Fundraising Five with Kim Rowsome
Describe your role with NPCA. Why are you passionate about NPCA's work?
National Parks and public lands have always been important to me and my husband – we’ve hiked in Acadia every summer since 2003, got engaged in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Shenandoah National Park, and frequently take our three boys to Great Falls National Park and the many National Historic sites in Washington, DC. When I first applied to work at NPCA I couldn’t believe that I could combine my career expertise and personal passion!
I am the Deputy Vice President for NPCA, where my day-to-day work focuses on leadership and strategy for the Development and Executive Departments. In tandem with our Senior Vice President of Development, I oversee the annual planning to raise over $18M annually in private support. I manage an individual portfolio of major donors, and lead strategy for the President and CEO’s fundraising portfolio and oversee the Foundations and Advancement Teams.
I serve on NPCA’s campaign leadership team, creating and supporting foundational campaign infrastructure for NPCA’s $250M Protecting America’s Legacy fundraising campaign and partner with NPCA’s Centennial Philanthropy Committee of the board and volunteer base.
How long have you worked with Fox Advancement, and in what capacity? What do you appreciate about your partnership with Fox Advancement?
NPCA has partnered with Whitney Anderson from Fox Advancement for roughly 18 months. We have been so incredibly fortunate to have her expertise in guiding NPCA’s overall messaging and subsequently as campaign counsel. Whitney and Cheryl Pray have been advising us as campaign counsel for 10 months and have ensured that we have the foundation needed to succeed during and beyond the campaign. Both Whitney and Cheryl bring incredible wisdom and strategy to our work.
The individualized approach that Fox Advancement brings to NPCA is very welcomed. They combine their expertise and experience with crafting personalized counsel based on where NPCA strengths and opportunities lie.
What do you enjoy most about fundraising? What is an example of a fundraising challenge you've faced, and how did you overcome it?
One of the most gratifying parts of fundraising is helping an individual achieve their philanthropic goals while making an incredible impact on our national parks. One of the biggest challenges I faced early in my career was being fearful of asking for money and on my first few donor visits trying to befriend donors in lieu of leading the conversation towards their philanthropic goals and finding the intersection between both their personal and the organizational priorities. Once I learned the power of the “ask for the ask” it really lent so much comfort and confidence.
What is a particularly memorable interaction you've had with a donor, board member, or volunteer?
I have been so fortunate to have worked very closely with board members in my professional capacity for almost 2 decades. One of my most favorite interactions was at a previous organization with the wife of our Philanthropy Committee chair. He was a principal donor to the organization and had gotten deeply involved in the fundraising campaign I led. She jokingly said to me “so you’re the other woman that my husband raves so much about! Thank you for making him so happy in his volunteer role!”
On a more personal level, my parents are donors to NPCA, and on a family vacation in Glacier National Park, my dad and I were walking up to Lake McDonald. He put his arm around me and said, “I’m so proud of all my girls and their careers, but in moments like these, I’m most proud of what you do.” I always knew I had my parents love, approval, and support, but that is a memory I will cherish forever. Getting to share a national park with my family and knowing that I play a role in ensuring their protection was one of the most gratifying experiences in my life.
On a personal note: Describe your perfect day from beginning to end!
Waking up to a beautiful summer sunrise at my husband’s family cabin on a lake in Maine. Sitting on the dock with my coffee to take it in, as our kids swim, fish, and kayak. Walking the half mile gravel road amidst the shade of the beautiful pine trees with my dog, Sacha, and doing a short yoga session on the dock afterwards. Packing the family into the car to go to our favorite ice cream shop, Fielder’s Choice. Ending the day with hamburgers, hot dogs, and s’mores around the fire pit!