Natalie Dossett: Pandemic Has Changed Philanthropy, ‘For Better or Worse’

Whether it’s raising funds for Episcopal School of Dallas, Planned Parenthood, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Visiting Nurse Association, or the Ronald McDonald House, Bluffview resident Natalie Dossett said the one constant is that Dallas is a city that loves to give.

“The Dallas community is amazingly generous, and I’ve been fortunate to work with organizations that are so good at what they do that their mission and their need is obvious and easily explained,” she said. “I have found that people are so willing to be supportive. I’ve met the most amazing people and the most generous people and supportive people who do so much for Dallas and the surrounding area, and I’ve enjoyed it.”

Dossett most recently served as chair for the Ronald McDonald House Dallas capital campaign, raising more than $12 million to expand the house. 

But with the pandemic, she said fundraising is different – but not necessarily a bad different.

“The word pivot has probably been overused, but you just have to find a new way of doing it,” Dossett said. “And it’s hard to let go of the traditional events because we’re all used to doing them, and there’s sort of a template for it. This takes more imagination and some innovating, but luckily the organizations I’m fortunate enough to be involved with have staff that have just risen to the occasion and gone above and beyond.”

“I don’t think things are going to go back to ‘normal,’” she added. “I think this is going to change the way people do things forever, for better or worse.”

She will be honored as Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Greater Dallas Chapter of Association of Fundraising Professionals on Nov. 13 at a virtual celebration that coincides with National Philanthropy Day. The event, which will be emceed by longtime “The Stars of Texas” luncheon host Scott Murray.

“Natalie Dossett has spent thousands of hours leading committees and soliciting donations for very successful fundraising campaigns at the Ronald McDonald House,” said Jill Cumnock, CEO, RMHD. “She is very much like the Pied Piper as people gravitate to her and want to follow her lead. She’s innovative, committed, engaged, and such an incredible blessing to any organization lucky enough to have her support.”

Honorees at the event include Mary and Carl Ice (Outstanding Philanthropists), David M. Crowley Foundation (Outstanding Foundation), Toyota of North America (Outstanding Corporation), and Scottish Rite Hospital vice president of development Stephanie Brigger (Outstanding Fundraising Executive).

Tanya Downing and Benjamin Vann co-chair the Stars of Texas virtual luncheon.

“As many nonprofits are struggling during the pandemic, community volunteers and supporters are helping them to survive,” said Vann. “National Philanthropy Day is a day to remember and recognize the impact philanthropy – charitable giving, volunteering, and engagement – has made in our world.”

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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