Cindy LeBlanc and Risa Salinas: Going for High-Impact Fundraising Solutions
Non-profits rely on the synergy of talents and personality types for their success. So when AIM at Melanoma set out to expand the fundraising arm of its staff, AIM Co-Founder & President Valerie Guild looked for people who have complementary talents and personal attributes. Particularly because AIM is a non-profit with the over-arching goal of curing melanoma, it is important that the people sitting at the table bring more than a skill set with them when they sit down. They need to connect with the broader cause of helping others.
Between them, Cindy LeBlanc and Risa Salinas have transferable skills and personal qualities that will help streamline and enhance fundraising processes and operations for AIM while positively touching the lives of melanoma patients and their families.
LeBlanc has in-depth fundraising experience, and she will broaden AIM’s objectives this year as the National Director of Walks and Events. For Salinas, non-profit work is a new beginning, but she brings substantial organizational and project management skills to her role as Director of Operations.
Working With Donors & Volunteers: Cindy LeBlanc
A gregarious, upbeat person, Cindy LeBlanc is the perfect choice to interface with AIM’s growing pool of volunteers and donors for AIM’s event-based fundraising. In her new role, she will work closely with event coordinators and volunteers on organizing annual walks around the country, developing volunteer training templates and recruitment plans, and helping AIM supporters raise funds for the Foundation in a “Do It Yourself” style. She comes to the job well prepared.
Prior to AIM, LeBlanc headed her own relationship fundraising organization, LeBlanc Consulting, managing 63 fundraising chapters. She helped grow revenue, and improved operation standards and data management processes. LeBlanc also worked in development roles for two non-profits: the PKD Foundation and the American Cancer Society, raising major and corporate gifts. She is a graduate of Georgia State University – J. Mack Robinson College of Business – and holds a BS in human resources management. After graduation she got right to it, managing a state senatorial campaign, securing endorsements, raising funds, and managing donor events.
LeBlanc explains that owning a company with a wide variety of clients has given her a full-spectrum view of how needs vary from smaller organizations to larger ones.
“From early on, I was intrigued by the whole culture of giving your money away,” says LeBlanc. “I’m not bashful about seeking donations for a meaningful cause.”
Behind the Scenes: Risa Salinas
Risa Salinas is thrilled to begin her career in the non-profit sector. With over 20 years of experience in project management, operations, and sales, she has a unique skill set that will be an asset in her new role. Prior to AIM, Salinas worked as a purchasing manager and procurement specialist for Henderson Design Studio in her home city of Dallas, Texas. She holds a degree in merchandising and business from the University of North Texas.
Salinas was looking to make a change in her career, and while design was an interesting world, she knew her skills in cross-functional collaboration, budgeting, communications, and operations could offer a fresh perspective in a non-profit environment. That opportunity became a reality when she was introduced to AIM Co-Founder & President Valerie Guild by her sister, the head of dermatology at a biotech company, and they hit it off.
Salinas was moved by the story of Charlie Guild and admired what the organization had been able to accomplish thus far. She connected with the organization’s mission as it aligned with her desire to make a bigger impact. After speaking with Valerie Guild about the organization and its needs, Salinas knew this would be a great fit.
“It’s an amazing organization and I get to work with a great team,” says Salinas. “I feel fortunate.”
She continues, “Cindy will be out front with the volunteers and I will stay in the background and be the expert behind the scenes, all to raise funds to end melanoma.” Salinas will manage the fundraising platform, manage donor relations, build out and update event pages, and assist with event registration. They will both work with Alicia Rowell, AIM’s Vice President, on the broader fundraising goals of the organization.
On the Docket
Between them, LeBlanc and Salinas have a scroll of “to do’s” that goes on for miles, and they enjoy the challenge of working together to accomplish both short- and long-term goals. LeBlanc is focused on expanding fundraising initiatives beyond walks and developing the “Do It Yourself” events – micro-campaigns under the AIM walks umbrella that are managed by volunteers. Currently, AIM holds 20 walks annually, and LeBlanc also hopes to expand the number of walks in the not-too-distant future. She also plans to cultivate more volunteers, as they are the lifeblood of AIM’s success. She wants to create a more “connected fellowship” with new community outreach programs with an education component.
“I’d like people to leave our events feeling hopeful,” says LeBlanc, “that not only are we working on high-impact solutions toward fighting melanoma in terms of research for the cure, but we’re also raising awareness as to how to prevent the disease.”