Volunteer Spotlight with Jared Longmore
Associate Director of Advancement for Athletics, University of Rochester
Can you talk a little bit about the work you do at University of Rochester?
My current position is Associate Director of Advancement for Athletics at the University of Rochester. Most of my work is cultivating donors who can reasonably give at the major gift level over a 5-year period. The majority of my job is to build long term relationships with donors. I like to say I am in the business of creating transformational relationships rather than transactional. My ultimate goal is to try and find a project that a donor is super passionate about and funnel them towards a positive relationship with the University.
How did you get involved in development work?
I think, like most people, I kind of stumbled into development. I was at Colorado State, finishing up my graduate degree in English. A friend of mine, who was working at Foodlink told me about an open grant-writing position. I naively thought that if I studied English, I would be able to write anything, including grants. I realized that wasn’t the case but instantly clicked with the nonprofit world. About 3 ½ years ago, the opportunity to work for the U of R came up and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. As a first-generation college student, it was really important for me to be on a campus so working for one was almost like a dream come true.
The U of R has a pretty amazing reputation in Rochester. What do you think is the secret for why it’s such a successful organization?
I guess there are two parts to that. I think the reason the U of R has such a successful reputation in the community is because of its motto, Meloria. Meloria is Latin for “ever better” and the U of R lives and breathes that every day. It’s unique to find an organization so committed to its brand but it’s true that we are always trying to do better than we did yesterday. Secondly, I think the ability to grow and specialize in one area of interest adds to why people love working there. Everyone at the U of R is an expert at what they do; you are able to immerse yourself in that field. I know that has been one of my favorite things about working at the U of R.
How did you first hear about Causewave and what motivated you to get involved with us?
When I was at Foodlink, part of my responsibilities included being on the direct mail team. It’s a pretty big program and Foodlink has been quite successful in that area but we had no perspective on it. We didn’t know how we compared to others in the field and hadn’t done a deep dive into our data. Another team member and I decided to come to Causewave for a Coffee and Consult. Ultimately the conclusion was that Foodlink was doing great, and we didn’t need additional support from Causewave. I remember thinking how this was a core part of what Causewave does, but yet they’re telling us not to take their services. This was a level of expertise and integrity that I had not seen before.
Everyone has different ideas about how to make a difference in the community. What’s your philosophy?
I think people have an obligation to pay it forward. Everyone has a different skill set, by recognizing that and owning it, people can find those opportunities that allow them to use their unique abilities. For me, I am comfortable with the fundraising side of things and that’s where I think I can volunteer my skills to have the biggest impact.
You’ve been involved in two really important fundraising plans with Causewave, what sticks out to you as the most rewarding?
Honestly, both projects I worked on were really rewarding for me. I had little to no knowledge of the true role the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Gillam Grant Community Center played in their respective communities. And when you looked closer, each organization was filled with these talented and hardworking individuals, who for the most part, are volunteers. But what made these projects so exciting was the fact that they had so much untapped potential and were so willing to listen to what Causewave had to say. I think small nonprofits don’t always realize there are simple things they can do to make themselves more efficient. Seeing first-hand how our advice was really able to make a change is pretty rewarding.
Do you have any thoughts or advice for other people who volunteer with us or in the community?
Like I said before, people have an obligation to pay it forward. Everyone can find the time to give back in some way, maybe it’s monetarily. Personally, I strive to volunteer and donate. As a W.B. Potter Society Member, I feel as though both my donations and professional skills are being put to good use. Something that’s unique about volunteering with Causewave is that there is this multiplier effect around the work you do. By working with so many organizations, Causewave is helping all of them become better and in turn, that helps those organizations serve the community better. By volunteering in that way, Gilliam Grant is hopefully a little bit better, National Women’s Hall of Fame is hopefully a little bit better and the communities they serve are hopefully a little bit better. At Causewave, you are surrounded not only by passionate, hardworking staff members but you are exposed to numerous other passionate and hardworking organizations in the community striving to make it better.
What might be something readers are surprised to know about you?
I have an underground supper club! We usually do a multi-course meal that is inspired by a part of the world. Our next dinner is French inspired.
How do you drink your coffee?
Just black. I’m pretty simple.
If you could live anywhere on this planet, where would you choose to live?
I love Rochester- but I guess that’s a pretty boring answer. There are other places that are beautiful; like when I lived in Colorado or visited Portugal. But, all of my family is in New York, so it’d be tough to leave. Rochester all the way!
Any final thoughts you would like to share?
I think people should get involved. I think people should find things they’re passionate about and should do them. Reach out and be open to new opportunities. It’s really easy to say “no” to things, but people should just try saying “yes” more often; usually good things happen!