Pam Gaber is the founder and CEO of Gabriel’s Angels which provides pet therapy to at-risk children. She approaches non-profit management with a for-profit mindset. She is strategic, she build relationships, and she sells with passion and heart. Pam challenges the separation of for-profit and non-profit.
While I was finishing my Master’s Degree, I worked at a domestic violence shelter in downtown Phoenix. One of the highlights of my week was when Bear, a big yellow lab, from Gabriel’s Angels came to visit the children staying at the center. I loved the dog but more importantly I loved the way the kids would transform when Bear was there. As an advocate and a dog lover, the power of those moments stuck with me. Years later Gabriel’s Angels continues to have any impact on my life. At my wedding instead of favors I donated to Gabriel’s Angels, Nancy and I where table hosts at their annual breakfast and the list goes on and on.
I was eager to talk to Pam because my career was fundamentally changed by the separation of non-profit and for-profit. I studied non-profit communications at Texas A&M. I worked at non-profits for several years. My natural skill set resulted in me working in business development or fundraising. As a young passionate advocate I wanted to get out there and spread the word. Get new donors, use new marketing techniques, lets just say I was enthusiastic. I was sat down by a supervisor and told that non-profit business development was about keeping the relationships with the donors that came to us. I couldn’t believe that they where willing to sit back and leave our future to chance (keep in mind this was before the “Great Recession”). I realized that my future might be outside of direct non-profit work.
So I have always watched Pam Gaber with wonder. The way that she operated was what I was told wasn’t “how non-profits worked”.
Now, I often work with non-profits as a trainer and have developed specific tools to help them create social media strategies that reach out and engage with donors. A lot of what I have put into those tools is inspired by Pam Gaber’s success as a marketer.
If you have ever been to a Gabriel’s Angels fundraiser you know that they are the place to be to build business connections. A big reason for that is because Pam knows how to network.
She is incredibly insightful about networking, building a non-profit and the boundaries between personal and professional life.
I hope you enjoy the podcast! Please post any questions or comments.