How has the nonprofit space changed since you started at Charity Dynamics, and how has that affected the work you do?
I started working in the nonprofit space in 1999. I was able to be part of the building of the first fundraising platforms in the 2000s when online giving was nonexistent. At that time, a fundraising platform was seen as revolutionary, forward thinking, risky. It was groundbreaking when a nonprofit would create a website or a donation form. It’s been interesting to see the shift from offline activity such as direct mail to donors to online giving. Over the last 20 plus years, the move to the online world accelerated at such a rapid pace so that now digital assets, like websites or mobile apps, are more important than ever in attracting donor dollars. This shift over the last 20 years has certainly changed the nature of how we expect constituents to engage with nonprofits.
What are you most proud of about your work at Charity Dynamics?
I’ve been with Charity Dynamics 11 plus years and consider Boundless Fundraising and mobile app development to be my greatest work contributions. We’ve always been leading edge in terms of coming up with new innovative product solutions to help solve real problems in the peer to peer space. When we first launched our mobile app back in 2009, a lot of organizations were against it. They felt that participants weren’t going to want mobile, but here we are today and mobile represents over 60 percent of all traffic to an organization’s site. Mobile is where users want to be and we have to make it easy for them to engage, regardless of the device or platform that they’re using. Over the last 11 plus years, Boundless Fundraising has raised over $650 million for all of the different charities that we work with. Quite frankly, that makes me so excited to see that this one small idea has made such a tremendous impact in this industry. It fills my heart and makes me so proud of the work that the team at Charity Dynamics has done. I’m really excited for the future of Boundless Fundraising and what we’ll come up with next.
What do you love about working at Charity Dynamics?
One of the great things about working at Charity Dynamics is the opportunity to work with so many different non-profits and help them with such a variety of different missions. We can actually say, “We helped an organization raise XYZ towards their mission.” This makes me very passionate because it gives meaning to our work.
How has working at Charity Dynamics informed/influenced/led to your participation in charitable endeavors and events?
Quite frankly, I didn’t know all that much about the nonprofit space until I started working in this industry 20 plus years ago. My entire career has been dedicated to the nonprofit industry. For me, it is incredibly important to feel that what I do on a daily basis is making a difference. I am not just looking at helping is to increase our bottom line and profitability. Instead, this is truly about making a difference, making an impact, leaving our mark. Helping to reduce cancer rates and heart disease, or helping with research against diabetes, those are the things that truly help me feel good at the end of the day.
As CEO of Charity Dynamics, Kathy Kempff brings more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit and retail sectors to her role. She joined Charity Dynamics in 2008, serving in several key positions including Vice President of Interactive Services and Senior Vice President of Products. She has been instrumental in the development and growth of the company’s Boundless Fundraising product division and has managed services organizations for Charity Dynamics and Convio.
Kathy is also the founder and president of Moja Tu, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships for children in developing nations. She received her bachelor’s degree in management information systems as well as her MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
How have you gotten involved with charitable work outside of the office or were you before you started?
Eight years ago, during a philanthropic trip to Kenya, I volunteered at an orphanage. This experience really resonated with me and touched my heart. I discovered a growing need to provide education to children, so I started an organization called Moja Tu in January of 2013. Moja Tu works to provide educational sponsorship to those in impoverished areas in Kenya. We really want to help end the cycle of poverty by giving children opportunities to get education and get outside of the world that they’re currently in. It’s been a mission of love.
I have been working on that as a volunteer over the last seven and a half years with my husband. We don’t have a family of our own, so we consider all of our kids through Moja Tu our children. As an organization we have about 180 students that we currently sponsor in Kenya. We have students in primary school, high school, and about 45 who are now in the university. Most recently we’ve had some of our students finish university and entered the workforce. Seeing the impact that it’s made, not just on the lives of our students, but the lives of their families and their communities, as they continue to give back – that is something that is incredibly special.
I dedicate about 10 hours a week to work on Moja Tu. I feel very passionately that my legacy can’t just be work or a hobby. Instead I want to leave a legacy of changing lives…to leave a mark. I want to be remembered not by just the work I do in my professional accomplishments, but also by truly helping to change lives. Through Moja Tu, that’s definitely something I’ve been able to do. It’s my labor of love.
Tell us about your favorite cause and the special meaning it has to you?
Personally for me, the cause that is top of mind is ending the cycle of poverty. The fact that we are in 2020, and there is are still such extreme levels of poverty in the world is unacceptable. When someone can’t even feed their family or doesn’t have the bare necessities to survive, that is truly heartbreaking. One of the things I realized is, what you can do to help solve that problem is facilitate empowerment. That’s why I do what I do with education. It’s how I help empower people, give them the tools they need, the skills they need, so that they can end the cycle of poverty for themselves. They can actually get a job, then they can help their families. They can help their community. And ultimately it is a multiplying effect off the number of people that you can impact. Whether it’s my personal charity, or the many great organizations that we work with at Charity Dynamics, we can all say that we’re making a difference in the world.