AskRIGHT is delighted to announce that Australia’s most experienced orchestral fundraiser, Lisa Harris, has joined our team of Fundraising Consultants in Melbourne. Lisa brings to the team over 20 years’ experience in philanthropy for the arts. We are thrilled to have her on board.
Learn more about Lisa in the interview below or read her biography here.
What is your experience in fundraising?
I began my fundraising career at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York quite by chance. I had a BMus in Musicology and secured my first job in the Development Department. I had no idea what Development was. I soon learned! Starting my career at one of the best performing arts organisations was thrilling for me, and it gave me insight into what excellence in fundraising entails. Later when I moved to Australia, I was fortunate to secure positions with the Tasmanian and Queensland Symphony Orchestras in philanthropy.
How/Why did you become a fundraising consultant in Melbourne?
AskRIGHT tendered successfully to undertake a feasibility study for a major arts organisation in Melbourne, and then was contracted to lead the organisation in a Capital Campaign over the next few years. I was recruited, happily, to act as the AskRIGHT Consultant for this fundraising campaign. Melbourne is such an exciting city to live in, and the arts organisation I am working with is an exponent of that excellence that informed my career start in New York.
What is your approach to fundraising consulting?
With experience, and the guidance of some great mentors over the years, I have learned that fundraising is a process, but that there is no single right way to do anything. Understanding the organisation I am working with is paramount. In the end, I am there to consult, and it is the permanent staff that has to “buy in” and work with me to drive the fundraising process. So listening is key; discussing is key; and offering a range of possibilities is key. With my extensive work in the arts, there isn’t a lot I haven’t seen before.
What do you bring to AskRIGHT as a fundraising consultant?
I have a deep desire to help organisations raise more money. While my career focus has been in performing arts institutions/companies, I have also sat on not-for-profit boards, and mentored philanthropy staff at other organisations. One of my key mentors stressed that when you work in philanthropy and are asking for donations, it is important to give back; either by becoming a donor, volunteering on boards, or mentoring.
What are the most exciting elements of your new role as a fundraising consultant?
The opportunity to work for an organisation as professional as AskRIGHT fundraising consultancy; the opportunity to stretch myself as a fundraiser; the opportunity to help create a successful outcome for the client. And the opportunity to enjoy everything cultural (and the coffee!) that Melbourne has to offer.