SGI53: Consistent Growth and Changing Careers with Diane Nelson

Changing careers can be difficult for anyone. When you’re a corporate, number-focused person transitioning to the nonprofit world it can probably go either way. For Diane Nelson and for VIPS, where she serves as executive director, it’s been a perfect match. In this episode Diane shares a bit about the transition, as well as ways they increased their budget from $1.1 to about 2.6 million.

The key points covered in this podcast discussion are:

  • Leading a Nonprofit Requires Creativity, Flexibility and Strategic Thinking
  • Competitive Bids Can Save Thousands of Dollars
  • Don’t Spend Money Before You Know Where It’s Coming From
  • Analyze Where Funding is Coming From – and Where It Should be Coming From
  • Ask – and You Might Just Receive
  • Tell Stories About Individuals to Better Communicate Impact of Programs
  • Sometimes, Earned Income Opportunities Also Increase the Positive Impact of Your Programs
  • Seek Out Collaborations to Extend Impact (and Potentially Raise Funds)
  • Spending Time Agreeing on Expectations is Essential to Any Partnership
  • Don’t create something, cure something.


Episodes are also available via Stitcher, iTunes, GooglePlay, and iHeartRadio.

About the Guest:

Diane M. Nelson is a lifelong ‘Louisvillian’ with a long history in business and community service.  Diane holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship. After a 30-year career in coal mining, barging, natural gas and logistics, Diane retired in late 2008 from her position as Vice President of the Buddeke Company to pursue what she calls “a Midlife Purpose.” As Executive Director of Visually Impaired Preschool Services (aka VIPS), Diane now leads a non-profit agency teaching children with blindness across the Commonwealth of Kentucky and State of Indiana. VIPS is based in Louisville, Kentucky.

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