PR Connections

PR Connections Business of Giving-Video Edition podcast, Linda Smith

Linda Smith’s Impactful Journey in the Non-profit Realm

Written by Edda Bevilacqua

Linda Smith discusses how her fundraising journey and her work in non-profit organizations began. Her son, Christopher, was born with Down syndrome in Toronto, Canada. When the family moved back to the United States, Christopher was given the status of an “undesirable alien.” Linda Smith discusses her fundraising journey.  She discusses the growth of Opportunity Village from a place where people with disabilities were warehoused to the organization it is today. She became the organization’s first fundraiser and stayed there for forty years.

She used her entertainment background to work with other entertainers on the Concerts of Love and started the Magical Forest. She also organized the Santa Run, which became a worldwide event.

Linda Smith is now a fundraising consultant around the country and around the world. She stresses that building relationships is important in fundraising, rather than just asking for money. She shows people who may be new to fundraising what to do. She tells people they have something to give to the organization and that they are not just beggars. It is important to go out and meet people where they are, rather than just speaking to them on the phone. Most importantly, Smith says, “Never think you know it all. There is always something to learn.”

Smith has written two books, “Unwanted,” the story of her son Christopher and “Confessions of a Sin City Fundraiser.” She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

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