La Jolla Playhouse
RAL Quick Grant Fall 2013 Cycle
I came to La Jolla Playhouse from arts administration and with a strong background in writing but no fundraising experience. I was incredibly lucky to have an amazing mentor who was willing and able to teach me about the grant world. However, there is only so much that you can learn on the job when you are focused on a single aspect of development. I soon realized that I lacked broader training and knowledge, and decided to take UCSD Extension’s fundraising and development courses to address this.
Thanks to a RAL Quick Grant, I enrolled in and completed two required courses that are part of UCSD Extension’s Professional Certificate in Fundraising & Development: Making the Case: Fundraising Communication Skills and Annual Giving: Individual, Corporate & Foundation. Both were taught by Tim Willard, who has 30+ years of fundraising experience, primarily in the university system. UCSD Extension’s Professional Certificate in Fundraising & Development courses are designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of and instruction in a wide range of fundraising methods. Both of these subjects, communication and the annual fund, are vital to every development department.
These courses gave me a much better understanding of the methods of and tools employed in fundraising, increasing my professional development and making me a more knowledgeable employee. Annual Giving was particularly valuable as we were asked to devise an annual giving plan for the upcoming year. I write grants and carry out grant-related work, so this was a very interesting exercise that helped me gain a picture of the Playhouse’s broader, yearly fundraising plan. I was particularly struck by the timeline included in the final project and the level of detail that is necessary, or at least suggested, to outline an annual giving plan for the Playhouse, a nonprofit organization that combines individual fundraising with institutional giving (both grants and sponsorships), a theatrical season and all the events that go with these. What can I say, I love to organize!
Networking is not always my strength, but these classes were also a great way to meet others who are passionate about the nonprofit world, learning new skills and becoming better (or just plain becoming) development officers. I became friends with several of these classmates, and was able to pass on job information to two classmates, both of whom recently applied for an open position here. I am also now meeting classmates at AFP and other San Diego-based fundraising events. Finally, because these courses were offered during concurrent quarters, and because both were required for completion of the certificate, five of us completed both classes and really bonded over the experience!
Thank you again to the Rising Arts Leaders and The San Diego Foundation for providing me with this wonderful opportunity to continue my education!