Inside IPM: Meet Alan Knobloch
“Inside IPM” is an ongoing series featuring the talented players who comprise the IPM Advancement team! Here you’ll learn all about the people who work behind the scenes at IPM to help nonprofits raise more money to make the world a better place. Today, we’re talking to…
Alan Knobloch, Consultant
How long have you been working in the nonprofit sector?
I’ve been working in the nonprofit field for about 34 years. Most of it was as a development professional with a nonprofit agency but I have worked as a consultant for over 5 years.
Where are you originally from and what do you love most about it?
I was born in Portland, Oregon but I consider London, Ontario to be my hometown since I grew up there. It was a great place to spend my formative years. Great culture, four seasons, and a diverse population. At the time, what I loved most was just having fun with friends and learning about life!
Why did you choose to work with IPM?
I have a good friend and colleague who got me involved with IPM. We have worked together in other capacities before so this seemed like a great chance to build on that.
What were the most meaningful lessons you learned early on in your nonprofit career that helped prepare you for the work you do today?
I started with the American Cancer Society right out college. My first boss was a master tactician, and his boss was a great idea man. Together they created and implemented great programs, and I was swept along with them. It taught me to always aim high but have a good plan to get there.
When you were in college, did you know you wanted to work in the nonprofit sector?
I wanted to become a hospital administrator after college. I kept getting promoted with my first agency so I never made it back to get my master’s. I did, however, eventually spend about a third of my career raising money for hospitals!
Do you have a specific area of expertise, and what are some changes or opportunities in that area that you see on the horizon for nonprofits?
I have been a Principal Gift Officer for much of my career. With recent tax law changes and the pandemic affecting smaller annual type donors, fewer people are giving money even as total donations are increasing. That means there’s an opportunity to help nonprofits do a better job managing their major and planned gift donors since they are almost irreplaceable at this point.
What do you love most about your work?
The thing I love most is making a difference in people’s lives and their communities. But I also love working with people — teammates and clients alike.
You play squash as a hobby. When did you start, and are there any parallels between squash and nonprofit fundraising?
I first started playing squash in Canada. It carried over to when I moved to Arizona to go to Arizona State University. It’s a great activity as far as exercise, friendship, and camaraderie. I have travelled to tournaments all over the country and have many great relationships as a result. One thing it’s taught me that I bring to my work is to never give up on the ball. You’d be surprised at what you can do if you launch toward it.
How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance to ensure you can give your best in both areas?
Fitness is really important to me. I also love to travel and experience other cultures. Traveling helps me maintain perspective and gratitude for what I have.
If you could give a nonprofit one and only one piece of advice that would best prepare them to be financially stable for the next decade, what would it be?
Focus on your top-end donors. They move the ball further than most of the others combined.