The Goldie Company

Parley: January 2008 - One on One with Tom Shand

Current Position: Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association, Alberta Division

Career and lifetime highlights:

Organizational and fund development, building programs and profile for the Canadian Diabetes Assocation, Alberta Lung Association and Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation. Helped these organizations to transition to a higher level.


How many years have you been involved in fundraising?
About 25

Why are you involved in fundraising?
Rewarding to contribute to the betterment of society through development of organizations and the people associated with them – volunteers, staff and donors.

In your opinion, what has been the biggest influence or change in the fundraising profession since you started your career?
It has become much more professional in its approach to the work.

What most concerns you about the fundraising profession?
Some of the passion and joy has been lost to management systems and business-orientation.

If you could change one thing about the fundraising profession, what would it be?
Restore more of the human element. It is about people not systems and although relationship building is preached, only see that as a tool and don’t seem to understand the integral rewards of the process.

In your opinion, are donors different today, making “the ask” more strategic or different and affecting how you prepare and conduct your work?
Corporate asks are often more oriented to the structure set up by the corporations to deal with request but individuals, for the most part, are still people with interests and needs as they have always been. The means of giving may be somewhat different but, although people tend to be a little more analytical than before with many choices as to where to give, their reasons for giving have not changed greatly.

What is your motto?
To do the best I can to make the world a better place, even if it is one person at a time.

What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were younger?
If one actually planned to engage in fund development as a career, I expect different choices might have been made along the way.

What has been your most memorable experience as a fundraiser?
The personal appreciation of individual donors that my work and our relationship was meaningful to them.

If you could start your career over again, what, if anything would you do differently?
Perhaps to develop a career plan rather than ride the wind.

Who or what has had the greatest influence on your life?
My family. Honesty, caring and integrity have always been key values.

Who is your favourite historical figure?
Honest Abe.

What do you hope to do that you haven’t done yet?
Help build an effective fund development program for at least one more organization – hopefully, CMHA, as it is overdue and much needed. And a few major donors would be a nice bonus.