Principal, The Mellinger Group, LLC
A: A few months ago, I adjusted my morning routine. To get my head in the right place for the day, instead of checking my phone first thing, I set my intention for the day along with three things I want to accomplish. My intention might not be work-related but could be something like drinking enough water or fitting in exercise. Then, I do the New York Times mini crossword and Spelling Bee. Then, after showering, I scroll through emails that came in overnight and I eat breakfast.
A: The Mellinger Group develops and implements fundraising programs that build rapport with donors, advance causes, and drive candidates to exceed previous fundraising totals and goals. Our goal is to help Democratic candidates get the financial support they need to increase diversity throughout government. Positive social change begins with a good fundraiser, and we’re driven to make fundraising more equitable for underrepresented communities, by helping candidates and their staff become more comfortable and competitive asking for money.
A: “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin. It’s hard to pick just one takeaway; I’m not sure why this isn’t required reading for everyone. Baldwin describes, really effectively and poignantly, growing up Black in Harlem in the early 1940s, and his experiences appear to mirror those of Black Americans in 2020. His keen observations and warnings about how he and others were impacted by the intersection of race, religion, politics and power, ring just as true today as when he wrote his beautiful prose.
A: The pandemic has forced my clients to change how they raise money for their campaigns, and we’re now coaching them how to hold successful virtual fundraising events and meet and greets. While I think people miss the social aspect of fundraisers, and when it’s possible to do so, in person events will return, virtual events are here to stay. Having the time to share expanded messages to a contained audience, combined with the lack of travel and reduced time commitment, is proving to be a huge advantage for candidates and donors.
A: I’ve changed my relationship with my cell phone. It sits in a different room at night, and during the day I silence the notifications and keep it on vibrate to minimize distractions while I’m at my desk. While I’m working, I check it once an hour so I’m still being responsive. I no longer feel I “have to” respond immediately when I hear it, and it doesn’t constantly interrupt or distract me from completing projects and tasks.
A: Knowing why your business exists, is more important than what you do. Your why attracts the right clients and the right team, keeps you focused and pushes you forward on the days when things aren’t going according to plan. I learned this from author and motivator Simon Sinek and have found it to be true in my own work. Now, when you visit the Mellinger Group website, our why is front and center, explaining to clients and those considering working with us, what drives us to provide for our clients.
About Stephanie Mellinger:
Since 2001, Stephanie has helped raise millions of dollars for more than 230 campaigns across the country, using traditional and non-traditional methods, including calls, events, mailings, and digital outreach.
Stephanie has always been drawn to the idea of fairness and justice and the impact of government on people’s lives. Her company’s first contract was to produce the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus’ Annual Gala—she and her team doubled the event’s previous fundraising record. Since then, her clients have had a solid record of exceeding previous fundraising totals and goals, using her coaching, infrastructure, and systems to get and keep things organized and running effectively and efficiently.
An honor’s graduate of Hood College with a BA in Economics and Political Sciences, Stephanie is a registered, bonded Professional Solicitor in Maryland. She’s also a 2018 graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which gives entrepreneurs the direction and support they need to create jobs and economic opportunity by providing greater access to education, financial capital and business support services.
One of Stephanie’s mottos is “positive social change begins with a good fundraiser.” So, in addition to helping her clients to raise more money, she shares what she knows about fundraising and leadership. She’s spoken at a number of events, including as a panelist for a Baltimore Innovation Week panel on the 2020 election; as a fundraising trainer for the Maryland Democratic Party candidate training; as a guest instructor for a Leadership Course at Bowie State University; and as a fundraising trainer for Emerge Colorado.
Company website: www.mellingergroup.com