Conversations in Philanthropy: Authenticity, Relationships, and Change with April Walker

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“I’m someone most folks would describe as strong, independent, and a go-getter. That also means I struggle, at least for me, to ask for help.”

– April Walker

Episode #167


In this episode of What the Fundraising Podcast…

Are you ready for a conversation that inspires reflection, change, and a deeper understanding of the human side of fundraising? Today’s episode is about the intricate dynamics and challenges within fundraising, Philanthropy, and nonprofit leadership. Join us as we dissect the nuances of the sector, exploring topics such as building authentic relationships, navigating organizational culture, and balancing authenticity and self-preservation with April Walker.

April, a seasoned philanthropist with a rich fundraising, consulting, and grantmaking background, has dedicated her career to organizations like the American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, CCS Fundraising, VNA Foundation, and Iris Krieg & Associates. Hailing from Baltimore and holding a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, she is deeply committed to advancing Philanthropy grounded in racial equity and social justice. As the founder of Philanthropy for the People, April’s expertise shines, reflecting her passion for making a positive impact. She currently serves on the boards of Arts Impact and the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation, showcasing her unwavering dedication to community development.

In today’s conversation, April delves into the disconnect between intentions and actions within the philanthropic space, sharing her journey as the founder and CEO of Philanthropy for the People. She reflects on the evolution of her business, sparked by her experiences in grantmaking and fundraising, shedding light on the challenges faced by fundraisers and nonprofits alike. Also, she explores the delicate dance between vulnerability and safety for fundraisers. April discusses the importance of creating safe spaces for fundraisers to share their experiences, addressing issues such as harassment on the job and the emotional toll of navigating performative environments. Also, we discuss the strategies fundraisers can employ to build genuine relationships and find joy in their work. Moreover, April emphasizes the significance of clarity, honesty, and energy management in fostering meaningful connections with donors and maintaining one’s well-being in the fundraising journey.



April Walker


  • Support for this show is brought to you by Instil. Our friends at Instil really understand what it means to build and manage relationships in a holistic and human-first way. The platform’s advanced UX design and real-time analytics smooth donor management to make it easy for you to connect every supporter to the impact of your work. To learn more head on over to www.instil.io/mallory.

  • If you haven’t already, please visit our new What the Fundraising community forum. Check it out and join the conversation at this link.
  • If you’re looking to raise more from the right funders, then you’ll want to check out my Power Partners Formula, a step-by-step approach to identifying the optimal partners for your organization. This free masterclass offers a great starting point

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Get to know April Walker:

April Walker (she/her) is a nonprofit and foundation consultant, equity and social justice champion, speaker, and writer. April’s career in philanthropy spans a decade+ of grantmaking, fundraising, and consulting roles. In 2021, April founded Philanthropy for the People, an equity-centered consulting firm that equips donors, foundations, and nonprofits to embrace philanthropy that centers racial equity and social justice. Philanthropy for the People has partnered with a growing list of nonprofit and foundation clients throughout the country including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Immigrant Defense Project, Boys and Girls Club of America, the Columbus Foundation, and the Western Center on Law & Poverty. April earned a Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, a BA in Sociology from the George Washington University, and a certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. 


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I teach nonprofit fundraisers to bring in more gifts from the RIGHT donors… so they can stop hounding people for money. Fundraising doesn’t have to be uncomfortable.


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