When she’s reminded that asking for money is something a lot of people find terrifying, Jeri Glick-Anderson, Director of Development for Temple Israel, says, “First of all, why be afraid? Second, it’s never about the money. It’s about what you want to do with the money. In our case it’s about Jewish values and being there for people in their hardest moments, teaching people the future of Judaism. You have to have the vision, and you have to have the people, and you have to have the money.”
Glick-Anderson studied journalism and was a newspaper writer and editor before moving into organizational communications and marketing at the St. Paul YMCA. “I think that’s not so uncommon,” she said. Among the first things she worked on were materials for a capital campaign. “I was working side by side with the development people,” she said.
She had been volunteering at what is now the St. Paul Jewish Federation and asked if they had any open marketing positions. “They hired me to be the campaign director. I learned on the job,” she said. For Glick-Anderson, the move from communications to development was “a step over but it was also a step up — to that much more tangible stuff we were doing.”
Glick-Anderson’s first fundraising experiences had been as a volunteer at the annual Super Sunday telethon. “It was a day when the community would get together and try to call every Jewish household,” she said. “I remember my first call, how scared I was, asking for $25. I kept reading the script over and over. It was hard, but I was driven by the cause. I guess I still am.”
More than two decades later, she said, “The money doesn’t scare me anymore. Now if they say no, it wasn’t the right time or it wasn’t the right cause. Most of the time, by the time you ask people for a gift, you know they’re committed to the cause.”
Still, Glick-Anderson acknowledged, “Every once in a while someone wants to give a gift and you know you’re not the right institution, that’s not your mission. A really good development director says, ‘That’s terrific — let me connect you with someone at another organization who does that best.’”
Glick-Anderson said she couldn’t do development for a cause she didn’t believe in, and she doesn’t like cold-calling. But, she said, “People who tend to be afraid of the whole development thing, it’s because they think about the money. If you think about the money per se, you get stuck. As long as you remember that development is always about people — it’s about the relationships and the passion and the cause — it changes the conversation.”
What’s the best part of the job?
The most fun part of the job is being out there with people, working with people, with volunteers. I wish I could do that all the time.
What’s the hardest part?
In a small shop, it’s balancing the administrative work that needs to be done with getting out there and just talking with people and building those relationships and maintaining those relationships. I struggle with that. When I’m in my office too much, I feel like I need to get out and I’m not doing my job. If I’m out there too much, I’m really not doing my job because I’m not crossing every t and dotting every i for every donor. □