Nonprofits are the lifeblood of our communities and often serve as a critical safety net for individuals and families, in good times and in bad. To help develop the next generation of nonprofit leaders who will move our dynamically changing sector forward with courage and impact, the Nonprofit Leadership Center (NLC) hires a resource development fellow each year to gain valuable experience and connections. This 12-month paid fellowship is for leaders with three to five years of experience and a passion for working in the nonprofit sector. Fellows gain experience working with our CEO and work on critical projects related to operations, corporate partnerships, stewardship and more while attending up to 10 hours of classroom/virtual trainings each month.
Our most recent Resource Development Fellow Jessica Dvoracsek completed her fellowship in November. She accepted a position with Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay as a donor relations coordinator. Jess shares her experience as a fellow and gives you an inside peek at what the position and program are like.
If you’re interested in what you read? We’re currently hiring for our next 2021 Resource Development Fellow! Learn more and apply here.
A Day-in-the-Life of a Nonprofit Leadership Center Fellow
NLC: What did your day-to-day look like in the fellowship role?
Jess: Every day was a little different, which is what I loved about the fellowship! I was able to participate on calls with funders, attend board meetings and work on grants at every stage of the process – from research to application to reporting. I also played a lead role in securing and managing sponsorships for NLC’s Leadership Conference. Additionally, I jumped into the deep end when it came to NLC’s training room and how all of the pieces work together.
NLC: What were the key experiences or learnings from the fellowship that have helped propel your career?
Jess: Being a fly on the wall during conversations with funders, board members and staff was incredible. Most importantly, I think participating in NLC’s Certificate in Grant Writing and gaining experience writing grant applications was the most beneficial. Prior to the NLC fellowship, I had never even looked at a grant application, let alone been responsible for completing one. Additionally, I believe I took every fund development class offered at NLC by Sara Leonard and Alyce Lee Stansbury. The nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned through those workshops will benefit me throughout my entire career
NLC: What was your favorite moment from your NLC fellowship?
Jess: My best moments really came down to lunchtime chats that we implemented. The rule was no work talk, and it was the best getting to know my colleagues at Team NLC, including their backgrounds, experiences, cherished recipes and favorite words. That, and of course, the fact that we pulled off Leadership Conference virtually!
NLC: What was your favorite class you took at NLC?
Jess: Every class I took was great for a different reason, but I think the class that stands out most for me was Sara Leonard’s Mastering the Ask: Nonprofit Fundraising Strategy & Prep. During the course, she shared something I will never forget: “Asking is not negotiating. We’re not asking for a sale. We’re inviting someone to change the world with us.”
This will be on the wall of my new office and will follow me around throughout my entire nonprofit career.
NLC: What would you say to nonprofit leaders interested in pursuing a fellowship at NLC?
Jess: Take the leap. This is 100% the best thing I could have done for my career in fundraising. The education I was afforded from the team, trainers and board was amazing. Practice your writing and pay attention. Be a sponge, and try to absorb every little detail. The little details are what will help you stand out from the crowd.
NLC: Tell us about your new job that you started at the conclusion of the fellowship.
Jess: I am the donor relations coordinator with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay. I will be working with the development team on all things stewardship and cultivation, writing grants and working with individual donors to ensure the organization’s success.
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