Q&A with Benezet Advisors Founder & Principal, Alison L. Finstad
Meet the people on the Benezet Advisors team! Let’s start with our founder, Alison Finstad.
What made you decide to start Benezet Advisors?
The story starts in high school, when I was deeply affected by a local family whose home burned down. I suggested that the senior class do a fundraiser for this family, and we ended up presenting them with a check for $1,000. Not a huge amount, but the power of fundraising to impact change left an impression on me. In college, I interned in the development department at George Eastman Museum, then worked for organizations like University of Rochester, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes, and Safe Journey. I started Benezet Advisors because I have an entrepreneurial spirit that never quits, and I want to empower as many organizations as possible to get the help they need.
Do you have a favorite nonprofit? (We won’t tell).
My favorite nonprofits tend to be within the human services field – nonprofits that ensure people have the most fundamental rights and services available to them. Ensuring people are fed, clothed, warm, and safe moves me the most.
Do you have any goals, personal or professional, for this year?
My professional goals are to serve our clients with the utmost integrity, exceptional value, and best-in-class counsel; to expand statewide (we are already doing so); and to increase our earnings 100% year over year. Personally, I aim to stay joyful through gratitude and healthy disciplines, and every day I’m super grateful for the work I get to do. And one last thing … my family and I are working on the process of adopting a baby! I’m not sure if that will happen this year or next.
What is a fun fact most people don’t know about you?
I lived on the Galapagos Islands. My father is a Cuban immigrant, and so I’ve always been interested in immersing myself in a Latin American culture. In 2005 I had the opportunity to teach English in Ecuador, and I taught students from 5 years old through adults on San Cristobal Island, in the Galapagos archipelago.
What are your hobbies?
My absolute favorite thing to do is run. I wish I could do it more often. I have an artistic side too - I paint with acrylics and sew. And I really like naps.
Favorite food? It’s a three-way tie between sushi, palak paneer, and dark chocolate
What advice do you have for nonprofits who want to strengthen their financial sustainability?
Don’t start by looking at finances, start by taking a good look at your board. As the foundation for every nonprofit, you need to have a strong board with the right people who have the right skill sets in the right seats. The board dynamics must be healthy for the organization to thrive. New board members should be cultivated and training at all times, not just when a board member needs to be replaced. Establishing ongoing board cultivation, onboarding, retention, and evaluation processes is one of the best things your organization can do to strengthen its financial standing. Fundraising then becomes the easy part.
Does your nonprofit need fundraising help?
Contact us today to discuss how Benezet Advisors can help you advance your mission, propelling your nonprofit to financial success and sustainability.