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Foundations in Fundraising: AFP’s Collegiate Newsletter (Fall 2009)

October 13, 2009

Seven Questions For…

Natalie Denney

Name: Natalie Denney

University/college: University of Kentucky

Major/course of study:

  • B.S. in human resource management from Western Kentucky University
  • Currently working on a Masters of Public Administration at UK, with a concentration in nonprofit management

1. How did you become involved with AFP?

I have been a volunteer for the March of Dimes since I was a freshman in high school and became very involved with the organization. After several years of involvement I really began to enjoy the challenge or fundraising.  During my undergraduate years I served as philanthropy chair for my sorority and became immersed in event planning for our annual fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House Charities.  Years of involvement in the nonprofit world piqued my interest in fundraising as a profession, and when I heard about the Association of Fundraising Professionals at the University of Kentucky I became excited. This club is a perfect fit for my aspirations and has opened a world of opportunity for me as I begin my career.

2. What do you want to be when you "grow up"?

My dream job is to be an executive director of a nonprofit organization.

3. How is this different (or is it?) than what you wanted to be when you were 6 years old?

It is actually hard to recall what I wanted to be when I was 6 years old.  If you know me, I have many interests and love learning new things.  I think my career aspirations varied from being a doctor to a teacher to a lawyer. As I chose a major in college, I was thinking more along the business route because my father was an entrepreneur.  As graduation approached, I realized my passion was in the nonprofit world and I decided to attend graduate school for my MPA.

4. Who is your role model?

Who has a bigger influence on your life than your parents? My parents are truly my role models.  They have taught me the value of hard work and dedication. My parents are compassionate and have shown the fulfillment of helping others.  Their support and example have given me a leg up in life, and I cannot imagine where I would be without them!

5. What's the last book you read that wasn't assigned in class?

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver.

 6. What is the cause or issue you're most passionate about and how do you support it?

I am very passionate about the Commonwealth of Kentucky. I truly love the people, communities and landscape that make up my wonderful home.  Kentucky usually is not portrayed nationally in a positive light, and I strive each and every day to change this stigma. 

Every day is an opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. Currently, I am working at United Way of the Bluegrass, an organization that works to advance the common good in Central Kentucky. I have the opportunity to work with nonprofits in our area that share the same passion for Kentucky's people as I do. When we reach out a hand to one, we improve the condition of all. United Way of the Bluegrass has given me the best avenue to help make Kentucky the best it can be!

7. What skills and abilities make you an effective fundraiser? 

I am very personable. I have to attribute this to how and where I grew up. I am simply a "good ol' country girl." I try to find something in common with the people I am soliciting and the cause for which I am fundraising. I make it as easy as possible for donors to give and make their experience enjoyable and fulfilling. I believe that expressing a genuine appreciation for donors' time and money is the key to building a relationship with them.

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