Kyle LeBlanc is a seasoned fundraising professional specializing in the strategy, design, and execution of high-impact and fully integrated corporate partnerships for diverse industries including: retail, consumer packaged goods, restaurants, foodservice, media, and consulting. She’s currently bringing her passion for corporate social responsibility to the National Parks Conservation Association as Director of Corporate Partnerships and Cause Marketing. By night, Kyle is Founder and Chief Moxie Officer at Resumoxie. Connect with Kyle on LinkedIn.
Center for Social Impact Communication: Describe your career path and your current position.
Kyle LeBlanc: I always wanted to be in nonprofit, and my first job out of college was in communications at the Robert R. McCormick Foundation in Chicago. I moved to DC a few years later for a fundraising role at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where I worked in donor relations, major gifts, and planned giving. The family foundation component there led me to my next position at No Kid Hungry in corporate foundations, which is where I fell in love with corporate partnerships and cause marketing – eventually focusing 100% of my time in that capacity. After a few years, the opportunity arose to assume a more senior role at the National Parks Conservation Association as the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Cause Marketing. I’m about 90 days in, happily learning about a terrific cause and helping a talented staff launch a best-in-class program.
CSIC: What is your best piece of career advice?
KL: Get on LinkedIn and use it! Whether you’re looking for connections to corporate funders or searching for a new job, it’s your best friend. LinkedIn is the industry standard for making and growing business connections, and other fundraisers or job applicants are using it strategically. (I have a side business called Resumoxie that’s dedicated to resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles – the LinkedIn package is especially popular because people realize the value of a strong LinkedIn profile and presence.)
CSIC: What career accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
KL: I’m especially proud of a corporate collaboration I led in a past role, which produced research that revolutionized the way the organization spoke about a key program priority. It made a huge media splash upon release – a victory for the organization and the corporate partner… even the First Lady cited it! The partnership’s behind-the-scenes comradery was also fantastic. Lines blurred and (in the best way) we forgot who was working for who and really melded together as a team.
This partnership is my personal gold standard because it proves that corporate support can and should culminate in a true win-win.
CSIC: What can someone do early in his/her social impact career to secure a position similar to yours?
KL: Corporate partnerships and cause marketing constitute a growing field in nonprofit, so positions are definitely out there. But if you’re early in your career and not in one of those jobs yet, be aware of how your current expertise pertains to the field so you can best position your qualifications when the time is right. For example, many fundraising positions involve special events, which are often anchored in corporate sponsorships with benefits delivery. Similarly, a major gifts fundraiser likely deals with donors who are business leaders and speaks their high-level, impact-driven language. Corporate foundations work is especially relevant because the most integrated partnerships have a mission component. Business and/or agency communications and marketing backgrounds are also great, simply because that’s who you’ll be working with when you’re on a corporate partnerships and cause marketing team!
CSIC: What skills are necessary to work in corporate partnerships and/or cause marketing?
KL: People skills are an obvious must-have. More importantly, however, you need to understand corporate industry landscapes, target markets, consumer bases, and business objectives. Keep in mind that all those things are constantly evolving, as are the ways an organization’s assets can be authentically leveraged to create a win-win alliance.
Creativity is also a huge help, as is keeping pace with the changing legal practices that govern the way cause marketing promotions are communicated and reported.
CSIC: What is your go to source to learn about cause communication trends?
KL: Lots of places – various LinkedIn influencers who share my love of CSR, the Cause Marketing Forum, marketing and advertising industry blogs, and my personal network.
CSIC: Is your organization hiring?
KL: Yes! Check out the National Parks Conservation Association’s open positions!