We’re back with another in our series of Q+A’s with our team members, showcasing the many passions and personalities behind Fairmount Ventures’ growing team. Margaret Walker, Project Manager, focuses her work at Fairmount on developing personalized fundraising and capital campaign strategies and providing clients with the tools, structure, and support they need to succeed. Her projects build on her extensive past experience managing campaigns and activating volunteer solicitors. Margaret earned her B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.
FV: Before joining the team at Fairmount Ventures, you worked at multiple Philadelphia nonprofits. How have these previous experiences impacted your work at Fairmount?
MW: My work in Philadelphia nonprofits introduced me to the city – its communities, philanthropic leaders, and local funders. Many of my peers from past work experiences are still actively engaged in nonprofit work, and I feel fortunate to have a supportive network of dedicated, passionate people. The Fairmount team has deep understanding of the philanthropic culture in Philadelphia, and it’s my pleasure to add my experience and personal connections to the brain-trust for the benefit of our clients.
FV: What does a typical day look like for you?
MW: This is an inside joke here at Fairmount – there is no such thing! Generally speaking, I take on strategic thinking, research, writing, and other support that our clients need to achieve their goals. Through my work in resource development, I generate tools and strategies for both urgent and long-term client needs. Often, we are engaged when organizations are pushing outside of their comfort zone, and I feel most successful when I’m able to address and remove challenges that our clients might not readily identify or have the bandwidth to solve.
FV: Your expertise includes a strong focus on partnership and relationship development. How does this inform the strategic approaches you develop for Fairmount clients?
MW: In my previous work, it was my job to empower volunteers to be successful fundraisers, and I started every orientation with the question of why they chose to get involved. Asking for money is hard, so it’s important for staff, partners, and volunteers to put mission first. It’s much easier (for all involved) to be able to have a conversation with a prospective donor about why a mission is important to them, and ask how they would like to make an impact. Though solicitation templates and guides can be important tools, we encourage our clients to take the time to make authentic connections, which we know will generate greater success.
FV: Your commitment to nonprofit missions extends to volunteer work. What are some of the ways you’ve served as a volunteer, and how can organizations create meaningful engagement through volunteering?
MW: In addition to giving hours and dollars to organizations that green our city, I utilize my nonprofit event planning experience to help my neighborhood CDC develop events that ultimately fund services to improve the quality of life for my community. Organizations can turn volunteers into advocates by encouraging them to get their hands dirty – active engagement is one of the best ways to create invested and impassioned supporters.
FV: What are some of your favorite things to do in Philadelphia?
MW: Philadelphia is my chosen home and I take advantage of its walk-and-bike-ability. I enjoy exploring its many neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and appreciating Greater Philadelphia’s many gardens.