Shaping Nonprofits | Dan Pallotta's The Bolder Board Training

We sat down with Alissa Magrum, Executive Director of Colin’s Hope to talk about the impact Dan Pallotta has had on her personal life and the success of her organization. The Bolder Board Training, led by Dan Pallotta will be making its way to Austin on October 7th. See how Dan Pallotta and the messages he has pioneered have shaped Alissa personally and professionally.

Colin’s Hope is a local drowning prevention and awareness organization, founded in 2008. In 2010, Alissa became the first staff person by stepping into the Executive Director role after volunteering for the organization. Colin’s Hope works to educate local communities around the dangers of preventable, water related injuries and deaths. What began as a 100% volunteer led effort, Colin’s Hope has grown to be a nationwide resource on water safety and drowning prevention.

As with many other supporters, Alissa’s introduction to Dan Pallotta was through his work with the Pallotta TeamWork’s AIDS rides. While living in Washington DC, she was motivated to participate in a 350 mile bike ride to raise funds for local AIDS service organizations. With the successful completion of her first Pallotta TeamWorks ride she went on to participate in many more charitable events within the community. Alissa raised thousands of dollars during her first ride and was motivated to continue her journey. During a 7 day ride in Alaska, she was able to meet Dan Pallotta and dive deeper into the community he had built.

“I’ve really looked to him as a personal and professional hero. Someone who has the ability to mobilize people, ignite change and get people fired up about making a difference and making a bigger difference than they ever thought they could.”

These initial rides shaped Alissa into the charity athlete and Executive Director that she is today. With the framework and inspiration in place from Dan Pallotta, Alissa has created an active community and held countless successful fundraising events for Colin’s Hope. “Now, running an organization…I am putting those lessons I learned so long ago from Dan into action.” Alissa credits many of her fundraising techniques to the work of Dan Pallotta.

Each year, Colin’s Hope holds the Got2Swim 10K. The event is an epic swim that brings together athletes as a way to raise money for the organization. Colin’s Hope has put on 8 consecutive Got2Swim 10K events and been able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for water safety and drowning prevention. She credits the success of these events to lessons learned from Dan Pallotta’s blog, book and TED Talks. She engaged supporters with something they were passionate about and asked them to raise awareness and funds. By bringing together passionate volunteers and athletes, she created an experience, rather than just an event.

The importance for nonprofits to invest in structure and staff is one of the more meaningful lessons learned form Dan Pallotta. To be most impactful in a nonprofit it is imperative to invest in the people who innovate and continue to move the message forward. Traditionally thought of as overhead, investing in those familiar with the organization’s day-to-day makes the biggest impact. By listening to Dan’s TED talks and reading his book, Alissa communicated the importance of putting money behind the people developing the programs.  “The ability to spend a day with my board members to help reconnect why were doing what were doing and find new and innovative and creative ways to make a bigger impact is incredibly exciting.”

The Bolder Board Training on Saturday, October 7th, will be just the push your board needs to reignite your organization. Spending the time and resources to bring your whole board will result in a more synergistic an impactful experience. “If you’re a board member this is something that you don’t want to miss.”

 “It’s a once in a lifetime thing, or at least one of those things that could be a tipping point.”

Madi Finley