150 Profiles: Jenny Mitchell

As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.

Name: Jenny Mitchell

Current role in the sector: Chief Visionary Officer, Owner, Chavender

Years working and/or volunteering in the nonprofit sector: 15 years.

What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
I fell into fundraising raising money for pianos at the music conservatory where I was working. Until then, my path was that of a professional classical pianist living the life in New York City! I fell in love with the idea of bringing people together to build something that is bigger than themselves–philanthropy for the greater good. To this day, I tell people that the vision for my company is to help people do more good in the world. Being a fundraising coach is my most impactful way to do more good.

Describe your desk/workspace.
I have a huge vision board over my desk. It has pieces of artwork, ideas, passwords for my computer, and my top 3 goals for the year. I am more cluttered than tidy, but I am also vigilant in my systems because I hate having to touch things twice–no fundraiser has time for inefficiency! I keep a running notebook of ideas and doodling my thoughts has been incredibly helpful for getting ideas down. I am highly creative, and I thrive when I am bouncing ideas around with people. I spend a lot of time on video conference with clients and colleagues.

What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector? 
I follow some of the thought leaders in our sector, but when it comes to content, I look to the business world. I read books on leadership, communications, marketing, and engagement to learn what the business folks are doing to drive revenue. I bring those ideas back to the non-profit world and look to implement elements from these books, within a context of philanthropy and giving. By taking proven examples of success from the business world, I have had better success getting the non-profit world to try something scary or risky.

What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?

  • Leadership
  • Being nimble, more adaptable to the modern volunteer, including modernizing structures and approaches for fundraising and revenue generation
  • Trustworthiness in our sector, authenticity.

Do you know someone we should profile as part of this series? Email us at philanthropistprofiles@gmail.com


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