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Elizabethton Boys & Girls Club marketing director wins first-ever national award

Contributed • May 22, 2018 at 8:56 PM

Elizabeth Williams, resource development and marketing director for the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, has received a top national award from the Boys & Girls Club of America.

Williams was named BGCA’s Outstanding Resource Development Professional at the agency’s national conference in San Diego earlier this month.

The first person to ever receive the award, she was in competition with a wide field of BGCA professionals from clubs across the nation, including large metro organizations.

“I’m really honored to have been recognized, but more than anything, I’m thankful. These kids are going to grow up and do amazing things, and to think, I get to be a part of that and I get to help others in the community make that difference as well.”

“I was really excited when I learned that Elizabeth had been selected as the Boys & Girls Clubs Outstanding Resource Development Professional,” said Susan Schnase, senior director of Resource Development Club Services for the national organization.

“What makes Elizabeth so special is her donor-centricity. She treats all donors with respect as partners in achieving the Boys & Girls Clubs mission. She is innovative, focused, knowledgeable, and trustworthy — all vital characteristics to a great fundraiser. Elizabeth is a model for other club fundraising professionals to follow — and her success speaks for itself.”

Williams has served the local club for almost three years and during that time, her accomplishments have been astounding, Elizabethton/Carter County club CEO Ginny Wright said.

“In that short time, her passion for kids, vision for what can be, courage to push new ideas and efforts, and persistence to see efforts through has transformed resource development in Carter County, creating a strong and dynamic organization for kids,” Wright said.

Board Chairman David Batchelder agrees. “Elizabeth joined our club during a time of financial struggles. Her expertise and drive have helped us expand our donor base and improve every facet of our fundraising. She is a great asset to our organization and is making a difference in the lives of the kids.”

According to Wright, Williams entered an organization with almost no fundraising infrastructure and very limited resource development efforts, and significantly increased the club’s revenue and cash balance.

Wright credits Williams with procuring and building the organization’s first donor database, creating quarterly newsletters, and initiating regular “Friendraising” events.

“In her first year, Elizabeth initiated the organization’s first “one ask” process, securing corporate partners and moving those partners from single event sponsors to year-round supporters of the club’s mission,” Wright said. “She created donor recognition policies that have lead to increased marketing benefits for corporate sponsors, and boosted corporate support outside of events.”

Williams also created the club’s first Steak & Burger event, which has been very successful, both in terms of money raised and enthusiasm generated, Wright says.

Williams has formed and maintains close relationships with local media, and works to build and maintain relationships with local government officials, Wright says. She has also built and maintains a donor base, as well as managing the organization’s grant writing processes, writing the majority of the proposals.

“She has procured a Tennessee Alliance grant for workforce development, several Walmart community grants that have enabled facility improvements, and local community foundation grants that have created Club space improvements,” Wright said. Williams also recently won an East Tennessee Foundation Youth Endowment grant for Club STEM programs.

An active member of Junior League and the Noon Rotary Club, Williams was named a Paul Harris Fellow for her dedicated service in her Rotary Club, and she is currently on the planning committee for the Rotary District Conference. As a former Niswonger Scholar, she often volunteers on their selection panel and scholar development activities.

“Elizabeth’s relentless efforts have inarguably created a stronger organization that is serving kids in better ways each year,” Wright said. “Her work fuels more outcome-driven programming including new STEM efforts and a pilot reading intervention program for the summer.

“Elizabeth makes everyone feel special because she believes they are,” Wright added. “When she says ‘thank you,’ people believe it because she truly means it. She embodies the values of BGCECC — excellence, teamwork, courage, relationships, and fun. She inspires everyone around her to learn more and do more for kids in Carter County.”

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