Geri


I’m not bragging, but I have a GREAT job. I work with talented, interesting people who are ‘hook, line, and sinker’ committed to our mission at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

and I get to routinely visit with our donors: over the phone, in their homes, at donor events, over e-mail and through the mail. It’s wonderful being in communication with our donors and, by far, the best part of my job.

As a supervisor, I have administrative responsibilities including preparing reports, responding to e-mail messages and reviewing results. So, on any given day, I have a variety of tasks on my ‘to do list’ with the ability to tackle them in the order I prefer (generally speaking).

Without consciously choosing to reach out to our donors first, I always do!   I find that nothing is as uplifting and satisfying as checking in with our supporters, answering questions or sharing updates on how their giving is making a difference for Native American children!

St. Joseph’s has a fully staffed Donor Care Center to take calls.

Staff at St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center are waiting to visit with you!

Maybe you’ve recently been contacted by us? Perhaps it was for the first time? I hope you enjoyed the conversation and feel like your support is important to us. We aren’t just ‘going through the motions’ when we reach out to you….we enjoy it as much, or more, than you do!

As we move into the holidays, a favorite time of the year for many of us, donor interaction doubles and maybe even triples….it truly IS the best time of the year!

Each of us has a story about our connection to St. Joseph’s Indian School. For those of us who work here, our story

We are thrilled to meet donors and hear their stories about how they came to know St. Joseph’s Indian School.

St. Joseph’s staff members love visiting with donors at powwow, donor luncheons and on home visits.

might start with the day we were first hired. For our supporters, the stories are as varied as our supporters themselves. They may have learned about St. Joseph’s from their parents or grandparents. Or, they may have no recollection of how they were introduced to St. Joseph’s – they just know that it was years and years ago. Regardless, there’s a connection and commitment to our mission of serving Lakota (Sioux) students.

We’d love to hear from you and learn about your connection to St. Joseph’s Indian School! Don’t ever feel like you need to wait to hear from us. The only thing better than reaching out to donors is hearing from them! Feel free to give us a call at 1-800-341-2235 or send us an e-mail at saintjosephs@stjo.org. We’d love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!

Geri

Director of Major Gift Services

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Isn’t it just amazing how sometimes a plan comes together?! And how quickly it can happen? Don’t you find yourself saying No way!?

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

St. Joseph’s Development or Business Office had one of those moments this spring when a donor told us a check was on the way to cover 45% of the cost for updating the playground!

We were overwhelmed with gratitude, and we’re so excited the playground project is moving forward!

St. Joseph’s Indian School isn’t simply in the fundraising business. We are in the Making Dreams Come True business – not only for the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families we are privileged to serve, but also our donors.

It’s such a blessing to help people make a difference in the lives of Native American children.

Thanks to the generosity of many friends, the Lakota children have a safe place to play and learn at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The Lakota children love playing outside at St. Joseph’s!

St. Joseph’s average donation is around $21. We don’t have a large corporation that contributes millions of dollars each year. One by one, people who genuinely care about serving Lakota children and their families make it possible for us to continue our mission year after year.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we don’t just provide for the education and basic needs of poverty-stricken Native American children – we help make dreams come true!

You make dreams come true.

Pilamayathank you – for your generous support to make a difference in a Lakota child’s life!

Help us reach our goal by making your donation to the playground project now!

Thank you,

Geri, St. Joseph’s Director of Major Gifts

No way!

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

Isn’t it just amazing how sometimes a plan comes together?! And how quickly it can happen? Don’t you find yourself saying, No way!?   St. Joseph’s Development Office just had one of those moments.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we don’t just provide for the education and basic needs of poverty-stricken Native American children – we make dreams come true. However, we couldn’t do it without the generous support of our many friends, our tiyospayeextended family – of donors who want to make a difference to a Lakota child.

Recently, we reached out to such friends – a foundation in California whose last gift to St. Joseph’s Indian School arrived in October 2009. We were challenged to find a correct phone number for the foundation and ended up leaving a voice message with an attorney, assuming we’d run into a dead end.

