Carter Consultant Inspires Next Generation of Fundraisers

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Toohey uses a winding career path to inspire the next generation of fundraisers

Eileen TooheyFrom software and mainframe sales to major gift fundraising to international consultant … that seems to be a completely linear career path, doesn’t it?

For Eileen Toohey, it was a professional journey that leveraged her talents and interests at every stage of her life. Eileen shared her story last month at the CASE Regional Advancement Professionals Roundtable in Baltimore, Maryland.

Now a managing director with Carter, a global nonprofit and fundraising consulting firm, Eileen is best known for an amazing 25-year career at a prominent independent school where she excelled at engaging and inspiring alumni to partner with their alma mater through transformational philanthropic gifts.

Despite her success, Eileen is the first to admit, she could not have predicted her future would be in philanthropy.

“Not many of us set out to work in the development field,” Eileen said, “I don’t feel like I chose the profession, but rather I am grateful it chose me.”

Eileen’s best advice for newcomers fundraising is if an opportunity doesn’t scare you, it probably isn’t worth doing. Sage wisdom she began to understand when making the jump from alumni relations to annual fund giving.

“An annual giving position is where you learn all about development.”

Eileen credits her experience in annual giving with allowing her to sharpen her skills and get a deeper understanding of fundraising mechanics.

“Recruit from within and not just in your own department.”

Drawing on her own experience, Eileen was smart enough to recognize most of us don’t start out in development. She recruited three secretaries to join her fund development team with tremendous success.

“Love what you do.”

Eileen said it is an honor to help people and organizations invest in what they believe in.
“You’ll never get what you don’t ask for.”

Eileen didn’t ask for this career but given the crowd’s response in Baltimore that afternoon, there are professionals, colleagues, donors, and organizations who are grateful development chose Eileen Toohey.

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Carter Represented at 2018 Planet Philanthropy

south florida museum

Local Carter Partners Present at Statewide Philanthropy Conference

Sarasota, Fla – July 13, 2018 – Burnham “Turk” Lewis, Managing Director at Carter, was invited to speak June 18 at the annual Planet Philanthropy conference in Fort Lauderdale Beach. Brynne Anne Besio, Chief Executive Officer at the South Florida Museum in Bradenton, a Carter partner, joined Lewis in presenting an education session focused on “Making Your Organization’s Strategic Plan Key to Fundraising Success”.“As a fundraising professional, I am committed to helping others inspire volunteers and philanthropists to support causes they care about,” said Lewis. “I’ve found Planet Philanthropy to be one of the best opportunities in the southeast for fundraisers who want to learn more, expand their skills and grow professionally.”

Hosted by the Florida Caucus of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, this year’s Planet Philanthropy attracted over 300 fundraising professionals. This was the second time Lewis and Besio teamed up to present on this topic. They also shared a podium at last year’s Florida Association of Museums conference.

“Strategic planning must drive and support an organization’s fundraising efforts,” Lewis said. “Often a Board of Directors will see a decline in fundraising and fail to recognize it as a systemic problem rooted in an outdated or poorly developed vision or structure.”

Besio experienced this firsthand in her leadership role with the South Florida Museum. Carter has supported the organization through significant transition over the past four years including a multi-million-dollar capital campaign, a new board governance strategy and a strengthened professional staff structure. Burnham “Turk” Lewis, Carter Managing Director; Bynne Anne Besio, Chief Executive Officer of South Florida Museum; and, Steve Higgins, Carter President at the 2018 Planet Philanthropy Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“Four years ago, our Board set a bold vision to grow the South Florida Museum’s impact in the region. We want to inspire learners of all ages to explore the connection between natural history, science and human life,” Besio said. “Carter has been with us every step of the way. We’ve both learned from our work together and I think it’s important to share this experience with other nonprofit organizations. A more effective nonprofit sector will result in a stronger, better Florida for all of us.”

The 2019 Planet Philanthropy conference will be held at the World Golf Village Renaissance in St. Augustine June 16-18.

The South Florida Museum is the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast. It is also home to the Bishop Planetarium and Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Aquarium. Information on its current exhibits and programs can be found at

Carter provides counsel to nonprofit organizations all over the world in the areas of fundraising, governance and organization planning. The company has offices in Sarasota and Vero Beach, along with 25 consultants living throughout North America and Mexico. To contact Carter, call 941-388-3414

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