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March 16, 2017

Account Director Maximizes Salvation Army Experience

Hi, I’m Lindsay Sparks. 

I have worked with The Salvation Army now for seven years — six of those years as the Director of Development at Tulsa Area Command.  Now, I have the privilege of serving The Salvation Army as an Account Director for TrueSense Marketing.  I don’t know how it all happened.  There were other projects in between (and a bit of soul searching), but I have no doubt I ended up exactly where I needed to be. 

Because of my background working for The Salvation Army, I have a special lens that allows me to better understand the questions, and sometimes frustrations, that my clients have.  I know what it’s like to track Salvation Army revenue!  So many buckets and factors, questions and relationships, plus managing a staff amid all of it.  (I recognize that not all areas are blessed enough to have a staff member concentrating on each of the buckets, so it’s all hands on deck for development staff!)  Fundraising is not for the faint-hearted.

In my current position, I have the luxury of being able to focus on direct-response fundraising, so I no longer have to also worry about kettles, major gifts, events, volunteers, or corporate gifts and grants … but I know that all of my clients still do!  When a client asks me a question, I want to be an extension of their team.  Because my focus is more narrow, I can dig into data and provide measured, accurate responses that help them understand their revenue and their donors.

As an Account Director, I’m responsible for strategy development and ultimate success for my clients.  That also means I am hands-on when it comes to the services TrueSense provides.  I understand that some clients may be skeptical of direct-response methods.  In these cases, I am able to use my own personal experience to explain how direct response is a great channel to build current and future revenue by cultivating donors.  Other times, I’m simply a means of support to say “I understand,” before working with my client to find a solution.  There have even been a few times where I knew a tip or trick from the past that I was able to share!  

I know I’ll be forever grateful for my time with The Salvation Army, and for how much those experiences enable me to work alongside my clients today.

In all honesty, it’s amazing to be on the other side as well.  When I was a TrueSense client, I had no idea how deep the team was that supported my mail program.  Now, I see how much planning and effort goes into each campaign, and I am constantly in awe of what we accomplish.  Our partnership with The Salvation Army makes each of us feel like we’re a part of the organization, too.  We may not give speeches to the Rotary Club or attend the board meetings, but we know our efforts matter.  

And that company philosophy makes me feel like I am still a part of The Salvation Army — and I’m so glad!

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