JANUARY 2023 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Marisa Melo (She/Her)
Executive Director, Meals on Wheels of Alameda County
How long have you been involved in the nonprofit sector? And in fundraising?
I’ve been involved in the nonprofit sector and in fundraising for nearly 7 years.
Please describe why you chose to work in nonprofit fundraising.
I chose to work in nonprofit fundraising because I enjoy building relationships and raising crucial funds for worthy causes like Meals on Wheels.
Please tell us about your current role and responsibilities.
As the Executive Director at Meals on Wheels of Alameda County, I am responsible for managing the overall strategic and operational initiatives. I lead our team and event management activities to ensure successful execution of all fundraising activities, such as direct mail campaigns and digital campaigns. I work on forging alliances with the business community, government officials, and other community organizations. I also oversee the relationships with our six Meals on Wheels programs for which Meals on Wheels of Alameda County provides financial support, community outreach, and strategic assistance.
How has Covid-19 affected your current role, organization, and career path?
The COVID-19 pandemic enabled our supporters to see what it’s like to be socially isolated from family and friends much like our homebound seniors are on a daily basis. Our revenue increased tremendously because so many were able to relate.
What are some silver linings since the pandemic began in March 2020?
Many of our supporters were able to understand social isolation.
What are some highlights in your current role and in your career?
We’ve been able to double our revenue since I started working at MOWAC in 2016.
What professional knowledge would you impart to other nonprofit fundraisers?
Meet supporters where they are, whether it be by email, social media, direct mail, etc. Get to know your supporters and learn what is important to them.
In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the nonprofit fundraising profession today?
The cost of doing business keeps rising due to inflation, which forces many nonprofit professionals to continue doing “more with less.”
How do you manage to balance your personal and professional life?
I am intentional about separating myself from work email and projects on the weekends, so that I can focus on my family. I do this by turning off email and Slack alerts and making a list of to do items for the following week.
What are some activities you enjoy outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, especially with my spouse Peter and our 8 month old son Elliot, baking, cooking, reading (mostly fiction as well as some true crime novels), listening to podcasts like Crime Junkie My Favorite Murder, & Ear Hustle, going on hikes, going to museums, and traveling.
What is the last book you read or movie you watched?
The most recent book I read was Mother of All Secrets.
What career goals do you still want to pursue or accomplish?
I believe that a Master’s in business or public administration is in my near future.