wide branding and imaging campaign, increased market share in several specialties and substantially raised public awareness of health issues.
Q: Do you have other experiences working with the media?
A: Raising money and working with the media go hand-in-hand. Since my first job, I have
worked with newspaper, radio and television reporters. It takes time to build mutual trust. Once that trust is established, we form a partnership and everybody comes out ahead.
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