Kathleen Bailey
Kathi Bailey

Dear TIRF Today Readers,

I was recently rehearsing for a musical performance with my friend, Tim Marquette. We were working hard but we were also having a lot of fun with the timing, the wording, the harmony, and the narrative between the songs. At some point it occurred to me that singing with friends has some parallels to fundraising for a foundation. How so?

Well, first, to move donors and potential donors to give to your cause, you have to get the wording of the appeal right, just as singers have to know the lyrics to a song. You must have good material that is appropriate for the audience. The message to the donors has to match their interests, just as a performer’s playlist has to appeal to the listeners.

Second, the request for support has to mesh with the foundation’s mission, just as singers in a group must harmonize with one another. The different parts have to work together seamlessly for the outcome to be successful. Fundraising is definitely not a solo performance! Coordination is required, in terms of timing, pace, and pausing.

Thinking about harmonizing and about TIRF’s mid-year appeal brought up some happy memories for me: memories of singing with Tim, and with our friends Robert Broom, Anita Krishnan, and Ryan Damerow, TIRF’s Chief Operating Officer. Last year, we recorded a medley of familiar songs about summer for TIRF’s 2015 mid-year appeal, with lyrics that Anita and I wrote to encourage donors to give to TIRF. As I listened to that medley again, more parallels came to mind.

For example, amateurs can aid in fundraising efforts, just as they can add to a musical performance. (In my example, Anita and Tim are professional musicians, but Robert and Ryan and I contributed to the overall sound.)  Likewise, fundraising and rehearsing both involve a great deal of serious hard work, but the result can be rewarding – and even fun!

Finally, fundraising, like group singing, changes over time. While many loyal donors support a cause for years and years, others move into new fields of work and shift their philanthropic foci, or their interests diverge from those of the foundation, or their financial situation changes, or they pass on. Our little TIRF singing group has disbanded in the past year. Anita is at Harvard, studying human development and psychology. Ryan is still working for TIRF, but he now resides in his home state of Michigan, and we work together from a distance every day. Tim has taken a job as the performing arts teacher for an elementary school here in Monterey, where he’ll be teaching theatre, singing, and dance to children in kindergarten through eighth grade. And Robert is back in town, soon to begin working in administrative support for the Army Community Service Division in Monterey. Anita, Tim, Robert, and Ryan continue to support TIRF in various ways, but not with their musical talents. Likewise, it can be the case that our donors may no longer financially support TIRF, but contribute to our mission in other ways (e.g., by reviewing grant proposals).

Perhaps someday our group will sing together again, but in the meantime, I need to find new friends who share my appreciation for music. Similarly, as fundraising work goes, we must constantly be searching for new donors to support TIRF’s mission.

With this Chair’s Report, I would like to encourage you to give to TIRF this year by visiting our “Donate” page. Of course, we are always looking for large gifts to advance the work of the foundation, but even donations in the amount of $5 or $10 are helpful. If it is possible, please won’t you consider helping us so that we can help others?

Best wishes,




PS: In case you did not see our musical appeal (or enjoyed it so much last year that you wish to watch it again!), you can check out our singing group just below.