PMA Team Member Spotlight: Cindy ClarkApril 2021
Cindy Clark has dedicated more than 35 years of her professional experience to nonprofit leadership, strategic planning, management, development, and marketing. Her extensive nonprofit background includes work in healthcare, higher education, and the independent school sectors. Before joining PMA, Cindy served for nine years as a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Vice President for Development with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region, where she managed a successful $10 million capital campaign to build Levine & Dickson Hospice House. She previously served for 14 years as Director of Advancement at Gaston Day School, an independent school in Gastonia, NC.
Cindy began her career in Advancement at Belmont Abbey College, where she served first as Director of Public Relations and later became Director of Development. At PMA, she consults with a broad spectrum of nonprofit organizations, including education, social services, economic development, and arts clients. Cindy received a bachelor's degree in English Education from Appalachian State University and is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). She recently reflected on her nonprofit leadership journey with her PMA colleague Charmain Lewis.
How long have you been with PMA?
I have been working with PMA Consulting for six and a half years now. I began in September of 2014.
What do you love most about the work you do?
One of the things I enjoy most about PMA is the opportunity to partner with so many dedicated individuals and organizations who are doing such important work in the community. The nonprofits with whom we work are providing much needed programs and services to thousands of people, and it is both humbling and rewarding to support them in the role of a consultant.
What are some of the challenges you see nonprofit leaders experiencing right now?
Over the past year nonprofit leaders have been challenged like never before. Because of the pandemic, almost every nonprofit organization has been forced to think of new ways to deliver their mission. Pivoting has been required to be able to continue to do the important work that they do and meet the needs of the constituencies in a different way. Homeless shelters, food banks, educational institutions, social services, cultural organizations, and churches, all had to make changes almost overnight to meet community needs while maintaining social distancing requirements. The pandemic demanded innovation and creative problem-solving. Leaders have also been challenged to motivate and inspire their teams, including board members and volunteers as well as staff who are working in a virtual environment. Providing coaching, mentoring, moral support, and all possible resources to help them succeed has never been more important.
From the fundraising perspective, some of the traditional revenue streams disappeared. Organizations that were dependent on patron events, ticket sales, and in-person fundraising events, had to find new revenue streams. Even prior to the pandemic, many large corporations and foundations in our community had already changed their giving patterns. Instead of supporting many different community needs, they have identified specific causes that they want to support and are focusing their resources on nonprofits that are addressing these needs. Nonprofits are having to search for new funders because many of their traditional partners are no longer supporting them.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for many businesses around the world. What are some of the ways you've worked around those challenges?
We had to find ways to serve our clients virtually. Almost every organization has had to do that. Work, meetings, board retreats, events, programs, education, performances became virtual. Zoom became a part of our daily lives. PMA supported its clients and helped them find new and creative ways to continue to serve their constituents. And now as we begin to return to somewhat normal activities, many organizations are realizing that some of their new practices may be here to stay.
What do you enjoy doing when you're not busy at work with a non-profit partner?
My two grandchildren are definitely the bright spots in my life. They are ten and fourteen years old, and I love spending time with them. Consulting has given me the flexibility to be present in their lives in meaningful ways. I'm also active in my church and enjoy traveling, reading, gardening, and spending time with friends.
What is something you'd like others to know about PMA?
Our collective experience and relationships in the community are what make PMA unique. As nonprofit professionals, we have collective experience in virtually every sector of the community. My background is in education and healthcare, but as a PMA consultant, I've worked in virtually every nonprofit sector social services, arts, healthcare, education, and the religious sector. I also think it's important for people to know that we've worked with over 230 organizations. Over the past 12 years, Patton has built countless and solid relationships with nonprofits and leaders in our community and across the state. To me, the best endorsement for PMA is when an organization comes back and says, "Can you help us again?"