We are so excited to be featuring our founder, Dr. Clark Dickerson, in this weeks’ edition of “Meet Our Team Monday!” Here are the 10 questions we asked during our interview…
- What did you do before joining Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
I founded DBA in 1985, but before that I was Vice President of a mission organization that ministered in the Soviet Union and the communist countries of Eastern Europe.
- Where did you go to college?
My undergraduate degree is a BA from Wabash College – an all men’s college in Indiana – my major was biology. My Master’s degree is from Indiana State University in education and biology. I always tell my clients you can’t be much of a fund raiser without at least a Master’s degree in biology. My doctorate is from Indiana University in Higher Education Administration.
- What sparked the idea for Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
I founded the firm after many colleagues in fund raising kept asking me to assist them in their work. I saw a real need – especially among small and mid-size Christian organizations. I still remember several friends and family members telling me I would never be able to make a living as a consultant.
- What made you decide to start Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
My final decision to begin DBA came when the mission organization for which I was Vice President kept pressing me to be the next president. I did not want to do that primarily due to the time that I would have had to spend in Europe every year. So, with the idea of consulting in mind, I gulped big time and resigned my position. Thirty-one years later I think I made a good decision.
- What do you look forward to most when starting to work with a new client?
In most situations, I enter a situation with some really good people who want to do something that will bless the lives of others and bring them closer to Christ. But, they have never been involved in major gift or capital campaign fund raising. Having spent 10 years as a high school teacher and college professor, I approach my role as a teacher of Biblical stewardship. Just like when I taught biology, I get great joy when I see in my client’s eyes that they “get it” and I know they can be successful with future fund raising endeavors.
- What is one goal you hope to achieve with a client when starting a new project?
While it may sound self-defeating, I truly hope that I can work my way “out of a job”. When I get on the airplane for the last time with a client, I want them to be well trained with a desire to keep learning about stewardship and development and be able to “tackle” future projects on their own.
- What is your favorite part about being a part of Dickerson, Bakker & Associates?
While I enjoy my work/ministry and all the associations with clients and DBA colleagues, my favorite thing about being a DBA consultant is being able to dialogue and work to solve client problems with my daughter Mindy, who is in charge of sales and marketing for DBA.
- What’s the best/craziest thing that has happened to you out in the field?
The best thing is when it is time for a contract to end and I get a sincere hand shake and/or hug from a client as they thank me for the role I have played in advancing their ministry – it’s by far the best. After 31 years, it is hard to cite “the craziest thing”, but here are some:
a. A donor I solicited who got mad at me for asking for a gift, drove 45 minutes in a rain storm to my hotel room to apologize with a giant bear hug (while I am in my pajamas) to say he and his wife would give the $50,000.
b. In 1986, the president of a Bible college with whom I was interviewing as their potential consultant asked me how many successful Bible college campaigns I had led. I responded, “When we finish yours – one”. He may have thought I was either the cockiest or most confident person in the world, but he gave me the contract — and the campaign was very successful in that it reached the campaign goal that allowed the college to stay in existence. It continues its education ministry today.
c. Recently, after entering Canada several times to work with a client, the custom officer decided I needed a work permit (normally if the company has an agreement with an organization and you are assigned by the company, you do not need an individual work permit). So, after over eight hours and coming close to getting kicked out of Canada, I got the work permit. I hustled to a dinner gathering where I was speaking. But, that night in my hotel room, I looked at the permit to find they had put the wrong date on the permit and so I was technically in Canada illegally. The next day after spending another two hours, I got a valid permit. When I was in line during the first eight hours, the person in front of me was the actor who played President Palmer on 24 and does the All State commercials on TV. Nice guy.
- What is one thing about you that might surprise people?
In addition to traveling through communist Eastern Europe as a missionary, I was a college basketball and baseball coach for a small college in Indiana.
About the Series: Over the next few months, we will do a weekly feature of one of our team members giving you ‘insider access’ to our group of unique & talented folks that are in the field working with DBA clients day in & day out. We are proud to have built a team of industry experts from across the nation that not only know the in’s & out’s of the business but have a demonstrated track record of achieving real success.