Dinah Swain

Project Director

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

From a very young age, I understood that service was a way of life.  Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, to missionary parents, I saw first-hand what a group of committed citizens can do to change the world.  My parents were sent to Japan by the United Methodist church but once there joined hands with people of many faiths to promote peace and justice, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and bring hope to those who had very little.

My parents gave me full rein to follow whatever dreams I might have but I always knew I wanted to create positive change for the world.  After five years on Wall Street and ten years as a journalist I turned to nonprofits to fulfill that calling. I found my sweet spot in fundraising, where I could combine my business and communications experience to work for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. The icing:  I get to work with wonderful volunteers, committed staff, dedicated board members, and generous donors to strengthen the fabric of our communities.

Fundraising is a funny thing; to be successful, one must be equally as comfortable crunching numbers and analyzing data as one is approaching donors, funders, and stakeholders to build genuine and authentic relationships. I feel lucky to say I am good at and deeply enjoy both sides of this work.

As a veteran nonprofit leader, fundraiser, and former journalist, Dinah brings a unique set of competencies and passion to the Convergent Nonprofit Solutions client services team. Over the course of 15 years, Dinah has helped raise $20 million for national nonprofits such as the American Cancer Society and Teach for America, as well as local organizations including the United Way, the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, and a Minnesota-based affordable housing organization.

Dinah has served in many roles, from executive director of a small nonprofit to development, communications, and external relations director. She has led and grown three development departments with the implementation of smart, comprehensive, multi-year strategies, all while building and maintaining systems to ensure efficiency, integrity, and good donor stewardship. At her core, she is a nimble, creative, and energetic leader, well versed in best practices of nonprofit management and even more interested in deploying “next” practices.

Prior to her nonprofit work, Dinah was a TV anchor, reporter, and producer. This experience has paid off in fundraising, as she has exceptional written and oral communication skills, polished but authentic interpersonal skills, and the ability to speak passionately with both individuals and large groups. She has over a decade of experience covering complex issues of policy as a journalist and as a fundraiser can present these ideas to donors in a way that is comprehensible, clear, and inspiring.

Summary of Experience

  • Most recently led Major Gift, Grants, Events, and Volunteer teams at $23M affordable housing nonprofit.
  • Helped drive success through Annual Giving, Corporate Sponsorships, Grants, Events, and Major Donors in prior roles in nonprofit executive leadership and development.
  • Spent five years with Morgan Stanley in New York and Tokyo.
  • Board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy Studies and Political Science from Duke University; Masters in Journalism from New York University.
  • Completing Masters of Jurisprudence in Environmental Law from Tulane University Law School.