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Matt Beem
President, Kinetic Companies, Inc.

Steady work, steady progress

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<SATURDAY, May 03, 2008Saturday, February 28, 2009

If you’re one of the 12 people who read this column regularly, you know I began an exercise and eating regimen last month.

If you’re an insider among the 12 (my wife, parents or in-laws), you know my exercise of choice is running.

What only I have known – but what all 12 of you will learn now – is that I believe running and fundraising are strikingly similar.

Let me break it down for you:

I run, ergo:

  • I create personal benchmarks
  • I learn to listen to my body
  • I strengthen my resolve by sharing my successes with others
  • I am a positive role model for family and friends
I raise money, ergo:

  • I set fundraising goals
  • I learn from every solicitation
  • I gain confidence when donors respond positively to my requests
  • My greatest satisfaction is helping others 
Just across the state line in Olathe is an organization called TLC for Children and Families. TLC’s mission is to provide opportunities that encourage positive growth and change for children, youth and families while ensuring a safe environment. TLC advances its mission by providing shelter and social services to children and youth in Missouri and Kansas who are facing abuse, neglect and family disruption.

Bob Drummond, Ph.D., is TLC’s president and CEO. When he’s wearing his fundraising sneakers, Bob reminds me of Roger Bannister, a 25-year-old British medical student who ran the first mile in under four minutes in 1954 in Oxford, England.

Like Bannister, who long pursued his prize, Drummond is a goal-driven fundraiser. Several years ago, he celebrated the successful completion of Bringing Our Children Home, a $10.7 million campaign to expand TLC’s campus that secured significant support from the Hall Family, Dunn Family and H&R Block foundations and challenge grants from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation in Tulsa and the Kresge Foundation in Troy, Mich. You can read more about the campaign at

Before joining TLC, Drummond worked as a Mid-America Nazarene University educator. His continual willingness to ask questions and surround himself with people who can teach and guide him has enabled TLC to attain significant success through his selfless leadership. Along the way, Drummond – a lifelong learner – sharpened his fundraising acumen.

In a conversation earlier this week, Drummond shared some of TLC’s current successes and goals, describing his future fundraising plans and a recent gift. Early in our relationship, he would have touched based several times before soliciting the gift he described. Now, Drummond has confidence in his judgment.

Bannister was the first runner to break the four-minute mile, but many – including Australian John Landy and Kansan Wes Santee – followed. Those who know Drummond are aware of the success he has shepherded at TLC, but people who meet him for the first time greet a positive person who conveys a sense of integrity that commands respect. Drummond’s ability to inspire excellence and his genuine interest in others – including every life his agency touches – have led TLC to its recent success. 

If you volunteer or work for a nonprofit organization, remember the runner’s form: Set goals, learn from your experiences, expand your self confidence and gain satisfaction from helping others.

Like Bannister and Drummond, your success will grow. And like them, your commitment will encourage others toward greatness.


Matt Beem is president of Kinetic Companies, an international fundraising consulting firm. He lives in Independence.



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