Many Roads

Many Roads to Giving

by Gail Battle

Has a phrase or statement ever caught your attention and made you stop and think? This recently happened to me when I read Steve Goodier’s quote:

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love or simply give a smile. What does that cost? The point is, none of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.”

That message hit home for me. I was first introduced to this expansive giving concept as a Girl Scout. We were taught to give back to our community through service. Fast-forwarding to today, I still try to give in creative ways.

As a long-time member of Direct Marketing Association of Washington, I have met many members who live to give. When I entered the direct marketing field and joined DMAW, I did not realize what a gift I would be given in becoming a member.

I remember my first event as a new member. I was terrified at the thought of approaching a large group of people I did not know. To my surprise, it was easy. I was welcomed by DMAW leadership and introduced to other new members. That day I met my first friend in the industry with whom I am still in contact. It was the gift of a warm smile and a friendly welcome that immediately made me feel a part of this organization. And that gift kept on giving.

Over the years, the leaders in marketing and fundraising trained me on business trends and shared how changes in technology would affect our industry. These men and women gave their time and expertise to help me develop my own skills. Their gifts helped me become a leader, too, able, in turn, to share skills and insight with a new generation.

DMAW members all benefit from the generous funding of numerous corporations and individuals. The next time you go to a luncheon, networking event, or the Bridge Conference, know that these events are made possible because experienced leaders in our industry have a passion for giving back. They understand the value of education for those who make a commitment to our field and invest generously in that endeavor.

These same leaders created our DMAW Educational Foundation. They aspired to give back to educators by helping them stay abreast of the developments in our field, thereby reaching a new generation of young professionals. Over the years, DMAW leaders and members financially supported or participated in programs like University Day, Mentor-for-a-Day, the Collegiate MAXI Awards, and Professors Institute. Both professors and students have the opportunity to learn from professionals at the top of their field. These programs have led to numerous career opportunities, as well as lifelong friendships.

Through my DMAW and EF volunteer work, I have met and mentored many young people. These individuals include marketing professionals who live in Africa, Australia, Europe, and India. The reach of our work in the U.S. spans the globe and it’s exciting to hear how students everywhere have applied their knowledge, skills, and passion for marketing and fundraising. They tell me how thankful they are for the experiences DMAW provided.

I recently joined the DMAW Educational Foundation Board, knowing that DMAW/EF is a priceless way to give back to the industry that has taught me how to be successful. I invite you to ask yourself, “How much have I given this year to DMAW/EF?” As Steve Goodier said: None of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.

Gail Battle is the Director of Development at St. Luke Institute. Gail serves on the DMAW/EF board. She donates her time and talents to helping small nonprofits and businesses develop marketing and fundraising strategies. She can be reached at