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Susan Hunter

Susan Hunter

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I am the Founder of Impact Giving, LLC, in Nashville, TN. My focus is to help small, local non-profits obtain funding. Currently, less than half of all non-profits make it past the 5 year mark. Not because they aren't serving a need or enhancing our communities, but rather, it's because they lack the funding to sustain the work they are doing.

Often times, those who start a charitable organization have their hearts in the right place but they didn't quite realize how hard and time consuming it would be to raise the funds that allow for the continuation of their mission. They tend to be "givers" of society and as a result, "asking" for help, especially financial assistance, is a very uncomfortable and a much dreaded part of their mission. Impact Giving takes that responsibility off their hands. This is done by connecting benefactors (Corporate Giving, Foundations and Individuals) to these small charitable organizations. This sets the scene for a mutually beneficial relationship, offering the donors a more impactful experience and a meaningful connection to the cause, all the while, enhancing the community we live amongst.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I have enjoyed being an Ellevate member for the past three years and recently took advantage of the 12 week Squad Sessions. During one of our Squad sessions (video conferencing), we were discussing one of the participants desire to ask for a Director title, concerned that she may be perceived as superficial because she was just interested in the title and not necessarily any raise to accompany the title. Well, by the end of the discussion, the collective input from our Squad was to absolutely ask for the title because that would place her in a different level of management in the eyes of those outside the organization but also... to ask for a raise to accompany this title.

That afternoon she met with her superior and boldly asked for both the title and the raise and was given both! She was so thrilled to have had the Squad's encouragement before going into the meeting as it made all the difference in her posture. She is an amazing woman who certainly deserved both but she, like many of us, tend to be hesitant about asking for things.

How would you define your professional mission?

In short, my the business model created for Impact Giving is set out to revolutionize the way small non profits obtain funding. At the same time, this model offers opportunities to help the donors make a greater impact with their generosity and enhance their corporate social responsibility via cause marketing and community alliance; creating win/win scenarios.

What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?

Networking, networking, and more networking, along with the mindset of servant leadership. This is a relationship oriented field and one must be authentic in their outreach and passion to help others. Many of the connections I make for my clients are not even invoice-able but they do further my clients' mission hence adding value to our relationship. This is the foundation of servant leadership.

What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?

One of my most memorable career accomplishments thus far with Impact Giving has been a connection I was able to make with a company that was in immediate need of hiring a large number of employees in the Nashville area. One of my clients, Nashville OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Center), help adults earn their GED, give them computer training and then help them with job placement. I connected these two entities and they immediately worked out an arrangement to send their graduates to this company for immediate hiring. This was not an invoice-able connection but it was utterly fulfilling to know that a few dozen unemployed adults were about to receive a call letting them know they had a job!

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of? Why?

While serving as Chief of Staff at the Sheriff's Office, I was given the challenge to somehow bridge the long history of division between the Bureau of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Corrections. The Sheriff and I decided this could possibly be accomplished while planning an agency celebratory 275th Anniversary Gala. Yes, that is correct, 275th, our agency was formed prior to our country's Independence Day! We got officers from all units in both bureaus involved in the planning of this historic gala. Teams were created mixing officers from both bureaus so they would be working toward a common goal which turned out to be the largest law enforcement event ever held in the history of our county. Not only did their teamwork result in a mega successful gala, the camaraderie between the bureaus had never been better. Bringing 326 previously divided employees together in this way was even more than the Sheriff had imagined. This was good for the agency and good for the community.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of running this business is meeting some of the most amazing people on the planet. I am submerged in the non profit sector, seeing so much good being done right here in America as well as oceans away. Additionally, on the other side of the equation are the amazing benefactors who are giving generously financially supporting these non profits. People working together for the greater good. #LifeIsGood

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

A legacy? Wow, I am humbled just hearing that word because I feel that I am just an instrument of the Lord, excited that He is steering while I just keep pedaling. I do hope however, I leave am able to be an effective champion for the small charitable organizations and meaningful giving. I hope to grow this business to reach all 50 states so that the concept of supporting the local non profits becomes the standard.

What is your favorite social media site? Why?

My favorite social media to peruse is Instagram largely because I am obsessed with GoalCast videos and the positivity of so many of the motivational figures and insta accounts. I make a concerted effort to surround and bombard myself with positivity to combat the negativity that permeates the society. I don't think you can overdose on positivity and optimism because any overflow tends to lift up those around you.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

The best career advice I have ever received was recently at the Nashville workshop on Building Strategic Relationships. Councilwoman, Sheri Weiner, said it best, "Get comfortable being uncomfortable." I thought this was so simple and yet so profound and it has been exactly what I have had to do throughout my career. At the Sheriff's Office I was the highest ranking civilian in the county. Additionally... being a female, I wasn't always walking in friendly territory but I had to forge ahead and with utter confidence. More recently, leaving 50 years of comfort of the northeast, moving to a new area of the country and breaking into a new industry with a new business model. But the more you get comfortable being uncomfortable, the easier it becomes and some might argue it then becomes enjoyable. I am almost there.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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