I love having the opportunity to help brands have meaningful impact in the public education space while achieving their own company objectives.
Location: New York, New York
Profession: Partnerships & Events Manager at DonorsChoose.org
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is seeing students and teachers completely transformed by the resources and opportunities provided by DonorsChoose.org donors and partners. It creates a tangible, near instant connect-to-mission moment that inspires my work each day. I love having the opportunity to help brands have meaningful impact in the public education space while achieving their own company objectives.
What inspired you to join DonorsChoose.org?
Since our founding 16 years ago, DonorsChoose.org has internally maintained the feeling of a rapidly growing tech start-up — you can feel the innovative and infectious energy the minute you step into the office, which was a huge draw to join the team. Greeted by samples of actual handwritten thank-yous from students from across the country and a live dashboard depicting daily fundraising and project creation data, you enter a space filled with staff eager to experiment, learn from failure, and improve our model to maximize impact. Another incredible aspect of DonorsChoose.org is transparency, which is deeply embedded in the organization’s values and culture. DonorsChoose.org has revolutionized charitable giving. Our donors and partners can see exactly where every dollar of their donation goes and will hear back from the classroom with a letter from the teacher indicating the impact of the donation, photos of the students using the materials and personalized handwritten thank-yous from the students.
How are you changing philanthropy through tech?
Through open data and personalized giving, DonorsChoose.org continues to change the way stakeholders can minimize the education equality gap. When data is accessible to policy makers from the local to federal level, teachers have a seat at the table — they’re the forces on the ground with the expertise on the best books for their classroom or the most efficient educational technology devices — and when they’re heard, their classrooms and communities benefit. Through our commitment to connecting donors and classrooms, we’re able to give donors a hyperlocal and personalized experience. Donors receive emails with personalized recommendations of projects they might be interested in based on their zip code, hobbies, interests and previous donations.
Muhammad Yunus is someone I’ve always admired for his perspective on the role that businesses can have in solving social problems and his belief that profit and purpose are not at odds. I credit his work with my passion for pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector – specifically, the drive to enable companies to form mutually beneficial partnerships with organizations, in an effort to have significant impact on a local level.
What advice would you have for others considering working in the field?
Make sure to align yourself with the values and mission of the organization – both will be necessary for you to be successful and happy. Beyond the mission, you should also think about where your skills fit best and in what type of role you’ll have the greatest impact. Within that role, be prepared to be flexible and wear many hats – jumping in on projects that may be outside of your job description and creating opportunities for yourself where you see potential for improving processes and helping the organization improve.