Listening Is Key to Continued Donor Relationship

Rick Taylor, the development manager at Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, recently learned an important lesson about developing relationships with donors. That lesson? Rather than outright "selling" Junior Achievement, it is often more effective to ask potential donors why they have supported JA in the past. A donor's passionate reply might just pave the way for continued--or improved--levels of support.

When Taylor met recently with a representative from Midwestern Industries of Massillon, Ohio, he hoped to restart a giving stream from the formerly generous donor whose gifts had dipped, then stopped. Taylor hoped to reconnect with the company and get them to support a project in the Massillon School District.

Midwestern Industries has been a leader in the screening industry for more than 50 years and a long-time JA supporter. The company's last donation to Junior Achievement was in October of 2010 for $250. Prior to that, they supported JA with an annual gift of $2,000.Taylor met with Barb Sylvester, president of Midwestern. "I learned a lot from Barb about Junior Achievement when I stopped talking and asked her 'Why do you like JA?'" She explained she loved the idea of helping students learn work-ready skills to secure future employment. Sylvester then asked Taylor if $5,000 would be a sufficient donation to support the Massillon School project.

Dawn Campanelli, president of Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio said, "We appreciate Rick's efforts to schedule face-to-face meetings to help business leaders learn how they can partner with JA to give young people the skills they need to succeed. Congratulations Rick--keep up the great work!"

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