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Linda Smith  

Author & Advocate for Disabilities

An advocate for people with disabilities and a recognized influencer of nonprofit causes, Linda Smith built one of the largest charitable organizations in the nation, and in doing so raised a half a billion dollars and inspired the giving of hundreds of millions more across the globe. Today, she shares her story of perseverance inspired by the birth of her profoundly disabled son.

As an author, speaker and fundraising consultant, Smith enjoys helping development professionals and boards of directors think big, raise expectations and increase fundraising efforts and results for their nonprofit organization's mission. This spirit has led to the launch of Smith’s consulting business where she specializes in fundraising consulting for capital campaigns and major gifts, non-profit board development, signature event development and overall fundraising leadership and management.

With nearly 40 years of development experience, Smith is recognized as a fundraising icon whose knowledge and efforts have impacted organizations throughout the world. Inspired by her eldest son Christopher and her life experiences, Smith was led to author her memoir “Unwanted,” which launched in March, 2019.


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Speech Topics

Inspirational & Leadership

My Journey to Here

  • How Linda Smith’s life experiences and the birth of her son inspired her to become a disability activist and a fundraiser for charities

Overcoming Adversity: From Dancer to Disability Activist

  • Raising a child who she was told to throw away, Linda Smith speaks about how as a mother she fought discrimination to gain acceptance and citizenship for her child

My First Yes and No and The Lessons In Between

  • How the twists and turns of rejection and reward provide lessons in human behavior and philanthropic comportment


  • How to Get Top Investors
  • Learn how to gain high-level investors for start-ups and new business ventures
  • Fundraising for Beginners
  • Lessons on becoming more confident and turning fears of rejection into winning solutions
  • So, You Want to Be A Fundraiser
  • What becoming a fundraiser is all about: inspiring passion, the science, the art, the ask
  • Is Fundraising A Science or An Art?
  • Learn how to develop strong relationships with donors; honor them, thank them and love them in order to succeed
  • Innovations in Corporate Philanthropy
  • Learn how to think outside the box, identify new donors and sponsors and provide unconventional methods of approaching potential sponsors
  • How to Bring in More Money/How to Raise a Ton of Money
  • Think differently and get personal with donors, understand that asking is not begging, be ready to turn a no into a yes by thinking big, being the best steward and embracing the possibilities.
  • Signature Event Development
  • Special Event Planning
  • Rocking Events
  • Why People Give
  • Learn how to motivate donors in making decisions to contribute large amounts to your charity
  • Debunking Fundraising Myths
  • Learn real solutions in fundraising versus common misconceptions

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