Welcome to Collidescope.io’s 5 in 3 non-profit leadership series. We ask non-profit leaders all over the world to answer 5 question about their non-profit experience to create this 3-minute piece. Collidescope.io’s mission is to empower organizations to thrive, inspire, and serve the world. Though we primarily do this through technology, providing a platform to share the stories and experiences of leaders in the non-profit space is also an important part of executing on that mission.
I am pleased to introduce Naomi Schauer. Naomi is the founder and CEO of C.O.N.E.C.K.T, which stands for Charitable Opportunities Networking Employability Connecting Kindness through Technology. C.O.N.E.C.K.T is a networking platform that facilitates the sharing of information, donations, support and resources. Their success is based on their unique fund-raising initiatives and the capacity to create employment opportunities for organizations as well as for the beneficiaries of their programs and projects.
How did you get your start in the non-profit space?
It’s weird. I have always felt a genuine pull towards the helping professions. My mom worked as a teacher for intellectually impaired children, so I was exposed to differently-abled people very early on. I studied South African Sign language, English and Psychology, as I initially wanted to teach the Deaf. I qualified and ended up at the Hope School for children with physical impairments. While studying I worked at an incredible organization called the Living Link. They give people with intellectual impairments a real chance at living independently. I then spent 10 years at The Chevrah Kadisha, which taught me so much, as they are a well-run NGO. My last 2 years there I was Day programs Manager for Mental Health facilities where I enjoyed finding ways to stimulate, educate and entertain the 800 residents at the aged homes, and also those with various mental health issues and various levels of functioning.
What is one challenge you’ve encountered that you didn’t expect while working for a non-profit?
I did not expect the competitiveness. I thought it would be much more kumbaya. But it’s more like MY donor, MY donation, MY skills development program, MY donation (that I probably will never use but will keep just in case). It’s just so counterintuitive to be fighting for the same donor money (which is significantly less) and competing for attention at an event on the same day; we should all be working together. We are, after all, going after the same goals, combatting violence, advocating for human rights, yet we are all working in silos. If we came together (and there are 200 000 NGOs and counting) and just shared what we think, what we know and what we have, a lot of our problems would be solved! We are stronger together!
What is one opportunity you’ve identified because of the changes due to COVID-19?
The opportunity to build back better. If we work together and do this differently, we will find sustainable, smart, eco-friendly solutions. If would could share all our ideas and resources, we would be in a much better position.
What is your most effective fundraising medium?
Our products, services, markets and membership using Social Media
What is one fundraising rule you live by?
I believe there needs to be feedback and meaning. People don’t just want to buy a raffle ticket or send cash to someone. For instance, we send pictures back to donors (where appropriate) and share the story for how our products are made. We want to highlight who this was made by, that it used to be an advert on the side of the road and now it’s a bag.
Thank you for sharing your story Naomi.
You can learn more about CONECKT and Naomi below.
CONECKT Website: http://www.coneckt.org/
Naomi on LinkedIn: https://bit.ly/nlinkins