Mary Thom Adams of ETTAC
|Mary Thom Adams with a dog pal and her son Frank|
Mary Thom Adams has been a friend of FundRaiser since the early days of the company. She helped shape the software even as she developed her own skills in nonprofit work. She has continued to use FundRaiser at every nonprofit where she has worked and to recommend it to numerous organizations in her role as a nonprofit consultant.
"When I started on this path, I came from another job, which had given me experience with a large complicated donor management program. I didn’t want that kind of software, but I also knew that I needed something. I understood the value and need for donor management. When I looked around, I found a little advertisement for FundRaiser. I decided that it probably was going to do everything we needed at the time.
"The cool part is that FundRaiser was new. I was also a pretty new development director. FundRaiser and I sort of grew up together. I’d call the FundRaiser office and say, ‘It would be super if FundRaiser could do such and such’ and FundRaiser’s founder Gene Weinbeck, would find a way to make it happen. The next release would come out, and there would be the features that I’d suggested."
Since then, Mary Thom has continued to combine FundRaiser with her love of nonprofit work and her skill at problem-solving. "I love my work. I especially enjoy building or rebuilding organizations and making them better. When I run into any kind of problem, I stay with it. I am like FundRaiser Technical Support in that way! I like a challenge and that is what I am good at. My job is to come in and build something and once that is done then I’m ready for the next challenge. If I had been in the corporate world, I’d have been one of the people who would get things going again-- a Turn-Around expert."
Like FundRaiser, she has also continued to grow and refine her abilities. "Over the years, I’ve developed the skills that make me good at building and rebuilding organizations. I didn’t start out with all the skills. I built my own tool kit. If I have a talent it is that I can very quickly understand where the problems are in an organization. In the beginning of my career, I didn’t know that was a talent, and that it was something that I instinctively got, a kind of blessing."
She continues to use her skill to help. "Seeing a problem isn’t enough. You have to roll up your sleeves and dig in, and I love that. It is where I get interested, like an artist looking at a canvas. The artist has a vision, and then needs to do the work, putting the paint to the canvas. I work at it really hard. You make mistakes as often as you get it right, but you keep your eye on where you are going and try to get there."
Along with nonprofit work, family is also very important to Mary Thom. "I grew up in a family that was active in the social justice world and that was the world I knew the best. I had seen organizations struggle with money, and I always knew that is where I wanted to help. I’m a good administrator. I am good one step back, at making sure the people who deal directly with people get what they need to do their work."
Good donor management software in the shape of FundRaiser is one of the things she makes sure any organization she is connected to gets, even though now others are the ones to use it. "Jenny Newby, development director of ETTAC, is the one who is hands on with FundRaiser now. She has made the program really sing. We couldn’t do it without her."
When Mary Thom is not at work, she likes to read, cook, and spend time with her family. “My family is a big part of how I spend my time outside of work. I also spend times with friends and she loves to hang out with her three dogs. “They totally have my heart: 2 Pomeranians and one Poodle-Bijon Frise mix. Archie is one of the Pomeranians and he is a 4# Napoleon and rules the house. The other Pomeranian, Arlo, is special needs boy. He was in puppy mill for first 5 years of life, and his social cues are a little bit off. The third dog, Max, is poodle and Bijon Frise.”