Stephen Peeler

 

What inspired you to become a development professional?

Having lived and worked in D.C. with various associations for a while, I continue to be inspired by the community. The majority of ASAE Foundation donors and individuals who I work with are in the association profession and are people who want to give back themselves. The first organization I joined was Marriott International – which laid the ground work for what I do today: building relationships, consultative selling and getting to know people beyond the transaction. For me it is all about giving back to the community that supported my professional growth.

 

What inspires you about the development profession?

I reached a point of wanting to give back and was the Vice President of Membership and a meeting planner and managed an association. I was inspired by wanting a new challenge!

 

What is the one quality every fundraiser should have?

The ability to build rapport easily with anyone from any background: a people person.

 

What is the legacy you wish to leave behind?

I want to be known and remembered as a giver. Someone who gave their time, who mentored others, and who was willing to share a connection. I want to leave a legacy as someone who was passionate about philanthropy and helping others. I met Adam Grant and was inspired by his message in the book "Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success".

 

What is the best advice that you have received related to your career?

• Never burn a bridge! People will move on and change careers many times over the course of your journey. Be sure you maintain good relationships.

• Never say “No” – always find a way to help someone or redirect someone.

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a fundraiser?

It helps to be a people person, because in this field you need to like people. A second tip is to hone your listening skills - being a good listener is critical. Finally, write handwritten thank you notes, they go a long way and people never forget them or you as a result.

 

Do you have any advice for AADO?

AADO should continue to build collaborations with other organizations, and continue to foster networking, It is great to connect the dots with those of us who are often “lone wolfs” in our industry. Our paths would never cross if it wasn’t for AADO.

 
 

AADO Meet the Members are interviews conducted by members of the AADO Network. If you would like to interview an AADO member or be interviewed by an AADO member please send an email to aadevofficers@aol.com.