Brenda Robertson Dennis
VP of Resource Development
River Region United Way
Montgomery, AL, USA
How long have you been working for your organization?
What’s a typical day in your role like?
I oversee a department of 3, including myself. We are all about building better relationships with our donors and our corporate partners. I do a lot of planning and strategizing with staff and volunteers on a variety of projects throughout the year.
What motivates you to come to work every day?
I know that I’m just a blip on River Regions United Way’s 95-year timeline but I love having a small part in making my community better. I started my adult life believing with all my heart that it was possible, then doubted it for a while as I grew older. Being at United Way reminds me that no effort is too small… although, as a fundraiser that’s not strictly true (ha!)
Above: Brenda at a video shoot where River Region United Way's CEO, Jimmy Hill was filming Loaned Executive, Rose Battle of Cadence Bank as she explained her personal “Why” for volunteering with the United Way.
What’s your favourite aspect of your job?
Working with our volunteers. They are not just dedicated to our mission but a whole lot of fun to be around.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
A saturated nonprofit market. There are a lot of well-intended people trying to tackle the same issues, going after the same donors, and not always working together to make it happen. United Way has a strong mechanism in place to tackle the most pressing issues in our community. It’s hard (and sometimes awkward) when the people we’re trying to help to accomplish their good work inadvertently position themselves as our competition.
Above: Brenda with a student from Davis Elementary School in Montgomery, Alabama displaying her College & Career dream of becoming a doctor during River Region United Way's Days of Action summer reading program.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Can you tell us why?
You’d think I’d have developed a good answer for that by now. There are so many people who impress and inspire me that it’s really hard to pick just one. However, if I ever found that I absolutely needed someone to straighten me out, I’d have to go with the fictional character, Pippi Longstocking. I wanted to be her when I was a kid because I was convinced she had it all figured out.
What’s your personal mantra?
“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.” – Carlos Castaneda
Above: At Recognition & Results 2018, CEO Jimmy Hill, Brenda, and the 2018 Campaign Chair, Ed Crowell signing the campaign check to the People of the River Region.
Do you have hobbies outside of work? What are they?
I am a freelance writer on the other side of my life. I’ve been doing that professionally for about 15 years. I don’t have as much time for it now but it’s still my favorite thing to do.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
If it rains on a weekend, I figure it’s the Universe telling me that it’s perfectly fine to lay in bed and read a book, no matter whatever else I have to get done. It’s not up to me!
Caring in Common is a spotlight series that showcases different nonprofit professionals on the last Friday of each month. The goal is to highlight Andar Software customers from all walks of life, levels of experience, and areas of expertise. Their answers will inspire you, give you insight about the nonprofit industry, and motivate you on both a professional and personal level.