Nonprofits learning to become ‘brokers of dreams for game changers’ in our communities
I deeply appreciate the way Sarah Brooks of the Methow Conservancy describes the role of raising funds for a nonprofit. She thinks of donors as “game changers” and the role of a fundraiser as a “broker of dreams.”
A colleague in the world of philanthropy, Sissy Bouchard, came up with those terms and Brooks has adopted that mindset. “I get to broker the dreams of game changers about causes I care about. Who wouldn’t want that job?” she told me during a recent interview. The true nature of philanthropy is as an expression of caring for our communities and the greater good. Brooks is the associate director of the Methow Conservancy.
I caught up with Brooks at the Nonprofit Practices Institute put on by the Community Foundation of North Central Washington and the Icicle Fund. The annual event brings together nonprofit leaders in the region to share best practices and learn more effective ways to support our local communities. The institute is one of the greatest gifts that the Community Foundation and the Icicle Fund give to our region because it builds capacity and helps nonprofits thrive.
Brooks is gifted in fundraising and she shared key insights during two small group work session at the event, which was held at Campbell’s Resort in Chelan. Caring for fellow human beings is at the core of philanthropy, Brooks told me. While many people may equate the term with rich people making huge donations, the power of philanthropy is instead in many people contributing and an acknowledgement that a personally significant contribution of $10 is every bit as honorable as a large donation. The important part is that people contribute to make help the community thrive.
I was fascinated to learn that small nonprofits have big advantages in terms of fundraising, or, as Brooks puts it, brokering the dreams of game changers. Successful small nonprofits can thrive when they exude a sense of authenticity, get to know their supporters intimately and tell powerful stories that connect their supporters with actual experiences that will touch their hearts, Brooks said.
Brooks, in a 40-minute interview for my Art of Community NCW podcast, gave many terrific insights into the ways that the Methow Valley is using collaboration and cooperation to create community success. If you want to hear her community building thoughts and ideas, access artofcommunityncw.com and look for episode 17 of my podcast. You can also subscribe on iTunes.
The Art of Community Project is dedicated to creative community building in North Central Washington.