Mission and Method
My mission is to help communities, nonprofit organizations, donors and volunteers attain their fundraising, communications and public relations goals in the most efficient, thoughtful, and high quality manner possible.
I am a one-person company and with rare exception, I do most all fundraising campaign design and implementation myself. Early in my career in Dallas in the 1990s, I worked for six months with a large, statewide consulting firm, but it was not for me. I value my own experience and insights, and I respect my hard-working nonprofit colleagues in the trenches. I understand what they are up against when it comes to running an office while simultaneously attaining substantial goals. I decided to work as an independent.
The most successful and ethical “development” program involves building relationships that last for the long term. I prefer to involve myself with organizations that share that mindset. It takes time – often six months to a year or more – to identify, properly research, cultivate, approach, solicit and secure donations, particularly substantial gifts. Patience and diligence are just what nonprofit organizations need to consider when aiming for major gift giving.
I have statewide experience and beyond, having lived and worked in Greater Houston, Greater Austin (two different times, and it is my current home), San Antonio (two separate times), Dallas and Corpus Christi, Texas. I have traveled across Texas from north to south, and east to west visiting with donors, helping nonprofits large and small, and giving public presentations. Today, I also advise nonprofits across the world via email conversation and video conferencing. I am highly active online, and I have an international following. To watch a video snapshot of my career, follow this link to my YouTube channel.
How I Do It
Some are surprised I do most all work by hand. I have learned to “do more with less” in part by:
- Thinking smart;
- Using new technologies (when and where appropriate);
- Staffing donors, volunteers and executives thoughtfully and fully to enable significant donations to be secured from their colleagues (as they are most comfortable); and by
- Making use of existing resources wisely.
While many believe major gift campaigns require an army of staff, I do not. Large financial goals do not also mean large numbers of people on staff or in terms of numbers of donors. Most successful campaigns on which I have worked attain their goals through thoughtful, highly-tailored cultivation and solicitation of a relatively modest number of carefully identified, committed donors capable of making major gift donations.
I have become known for being able to clean-up “challenged” fundraising projects where quite a bit was spent on large, supposedly full-service consulting firms that were ultimately unsuccessful. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted on them. In that regard, I have been a “turnaround” fundraiser on more than one occasion. And, I have been asked to work with – or without – staff. I have learned over the years how to be self-reliant.
Success depends upon careful evaluation, rolling-up one’s sleeves to do real work, courage and a “can do” mindset, believing in a good cause, and in not employing a “preset” consultant’s format. Each nonprofit is unique! One can learn from prior campaigns, of course, but major gift and special project efforts succeed best when the plan of action and its implementation are tailored specifically to the nonprofit and its constituents.
Last but not least, I do entertain requests from for-profit businesses, governments and professional associations for assistance with digital communications, public relations and other tasks, where there is a good match in terms of skills and interests.
- A good friend who is also a well-known historian and nonprofit fundraising professional, Toni Turner, has a firm, Non Profit Solutions Consultants. We would enjoy teaming-up on projects for the greater good. If you feel you need more than one steady, experienced hand, consider us both!
- If you need legal and philanthropic advice from a trusted and experienced attorney, I recommend MariBen Ramsey. Her websites: MariBen Ramsey Law, PLLC and MariBen Ramsey NonProfit & Philanthropy Consulting.
- A trustworthy accountant can make a world of difference in running a professional nonprofit organization. They can also solve (and troubleshoot) problems! My personal and corporate accounting has been handled by Hahn & Oldham, P.C. of Kingsville for more than 15 years. As a great deal of work today is done online, they can help you literally from any location! They do handle nonprofit accounting. Be sure to tell them I sent you.
- I am also a professional advocate of Bloomerang. Follow the link to learn how you can improve your donor retention. To read blog posts produced by me for Bloomerang follow this link.
Some have asked if all one reads on this website is true. Yes! In fact, I have under-reported some of my work for nonprofits.
If you have questions of any kind, use the contact form. It reaches me quickly and will keep you out of the “spam” folder.
Thank you for visiting.