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The Linchpin nonprofit professional: one Houstonian who embodies the message of this must-read book

Houston's RMH Development Director Ms. Donnelly, a Houston Linchpin.
Houston's RMH Development Director Ms. Donnelly, a Houston Linchpin.
Courtesy of Houston's Ronald McDonald House

In his book Linchpin, author Seth Godin asks readers 'are you indispensable?'

In uncertain times, the promise of this how-to manual to 'drive your career and create a remarkable future' is capturing buzz and ranks #232 in Amazon's book list.

Godin defines a linchpin as the artist in the new economy, the person who fights the resistance of security and sameness to be bold, take risks, and push the envelope to become indispensable, to live his or her genius and gift it to the world.

While the book is written as an imperative for survival as business moves from commoditization toward customization; it also can be argued that Linchpin offers nonprofit professionals an approach not only for survival but also growth during proliferation of charitable organizations pursuing the same declining pool of funds.

Linchpins are among us. At a recent Houston nonprofit association panel, one voice stood out among the other talented speakers as one who approaches her vocation as art.

Mikki Donnelly is the Director of Development for Houston’s Ronald McDonald House (RMH), which offers loving, home-like environments where families find support and share experiences with others while on their journey to overcome critical childhood illness.

Ms. Donnelly is an artist, former retailer, long-time community volunteer and unwitting linchpin. She oversees all development activities and special events (both in-house and third party), in addition to maintaining positive relationships with the community in regards to the mission and activities of RMH.

“In development, the person that ‘wins big’ for their cause is looking at the world differently and is willing to gamble, to try something new, to put themselves out there to realize their passion.” Ms. Donnelly points out that fundraising has always been about people, putting a face to the mission while discovering the way to connect prospective donors to the mission. And this is where an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity can make all the difference.

Coming Monday in nonprofit business: How this nonprofit linchpin overcame obstacles, developed solutions, delighted partners and brought in the big dollars; or 'the plan, the van and the big idea...'


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