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Chris Tobin wants The Daily Orange’s fundraising to reflect more what donors value. Instead of getting a free sticker when contributing, he said people would rather feel like they’re part of The DO team.
Tobin, the head of fundraising, along with business manager Chris Nucerino joined The DO over the summer. Both hold part-time positions within the organization.
“I think the kind of fundraising that works best is ‘we’re going to earn your philanthropy and your vote of confidence with our ideas,'” Tobin said.
In January, Nucerino began creating his own financial advisory business, but said he had time off and wanted to do something meaningful. Chris Tobin is also setting up his own consulting business, Rootstock, alongside a friend of his. But as he grows his client base, he said he has the ability to do more.
“I have enough… free time to still be able to contribute to a worthwhile organization,” Tobin said.
The new hires aim to create a more sustainable future for The Daily Orange, said Beth Fritzinger, vice chairman of the DO board. The board concluded that the organization needed more leadership in fundraising and business management, the roles Tobin and Nucerino now hold.
Over the past decade, OD has slowly evolved into fundraising as a form of income. SU alumnus Haley Robertson, who previously served as the paper’s editor in her freshman year and fundraising coordinator in her senior year, said that even in recent years the focus on fundraising within the DO had increased.
“Before I got involved in fundraising at the Daily Orange, it only existed in executive responsibilities, and fundraising campaigns were all tied to specific special projects,” Robertson said.
Previously, the roles of Nucerino and Tobin took the form of a single position, that of general manager. Mike Dooling, who left the organization last summer, was the last person to hold the position.
Robertson now works as a development associate with The Ground Truth Project, the parent company of Report for America, doing work similar to her role as the DO’s 2021 fundraising coordinator.
Stephen Dockery, chairman of the board, wrote to the DO in an email that he hopes fundraising will become “an established mainstay of our revenue stream” within one to two years. Tobin said he was excited to get to work helping the DO elevate its fundraising.
“My role is really to help execute systems and practices, but also to build new strategies and a greater culture where philanthropy and alumni engagement is there to help DO thrive, succeed and grow,” Tobin said. “It’s my job.”
Both Tobin and Nucerino said their first few weeks with the organization were spent understanding both its systems and its culture.
Tobin said he specifically wants to understand what’s “under the hood” of the DO, determine what fundraising efforts have been successful in the past, and how the newspaper operates. He also said he wanted to help identify the message of the DO’s fundraising efforts.
Like Tobin, Nucerino also wants to review the business. His first year at The DO involves observing and learning from both students working within the company and its board of directors. For now, Nucerino wants to play the supporting role.
Nucerino has worked with local YMCAs for nearly 30 years. For the past six years, he has served as CEO of the YMCAs of Auburn and Skaneateles. Working at the YMCA, Nucerino said he finds he enjoys working with the typical college age group, both in programming and employment.
At The DO, he sees his job as a matter of trust.
“(It’s about) building that trust in the community and with the students and with the school and with the board,” Nucerino said, “making sure we’re doing all the things we need to do as good stewards of revenues that come in, expenses and, of course, donations.
Dockery wrote that the DO “got lucky” with Tobin and Nucerino.
“They have decades of experience in their fields, with top-notch organizations in higher education and the nonprofit space,” he said.
Published on August 21, 2022 at 10:14 p.m.
Contact Kyle: [email protected] | @Kyle_Chouinard