A conversation with Emily Ward, Development Manager at Project HEAL
Thread kicked off a partnership with Project HEAL in March of 2018. Working closely with the Project HEAL leadership team, we helped build a development department that would be well-positioned to support the rapid growth of the organization’s programs. Our partnership included crafting a development strategy and implementation plan as well as ensuring proper systems were in place to support that plan, including a new CRM system and process. As our partnership comes to a close in the final weeks of October, we could not be more excited to pass the torch to Project HEAL’s new Development Manager Emily Ward, who is already utilizing Project HEAL’s new fundraising resources to elevate the organization’s development practices.
“I see myself as a matchmaker – connecting passionate and justice-seeking Person A with impactful, world-changing Organization B”
Thread: Why did you choose development/fundraising as your profession?
Emily: Even while completing my degrees in social work, I never saw myself working as a clinician. I chose social work because I was deeply interested in understanding and changing systemic barriers to justice, and I’ve found that development is an integral piece in that change. I see myself as a matchmaker – connecting passionate and justice-seeking Person A with impactful, world-changing Organization B.
Thread: Now that you’ve worked in development for a few years, what do you enjoy most about it?
Emily: I love figuring out how to maximize existing or new fundraising platforms/systems to not only increase efficiency for the organization, but to improve the relational experience of a donor. I believe that strong processes across a development team have the power to help us work smarter while making our donors feel like the valued heroes they are!
Thread: What are two or three things that have helped you grow as a fundraiser?
Emily: I love talking with other organizations, of all sizes, to learn from their processes, hear what’s working, and exchange tips as peers. I also find it incredibly helpful to sit down with program staff whenever I have the chance! I always leave conversations with my organization’s on-the-ground staff with new perspective and inspiration that makes me better at my job. Finally, it’s so important to invest in tracking the ROI and reviewing analytics of all development efforts to really measure what works for each individual organization.
Thread: What most excites you about the most recent step in your career of joining the team at Project HEAL?
Emily: Project HEAL’s mission and team have blown me away in these first weeks on the job. I’m thrilled to be able to step in and play a role in their promising trajectory to scale and support more individuals through eating disorder recovery.
Thread: What advice would you give to fundraisers who are early in their career?
Emily: Learn the technical skills needed to support your fundraising systems and always start your day thanking a donor!