The challenges and opportunities of a brand new, beautiful space and fundraising to build capacity

May 24, 2017

MARY NEEDHAM, DIRECTOR OF Development at kansas city young audiences

Mary joined Kansas City Young Audiences (KCYA) in 2008. As Director of Development, Mary oversees all aspects of contributed revenue, including; grant requests, major gift solicitations, prospect research, and volunteer management. Prior to becoming Director of Development, Mary served as Development and Marketing Assistant, Interim Marketing Manager and most recently as Community Outreach Coordinator for KCYA, managing annual fundraising campaigns, the KCYA 50th Anniversary Celebration and various special projects. Mary brings 18 years of small business administration experience to her role as chief development officer, and has extensive professional and volunteer experience in event planning, research, and database management. Mary is a longtime community volunteer, having served on several local nonprofit boards, including The Irish Museum and Cultural Center and The Junior League of Kansas City, MO. 


Talk to your base. Communicate early and often with key stakeholders. Be clear on why you are running a campaign, and make sure that your supporters share your thinking. The more people talking about your project, the better. 

Create a plan that includes a significant amount of staff time and attention for personal visits, always asking, “Who else should we be talking to?”

Remember the old adage: “If you want advice, ask for money, and if you want money, ask for advice.” Pay strong attention to the latter, because the connectors and influencers in your circle are often willing to help you find those other donors who may not be in your immediate family of givers.