On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent gets the inside scoop from Derek Dictson, Vice President, Advancement and President, New Mexico State University Foundation.
Tune in to the full episode here, or catch a few highlights below.
A few highlights from the episode…
Derek and his wife are the king and queen of side hustles. Here are a few for the books: tree-removal, DJ-ing dances, grant writing, mowing lawns, real-estate development. They built these side hustles into a family business that thrived in Las Cruces for over 16 years.
Derek approaches his non-profit roles with a business mindset. One of his mottos is “no money, no mission.” Because if you can’t pay the bills, you certainly can’t scale and grow. He argues that if you make sure the financials, accounting, and balance sheets of a non-profit are taken care of, the fundraising and relationship-building is the “gravy on top.”
Derek tells the story about a major gift that literally chased him down. A career services advisor decided that after so many years of matching students with scholarships, she wanted to fund a scholarship of her own – and flagged him down in the hallway to ask if he could to make it happen.
Derek reflects on the “best fundraising team he’s ever worked with” – the fundraisers at the School of Engineering at Auburn. They raised over $100M from a small group of donors to elevate the School’s ranking. They held Zoom gatherings with the dean (that they called “Dean in a Box”) before remote events were cool. They also reported to the “best fundraising leader,” Jane DiFolco Parker.
Derek moved his family from Alabama to New Mexico in March of 2020. He onboarded in his VP position entirely remotely. He’s had virtual meetings with the student beneficiary of his endowed scholarship at Auburn. So, he has lots of useful reflections on remote life.
Derek has two decades of professional experience in the public and private sector, including 19 years of nonprofit fundraising and management experience. He has a master’s of public service and administration degree from Texas A&M and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business and economics from New Mexico State University. Derek currently serves as the VP of University Advancement and Foundation President at NMSU.