AskRIGHT is excited to announce that Shelagh Murray has joined our team of Fundraising Consultants in New Zealand. Shelagh brings to the team more than 20 years’ experience in strategic development and alumni relations, including leadership roles at the University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington.
Learn more about Shelagh in the interview below or read her biography here.
What is your experience in fundraising?
I have been fundraising as a career for over 20 years. I started at the Royal NZ Foundation for the Blind where I worked for 6 years. Then for the past 15 years, I have been fundraising in the university higher education sector in New Zealand. I have seen the difference philanthropy can make to organisations, the community and individuals and enjoy building relationships with donors.
One of my proudest accomplishments was helping to secure a $10 million gift from a donor for a research institute at Victoria University.
How/Why did you become a fundraising consultant in New Zealand?
The earthquakes in 2010/2011 in Christchurch have had a major impact not only on the city but on New Zealand. Now, five years later, this is an exciting time to be in fundraising and to become a fundraising consultant in Christchurch, as many organisations are looking to philanthropy to help in the rebuilding of their infrastructure. Educational institutions have also embraced major gift fundraising, and the other sectors also appreciate what philanthropy can do for them.
Being a fundraising consultant will give me the opportunity to work with organisations who are keen to attract major philanthropic support, and to adopt best practices and implement the systems and resources needed to achieve this support. I also enjoy seeing the passion and commitment donors give to the causes they support.
What is your approach to fundraising consulting?
With experience, I have learnt that every organisation has its own unique history and culture for getting things done. Understanding what works in the organisation I consult for is crucial, and building on existing strengths and expertise in the organisation is of paramount importance. So, listening is key, discussing and exploring options and involving all of the major stakeholders to build support for what are usually ambitious projects is vital. Fundraising is a process and often there is more than one way to do something.
What do you bring to AskRIGHT as a fundraising consultant?
I bring first-hand experience and a clear understanding of that is needed to be successful in fundraising. During my career, I have raised personally, and as the leader of teams, more than $150 million. I have also sat on not-for-profit boards and committees and mentored volunteers and staff.
I also bring a commitment to enhancing the programs of an organisation and inspiring donors to support projects. Fundraising is about building and sustaining relationships and having excellent strategies and processes in place to support those relationships.
What are the most exciting elements of your new role as a fundraising consultant?
I have known and employed AskRIGHT as consultants in my previous roles and have always been impressed with the professional advice they give and what they achieve. I am honoured and happy to join their team of fundraising consultants and have the opportunity to use the experience and skills I have gained to help my clients achieve their goals. The chance to speak with and support/advise people working in different organisations across different sectors is exciting.
To find out how Shelagh can help your organisation, contact s.murray@AskRIGHT.com.