However, in a few days we received a phone call from a very excited donor who was anxious to hear how things were going at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Here’s where the story gets interesting…

As we described our plans to open another home on our campus for our Native American students this fall and supply an additional second grade class, we could hear her excitement. She then inquired about other projects, so we described our plans to completely renovate our playground. At this point, the donor’s enthusiasm bubbled over! She asked that we send her a detailed proposal.

Thanks to the generosity of many friends, the Lakota children have a safe place to play and learn at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The Lakota children love playing outside on St. Joseph’s playground!

We cautioned her that it was a very large project including new basketball courts, a walking track, a new play structure and a rubber tile surface covering nearly 10,000 square feet – costly, but a safety requirement for the children.

We stressed that the project would only be possible with many gifts of all sizes. Unperturbed, she asked how quickly we could get a proposal together for her.

Eight business days after sending a proposal, we heard back from this spirited donor, indicating a check was on the way that would cover 45% of the project! No way!

When we explained that we were overwhelmed by the size of her gift, that our average gift is around $21, this donor replied, “I know – that’s the size of gift I used to make.”

We aren’t in the fundraising business. We are in the Making Dreams Come True business. Not only for the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families we are privileged to serve, but also the donors with whom we are blessed to work.

Pilamayathank you – for being part of our work and making dreams come true!

I know that some people cringe at the thought of listening to Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but I’m not one of them!  My XM radio already has at least two holiday channels (my favorite is Holly, Channel 17, but Holiday Traditions, Channel 4, isn’t bad, either) and since I commute 2 hours, 3-4 days a week, I have ample time to enjoy holiday music.  I can’t get enough of the holidays, the site, sounds, tastes and smells of the holidays never get old to me!

This is our favorite and busiest time of the year in the Development Office at St. Joseph’s Indian School, too!  Yesterday an ‘all hands on deck’ e-mail went out, asking that anyone who could help sort mail, please report to our Mail Processing area – we received 123 trays of mail!

We are indeed grateful for the holidays and the generous gifts that it brings from many of our supporters.

Geri, Director of Major Gifts, visits with a St. Joseph’s donor.

Geri has the opportunity to make personal visits to donors as the holidays approach.

But, not only is our Mail Processing Department busy this time of year, our Major Gifts Staff is equally as busy.  We reach out to donors that we’ve come to know personally with a phone call, holiday card or personal visit.

It’s not always an easy time of the year for many of our donors who have lost loved ones and are facing loneliness during the holidays.

These personal outreaches are the ones that bring me the most joy in my job – I can take the time to visit with our supporters about how they’ll spend the holidays and share all of the activities and celebrations we have planned for the Lakota students at St. Joseph’s.

Indeed, the holidays are a time of gratitude for all of us at St. Joseph’s Indian School. We are grateful to work for a great organization and help carry out a mission that is changing the lives of Native American children and their families, and we’re grateful for our generous supporters who make our mission possible!

We wish you a blessed holiday season (now go turn on some Christmas music, while you still have time)!

The day is finally here!

After a lot of planning, five staff members of St. Joseph’s Indian School have left their office space in the Nagel Business Office and relocated to a new Personal Care Center at 111 S. Main Street in Chamberlain. The space was previously the home of the St. Joseph’s Thrift Store, which moved further north on Main Street into a much larger space with adjacent receiving space for donated items.

The staff members include our first four Personal Care Specialists and our first Major Gift Officer, but we know them simply as Tina, Marge, Shirley, Shawn and Brian. They are excited to start this new adventure!

St. Joseph’s has four new Personal Care Specialists and a new Major Gifts Officer.

Shirley, Tina, Brian and Marge are looking forward to visiting with you!

The addition of the Personal Care Center is another step in the development of our Major Gifts Program and an important part of our Decade of Transformation and strategic plan.

The Personal Care Center staff will focus their efforts (phone calls, letters, e-mails, personal visits) on St. Joseph’s top donors.  Each and every gift counts, but the efforts of the staff at the Personal Care Center will focus on top donors who have made, or may have the ability to, make larger gifts.

To continue to meet the needs of the Native American students at St. Joseph’s and plan for the future, we need to focus on developing deeper relationships with these donors.  Our first step will be to reach out to these generous supporters to let them know their support is appreciated and is making a difference in the lives of our Lakota (Sioux) students!

The Personal Care Center has room for 12 staff but, for right now, five is a great start. We’re looking forward to visiting with you!