10 Questions with Michelle Bermeo-Betancourt - Development Coordinator, El Pueblo

What does a typical day look like for you?

My job is all about donor relationships, so I’m typically always in some kind of communication with donors, supporters, and volunteers. I love making people feel appreciated, so I always make it a point to convey gratitude for their support, as well as the fact that our work is possible because of their support and trust. I also communicate with sponsors for our annual festival, La Fiesta del Pueblo, trying to connect them to the Latinx community here in Wake County.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on finalizing sponsor participation for La Fiesta del Pueblo. We will soon be starting our marketing for the festival, so it’s always important to have all the sponsors confirmed in order for them to receive all their benefits. I am also trying to meet more of our donors – it’s important to have a personal connection with them and get to know them. I want to make sure that they feel thanked, respected, and included in the organization and communiy’s work.

What was your path to get where you are today?

My passion for the nonprofit world started in high school. I was involved with an LGBT youth group called iNSIDEoUT that is youth-led that works to provide a safe space for queer youth and as a resource for QSA’s/GSA’s in NC. I saw how a passion for justice could be a career and I really enjoy working with others who are passionate about these issues. I knew that a career at a nonprofit would be the right fit for me.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?

Getting people excited about fundraising. A lot of the people I work with are scared to ask for money because it’s considered rude, improper, or in bad taste, but people always show up to support a good cause. When people see how passionate you are and you ask for their help, they feel special because they feel like they are making a difference in a small way. Fundraising is a great way to get people interested and talking about your cause, as well as support your cause – whether it’s with a donation, their time, or leveraging their networks to help the organization do its work.

How do you effectively balance your time?

Even though life never goes according to plan, I always like to plan ahead. I like to look at my week and my month and just lay out when I will be at the office. I then focus on the tasks that I want to get done during that time. I used to make lists, but those were completely ineffective for me. I learned a trick from my coworker to schedule tasks instead of listing them and it’s definitely worked – I get more tasks done faster and don’t forget to do certain things.

What are five tools you use on a regular basis?

Our database, my email, my water bottle (gotta stay hydrated!), my Lisa Frank stickers (for donor thank you’s!), and Google Chrome.

What is the best career advice you have been given?

My parents always told me to do what makes me happy. That’s a super difficult concept to make into a job or career and sounds super overused, but I am so glad they said it. I wanted my job after getting my Undergrad to be something I liked doing and I am doing just that.

Who or what inspires you?

The community members that we work with at El Pueblo. Their passion and drive is so infectious and really gives me the motivation to do my job. Despite threats, fears, and roadblocks, these folks continue to fight for themselves, their families, and our community, and I want to make sure that I use the privileges that I have to help our community achieve equity.

Why do you do what you do?

I do what I do because I have hope. I have hope that one day we will achieve equity, justice, and liberation for all. I don’t know if it will be achieved during my lifetime, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t fight for it. Resignation changes nothing, but action can and will.

Who should we interview next?

My fabulous coworkers Iliana Santillan, community organizer, and William Saenz, communications coordinator.
Jillian Johnson, Southern Vision Alliance
Ivanna Gonzalez, Blueprint NC

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