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Q & A with Larry and Sheila McHale

From Staff Reports | Feb 11, 2013
Sheila and Larry McHale
Sheila and Larry McHale Photo courtesy of OHIO's Division of Advancement

Sheila (AB ’68) and Larry McHale (HON ’00) have worked tirelessly to support the Ohio University community in many capacities over the last three decades. Sheila currently serves on the Campaign Steering Committee, is an emerita trustee of the Ohio University Foundation Board, is a founding member of Women in Philanthropy of Ohio University, and serves on OU-HCOM’s Advisory Board. Larry also serves on the Campaign Steering Committee, as well as on the Foundation Board and as co-chair of the Development Committee. He is also a founding member of the College of Business’s Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre.

Q: What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about your work for The Promise Lives Campaign?

Sheila: I think setting the ground work today for building a culture of giving at Ohio University tomorrow is a challenge. But doing this will lay the path for future gifts to OHIO in perpetuity. The most rewarding part about our volunteer work is witnessing the growth and participation I’ve seen in volunteer groups like Women in Philanthropy of Ohio University.
Larry: The most challenging is letting the university community know that everything we do—whether it’s teaching future alumni, meeting with OHIO alumni and friends, or working with alumni on projects—is either fundraising or friend raising. How we engage today’s or tomorrow’s alumni builds on the next steps toward reaching our fundraising goals, and it starts with engaging people. The most rewarding? Witnessing first-time gifts from young College of Business School grads, all of whom were volunteers at The Schey Sales Centre. It’s the smallest donation I’ve been involved with, but is, by far, the most rewarding.

Q: What advice do you have for your fellow Campaign volunteers on strategies for talking to potential donors?

Sheila: Listen, listen, listen, listen! Forget about the gift, concentrate on the person. Use your passion to connect them with OHIO and to get them engaged.
Larry: As Sheila said, listen to the donor, get to know them, and find out what they care about. Nobody will give until they’ve discovered a passion. If you get them excited about what they are passionate about at OHIO, you only have to ask how they want to pay for their donation, not if they will make one.