“In fundraising, it’s not about where you want the money, it’s about listening to donors,” said Alexandra Bailey, Development Manager at the St. John’s Foundation. “Some people think fundraising is just chasing dollars, but a lot of the time, donors are excited to give, and it’s about relationship-building, connecting the donors to what they’re passionate about, and helping people channel what they want to give and where they want to give it.”
Alex brings to this important work for St. John’s her background in fundraising for University of Central Florida. Having grown up in Honeoye, NY, she was looking to come back home when she found a position for St. John’s fundraising arm, St. John’s Foundation.
For the last year, she has worked for St. John’s with people in mind like her grandfather (who was in a nursing home), or St. John’s Home residents whose family may not be able to visit or who may not be able to afford amenities such as haircuts at the Beauty Shop. Alex’s work as part of the three-person Foundation team helps connect donors’ “time, talent and treasure” to the needs faced by residents in our community.
When asked why she comes to work every day, Alex mentioned her positive experiences interacting with residents. She also described the value of the nurses and CNAs, particularly their close knowledge of the residents. When a resident recently balked at a window visit opportunity at the last minute and wanted to be taken up to her room, the nurses soothed the resident by playing her favorite song and dancing.
“Every day, you see people wheeling down the hall and get to talk to them – it’s a constant reminder of why you’re here,” Alex said.
Like everything else this year, the fundraising landscape has been impacted by COVID-19. In Alex’s case, she saw donors coming to St. John’s, asking how they could help the organization face the crisis. To that end, St. John’s Board started the COVID-19 Care Fund, which helps finance crisis pay for staff, PPE, and other costs associated with the pandemic.
According to Alex, the fund has had a great response rate and has raised over $100,000 thus far. The Foundation’s efforts this year have also included a big ask for technology (to help residents connect with their loved ones and access valuable services while in quarantine) in the Annual Appeal.
“In fundraising, the ask comes easy,” said Alex, describing how donor relationships are formed as a result of the impact that the donations have ono members of the St. John’s community. “If you’re asking for money, you have to believe in the cause.”