Q&A: Cindy Bailie, Development Manager with The Land


The Land recently talked with Cindy Bailie, a nonprofit professional with more than 30 years of experience in Northeast Ohio, about her background, what she hopes to contribute to The Land, and what she sees as next for the organization.

Tell us about yourself and how you came to be interested in The Land.

I have spent my career in nonprofit organizations, from public libraries to foundations. The one common denominator in all of the positions I have held is the importance of accurate information, transforming information into knowledge that people can use to make decisions in their personal and professional lives. As an observer, I watched the traditional newspaper and media business models disintegrate as the rise of nonprofit media organizations began taking shape. I believe that information wants to be free, many voices want to be heard, and The Land brings those things to life.

You have a wealth of knowledge and experience about fundraising, nonprofits, and philanthropy, among other things. Nonprofit hyperlocal news is still a relatively new, innovative space, especially in Cleveland. How do you hope to be able to help The Land to grow?

I hope to engage donors in the mission of The Land and mobilize all resources at The Land’s disposal to build a sustainable base of support using best practices from the field of nonprofit management and professional development.

You’ve told us that you see yourself as an “entrepreneur at heart.” What do you mean by that, and how does it apply to The Land?

I am a problem-solver at heart. But before you can solve a problem, you have to be able to see one. Identifying problems and creating solutions to solve them gives me energy, and seizing opportunities for revenue generation is exciting to me. I guess I consider myself an intra-preneur when I bring this mindset to organizations. 

The Land is launching a membership campaign this week, and you’re a crucial part of making that campaign go. Why is membership important? How will it help The Land to fulfill its mission of informing the community, fostering accountability, and inspiring people to take action?

Membership is all about donors! It provides opportunities to engage with them in various ways as supporters and friends of the organization, emphasizing friendship.

Can you tell your cat to stop hogging the screen on Zoom calls? JK, JK.

Spike is in charge around here! He’s 18 years old and going strong, although more demanding of my attention at inconvenient times than when he was a young backyard ranger.

What do you think are the challenges ahead for The Land from your perspective as a longstanding nonprofit professional? What are the opportunities?

I think the primary challenge for The Land is to keep the momentum going, coming off a stellar first year. I belong to a group convened by the Morino Institute, Leap Ambassadors, and I prescribe to the seven pillars of high performance: 

  • board engagement, 

  • people-focused management, 

  • financial health, 

  • well-designed and -implemented activities, 

  • healthy organizational culture, 

  • focus on measurement and results, 

  • gathering and acting on stakeholder feedback 

Staying focused on these and being intentional as The Land grows organizationally is essential. As a new organization, there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm for trying new things. Finding the few things that resonate with stakeholders and drive revenue in sustainable and meaningful ways is the opportunity.

What do you like to do in your spare time, besides pour over articles in The Land, of course?

When I take a break from reading The Land, I like to walk in the many public parks Cleveland is blessed with, tinker in my garden, upcycle old furniture, and try out new recipes in the kitchen. 

What do you love most about Cleveland? How do you wish we were different? 

I love summers in Cleveland. September is simply spectacular. If I could change anything, I’d work on a solution for the final seemingly endless days of winter.

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