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Career Story: Fundraising Program Director For A Fair Trade Company

Fundraising Program Director For A Fair Trade Company

Job Title: Fundraising Program Director

Type of Company: Fair Trade Commodities importer. Trade directly with small scale farmer cooperatives around the world. Sell to food outlets in US

Education: MS Freidman School of Nutrition, Tufts University

Previous Experience: Equal Exchange Organizing Director 9 years Equal Exchange Organizer 3 years Community Organizer 2 years Peace Corps Volunteer 2 years Honduras with coffee farmers Spanish teacher long-term substitute

Job Tasks: I am responsible for growing our school fundraising and education program. This is a start-up business within a larger business. My job is to grow sales of Equal Exchange's school fundraisers by finding new customers and partners. Key customer bases have been private schools such as Montessori or Waldorf.

My work has been to supervise others to help develop this program--what products we are selling, at what price to customers and how. We are in regular contact with the customers to help figure out their needs and solve their problems. For instance schools need to make money but they don't have a lot of time or money to do it. We try to make the work as clear as possible with our catalogue, web site and by phone.

My work is to market the fundraising and education program. I do this by developing our ads strategy, online and other outreach, media and events programs. As part of our outreach I seek partnerships with large memberships, such as the New York Teachers Union. They are promoting our program as a way to demonstrate solidarity between organized workers in the U.S. with organized farmers across the globe.

I work closely with Equal Exchange warehouse, inventory management team, marketing and sales teams. My work in fundraising and education needs to be collaborative with Equal Exchange's other sales and marketing channels so we can support each other.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Best parts: I get to provide a valuable service for parents and teachers. I get to bring social justice to school fundraisers and provide delicious, high quality, organically grown foods to more people.

Worst parts: I have more work to do than I have time. Must continually figure out what is most important at any one time, and that changes in the dynamic marketplace.

Job Tips: I would learn and study business and economics in your every day life. I would ask people you know who have a business about their business--what are the biggest challenges and what are the rewards. I would learn how to use excel. Look at the needs of those who are living on the edge of life and how we, in business, can provide a way for them to make enough to feed, clothe and educate their whole family.

Additional Thoughts: The most important quality for success is emotional intelligence--genuine care for others and listening to others. The other quality is the ability to learn and learn and keep learning. Take risks. Look for and find mentors.

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