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Janet Cady is President
of the Children's Hospital Trust, the hospital's fundraising organization
that she helped create five years ago, and home to the Cause for
Wonder Campaign. She recently sat down with News
editor Cyril Manning to talk about the art of fundraising and what
it means to the hospital.
(For more on the Children's Hospital Trust, see this month's Spotlight.)
How did you end up at Children's Hospital Boston?
I came here six years ago from a similar position at Children's
Hospital of Wisconsin. I loved my job there, but was excited by
the incredible size and scope of what I saw in Boston, particularly
the research here. Children's has a change-the-world kind of mission,
and I wanted to contribute to that.
When was the first time you asked someone to donate
When I was about 23 years old, I did some fundraising for a children's
program I was running. My very first call was to the president of
an insurance company in the Midwest. I had no idea what I was doing,
but was totally passionate about the work of the program. I somehow
got the appointment, and when we met I asked for $1,000. He grinned
and then we talked a bit, and I thought I'd completely blown it.
About a week later a one-page note arrived from him that said "Your
efforts bore fruit," and included a check for $1,000, a lot at the
time. It felt so incredible to get a gift for the program I believed
in—I was completely hooked on fundraising.
How do you unlock someone's generosity like that?
They unlock it themselves. Asking people to help is not so difficult—it's
actually very joyful. The donor is often just as thrilled as the
person who receives the funding. I do a lot of teaching about fundraising,
and I try to help people understand that asking for a contribution
is not so much about technique, it's about passion.
|"Children's has a change-the-world kind
of mission, and I wanted to contribute to that."
Why do you think people give money to charities?
Finding a cause noble and impactful is right up at the top of peoples'
reasons. Beyond that, it depends on whether it's a small or large
gift. If you're dealing with a one-on-one relationship, the leadership
of the institution and the quality of the work that's done there
are very important. If the gift is in response to a mass marketing
effort, the motivation usually comes from a feeling that there's
a specific problem being solved, such as curing a certain disease.
At Children's we are blessed by truly caring and wonderful donors
who generally give to save lives and aren't doing this for recognition.
Also, many donors like the affiliation they enjoy with each other
and with our fabulous caregivers and scientists. You make a very
powerful match when you introduce a venture capitalist to a Children's
scientist, for example. Sparks fly: you have one person who may
be highly successful in the business world looking at the scientist
and thinking, "You're making a real difference, and I want to help
Children's has never had a campaign the size and scope
of "Cause for Wonder." What distinguishes this campaign, and
why are we doing it now?
The New Research Building and Clinical Building Expansion are the
centerpieces of the campaign, but at the same time the need for
research, patient care and community service funding is huge. This
campaign rolls all of those objectives together so donors can understand
Children's five-year vision and see where the hospital is headed.
We started with a working goal of $200 million, but raised enough
money in the early stages to publicly announce a $250 million goal
in September. That's great news, because at the time we started
the campaign, even $200 million was beyond anyone's wildest dreams.
Now we see that's a reachable amount, and more. It's all about risk
and belief—when fundraising is done right, it takes risks and stretches
people to new heights.