By Patricia Goubeaux

Fund Development Guru

Anne White belongs to an exclusive club of individuals – those who have a gift for fund development and passionately pursue it as a career. As Anne tells it, she was doing some volunteer marketing for a local hospital and just “fell” into fundraising. Decades later she proudly identifies herself as a 40-year member of the Association of Professional Fundraisers. In her “so called” retirement years, she continues to work with local nonprofits through the Experience Matters Encore Fellowship program. The Del E. Webb Performing Arts Center in Wickenburg is the third and most recent recipient of her expertise.

A New Opportunity

The Del E. Webb Performing Arts Center is a 600 seat state-of-the-art theatre located in Wickenburg—a small community in the foothills of Phoenix dedicated to preserving its rich mining history. Anne’s expertise was needed to expand and diversify the Center’s funding sources. Her charge was to mentor the newly promoted Director of Development and help the Board of Directors develop effective strategies for supporting staff fundraising efforts.

A Learning Curve

Having typically worked with small organizations, the opportunity to get “out of the box” and work with a large organization like the Del E. Webb Performing Arts Center appealed to Anne. She quickly learned the it was not the size of the organization that was outside her comfort zone, but the size and culture of the community. As a lifelong “city girl” from New York City, she laughs at finding her way in a small rural community with no large corporations and limited number of major donors. Not one to back away from a challenge, she dived in knowing that – large or small, metropolitan or rural – fundraising is about listening, learning, and building solid relationships.

Eye on the Prize 

Anne knows success comes from setting goals and staying laser focused on results. Today as she completes her fellowship, she recounts the changes that have been implemented under her tutelage – a revised membership structure, expanded major gifts and planned giving programs, increased dollars, and revised board by-laws, policies, and committee charters. Above all, Anne is proud of watching her mentee demonstrate increasing leadership in her fund development role. Her greatest satisfaction comes from seeing people blossom and grow.

Switching Hats 

While Anne recently wrapped up her Encore Fellowship at the Performing Arts Center, she traded her Fellow hat for another—a member of their Board of Directors. Always ready for a new venture, she will no doubt soon be seeking a fourth placement through Experience Matters.