Nonprofit Leadership Alliance students near fundraising goal for investment in future leaders

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance students near fundraising goal for investment in future leaders

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance students

by Troy Hill, ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation

December 1, 2021

Every year, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance Student Association at ASU undertakes an ambitious fundraising campaign to support the group’s trip to a national leadership conference, this year the Association of Fundraising Professionals Leadership Conference. Six students attended the conference in November. The group is continuing to raise money for a scholarship fund to cover increased fees for the Certified Nonprofit Professional credential that the students are earning through the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. The donations enable all interested students to fully participate in the program.

The fundraising is a unique part of the students’ education at ASU - it’s a real, hands-on fundraising campaign that forces students to grow out of their comfort zone and use the techniques they’ve been learning in their nonprofit leadership and management classes.

Students have meetings with dozens of people over the semester, tell them about the program and the conference, and ask them to support the campaign. It’s experience they can’t get anywhere outside of an actual nonprofit fundraising department, and it looks great on a resume.

Jordan Fezler, the NLASA’s director of events, said the campaign has also pushed her to grow as a person.

“Practice makes perfect,” Fezler said. “I've become better at approaching people [and reaching] out to people. I've done both, met with donors in person and over Zoom, and just being able to say, ‘Hey, tell me about yourself’ or ‘I'm going to tell you about myself.’ Just getting into things without being nervous.“

Fezler felt particularly nervous on her first “ask,” the first time she met up with someone to seek support for the campaign. Fortunately, the now-donor was an NLASA alum who had been in the exact position she had been in before, so they were able to reassure her.

“[They said], ‘We've all been in your shoes, so it's okay. You can breathe. We're just here to talk,’” Fezler said. “So after that, I was okay. We're just having a conversation.”

The fundraising deadline was extended to the end of the year, and the students are currently just short of their $13,000 goal.