Feeling the Love: Fundraising as matchmaking

Caitlin McBride, WCK's Development Manager, shares how raising funds and connecting donors are acts of love.

Caitlin Fundraising Event

I have been a professional fundraiser for nearly a decade, and I have to admit that for the first half of my career I didn’t really understand what fundraising was.

It was kind of like being in sales, right? There are revenue targets to hit, you go out and pitch to people, the only difference is you’re selling the organization’s impact rather than a product. It’s kind of similar, sorta, maybe?


But the thing is, I’ve never really felt like a salesperson (or been any good at sales). So that way of thinking about fundraising never sat quite right with me. There was something deeper about the relationship between donors and charities, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.


Then, I heard someone describe it in a way that struck a chord with me, and has shaped my fundraising philosophy ever since.


“Fundraising isn’t sales, it’s matchmaking.” Wait. What?


“Donors want to change the world in ways that are important to them. Fundraisers are the matchmakers that connect them to causes that are actually making those changes in the world.”


(Credit to the wonderful Cindy Wagman for this truth bomb.)


And there it was. The reason why fundraising never felt like sales to me. Because I was never selling anyone on anything, supporters are already sold on their desire to make a difference in the world. All I do is connect them to the organizations making their dreams a reality. 


I started as West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation’s first fundraiser nearly two years ago, and this organization has embraced my philosophy wholeheartedly. I love finding great matches and connecting passionate people and companies to the work we do. And I particularly love sharing the incredible difference donors make, because at WCK that difference is so crystal clear. 


There isn’t a day when I don’t get to see the impact that WCK is making. Whether it’s helping label the food going to the hospital or seeing tiny port shirts I know would fit my son going out the door, I feel it every day. Our donors make this impact possible, and I want to share our stories so they can feel it as much as I do.


It makes my job a million times easier to know that the way our donors want to change the world is the same way I want to change the world, too. I started my non-profit career as a summer student working in a pediatric oncology camp, and I got a chance to get to know some of the amazing kids and families who attended. It was a transformative experience that sparked my passion for non-profit work at a time when I didn’t know what my next steps would be. 


For me, coming back to the pediatric oncology space as a new parent has added an even deeper level of passion for the work WCK does for kids and families. 


I learned about WCK and this role when I was returning from my maternity leave, which had just so happened to coincide with a certain global pandemic. While I struggled through the newborn days (and nights) at the height of COVID, my friends and neighbours came together to provide us with socially distanced food support. Those life saving meals were an act of love I didn’t know I needed. 


I remember learning about WCK’s programs, and the food support in particular, and recalling what a difference that kindness made for me while I was alone and in survival mode. I knew at that moment I wanted to be a part of this organization and help others feel the same love. 


Fundraising for me is all about love. Every donation is an act of love. Every story shared is an act of love back. I’m forever thankful to be part of this wonderful organization and for my role as a conduit for so much love, gratitude, and kindness. It’s a perfect match.

Caitlin McBride

Want to learn more?

Interested in learning more about how you can support WCK's work? Reach out to Caitlin at caitlin[at]wckfoundation.ca for more info and ways you can make a difference.