This week we’re taking the journey of Carrie-Ann Goodfellow, manager of development!
Most of us never planned to be in fundraising. I have yet to meet someone who decided to be a fundraiser in high school. Most of us didn’t know this was a career that existed! That is, until we had to-out of necessity of needing funds for our nonprofits, or out of urgency of needing a job.
It’s been a long journey for us! All of the twists and turns are so interesting to watch. We think we have to hide how we don’t really know what we’re doing.
Well, this story series is aimed at showing you that there are tons of ways to come into fundraising, and all are fascinating!
Here’s our third story from a fellow fundraiser, Carrie-Ann Goodfellow, the Manager of Development for YES Youth Services in Toronto, Canada. She shares about how she got started in fundraising.
Seven years ago I made the jump from the ‘for profit’ world to the ‘non-profit’ world. I hadn’t planned to do it, I didn’t particularly want to do it, but I’m very glad I did!
Back in 2008 my husband was offered the chance to take a position with his company in Canada – we were living in the UK at the time and I was very happy working in a high energy role for Siemens. We had both wanted to work abroad so we jumped at the opportunity. Just over two months later, suitcases in hand and our life in storage at various family locations in England, we moved to Vancouver. My hubbie settled into his new role, and I started to search for work. This’ll be easy, I thought.
I have over 10 years of experience working for some great companies; I’ll get a great job in no time. I’m in British Columbia and British! Surely they’ll welcome me with open arms. How wrong I was.
My resume lacked the all-important ‘Canadian experience’. I had no contacts in Vancouver. My lack of a formal education was suddenly a massive barrier to overcome. We were only in Canada on 3 year permits. Job agencies turned down the chance to put me on their books as they said I wasn’t marketable for a permanent position. I turned to temping, and spent 8 long weeks with a Hospital doing data entry. Then I was offered an interview with a charity as their front desk administrator. I was devastated. I had worked so hard to get to where I was in the UK to have to start all over again. But I wanted the security of full time work, so took the job and started work for the Minerva Foundation for BC Women.
The team at Minerva were great; they made me feel at home straight away. But the job didn’t suit me. I like a high energy workload, a diversity of tasks and being able to interact with people. A few months into the role I hit a low point and started to consider going back to the UK. I was bitter about leaving such a good career with Siemens for a job that didn’t challenge me. I applied for jobs daily with no takers. Those were tough months to get through.
And then one day our Resource Development Coordinator handed in her notice. The Resource Development Director asked if I would shadow her job so I could help with tax receipts, etc., until they found a replacement. A few weeks later she asked me to apply for the job. And within the next month I was given the opportunity to take on the role. I was over the moon! This was an interesting role with a steep and challenging learning curve. I was hooked.
My Director was great and we spent six months working together. Then another disaster struck – the economy crashed in late 2008 and hard decisions were needed. My Director was let go. The Foundation’s founder, an incredible woman, took on the role as my mentor. Those were a whirlwind few months as I got to learn from a true master the art of the ‘ask’. She taught me so many important lessons, the most important being “what does the donor want”. She was committed to a donor-centric vision for Minerva and dedicated time and energy to me that just cannot be measured financially. It was then that I truly fell in love with fundraising and realised that this was my calling.
Six years on from that time, I am now working in Toronto for the equally incredible Youth Employment Services YES. I now have a Coordinator who reports to me and I hope that I can be a 10th of the mentor to her that Nancy was to me.
I love my job, and the dedicated, kind and generous team at YES. As I like to say, there is no fundraising without fun! And ultimately that’s what fundraising is to me; the best, funnest job there is.
Carrie-Ann Goodfellow is the Manager of Development for Youth Employment Services YES in Toronto, Canada. She has worked in the not for profit sector for 7 years and prior to that worked for various multi-national companies in the UK for 10 years after leaving school at 16. She lives with her husband and dog and is not sure she’ll ever get used to Toronto’s Winter.