My mission is to help communities and organizations raise significant funding for worthwhile nonprofit projects, and/or to set the stage in order to do so. I conduct my work in the most efficient, thoughtful and high quality manner possible, and mostly by hand.
I am a one-person company, unaffiliated with other consultants or consulting firms. Public relations (including managing difficult situations), and digital communications are additional areas of expertise, available to nonprofits or when it is a good fit, for-profit organizations.
In this section you will find an overview of my professional work (not included are a few short-term assignments). Questions? Contact me using the contact form.
January, 2018 to the Present
I continue to support the ongoing grant writing needs of Austin Free-Net. In March, I began working part-time for a few months with the Port Aransas Art Center. Both digital communications and fundraising are the focus of my activities. Sharing an Adobe Spark video about this remarkable nonprofit’s achievements!
July, 2016 to December, 2017
I moved to southwestern Austin, to the Texas Hill Country on February 28, 2017. Please see the Media Page section of this website, as I was busy during this time frame with public presentations, publications and more for the benefit of the nonprofit community.
Nonprofit Tech Club Austin received a great deal of my attention during this time frame. I consider my work for the club to be a professional activity, although I donate my time to do it.
It was nice of the staff at Meetup headquarters in New York to notice and to commend my efforts on the platform. For NetSquared early in 2017, I gave an hour-long ReadyTalk webinar about how I setup and manage Meetup, for the benefit of tech club organizers across the U.S. and globally. Special thanks to Capital Factory for serving as our primary meeting venue. The club is a partnership including NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network, NetSquared (TechSoup Global), Capital Factory, and a Central Texas volunteer co-organizing team. The club moved to the NTEN website in early 2018.
I created an AngelList profile in 2017, and I have suggested projects for funding/investment. I have for several years contemplated developing and seeking funding for projects that I have generated, and some brainstormed with friends. You will find the list on AngelList.
This is something I would never have done without getting to know Capital Factory and its stable of inspiring innovators the past few years. If you have an interest in one of my projects, let me know. I would be delighted to draw up a budget for each.
Texas Sealife Center, an all-volunteer veterinarian-driven nonprofit, seeks to fund facility improvements to provide better medical care for injured and stranded wildlife. With the advent of Hurricane Harvey, the Center had to double-up and take in a large number of additional wildlife, as another partner organization to the north was badly damaged during the storm. Approximately $250,000 in grant proposals were researched and prepared; I completed the Center’s first full GuideStar profile (securing the gold seal for transparency); I completed its first GreatNonprofits review profile (I’m enjoying those reviews very much!); I created a “draft” WordPress website (for potential modernization); and I have helped introduce the Center to a larger number of volunteers and potential sponsors. To read my blog post about Texas Sealife Center, “Hurricane Inspiration on the Gulf Coast,” follow the link. For fun, see my “Turtles & Tortoises” board on Pinterest (I’ve been saving global information on Pinterest this year, as part of my learning). Please contact them (or me), if you are interested in supporting the Center’s lifesaving work. Currently they focus on sea turtles, shorebirds, raptors and eventually the Center hopes to support area dolphin populations.
Austin Free-Net has several digital inclusion programs in the works in Travis County, Texas. “New technology promises opportunity for all, but only on an equal playing field with equal access to information, education and involvement in the community. Anyone having the desire should be able to access the Internet to improve their lives and contribute to society. With this in mind, Austin Free-Net exists to make equal access to computing resources a reality.” I updated the organization’s GuideStar profile and helped it attain the gold seal for transparency. In November, Juanita Budd and I were pleased to receive notice of two new grants on which we worked, one from Spectrum and another from Texas Innovative Adult Career Education (ACE), valued at more than $450,000 (for two separate computer education programs). We are energized, and work continues on new proposals!
Austin Free-Net’s mission is one of the most important of any nonprofit today. To read my blog post on the topic of digital inclusion, follow this link. If you have an interest in Austin Free-Net, let me know. To watch some inspiring video testimonials, follow this link.
April through June, 2016
I enjoyed a brief, three-month assignment with Freedom Flyers, a nonprofit organization devoted to honoring veterans and community heroes. Based in Burnet, Texas it operates statewide and beyond. Work has involved website and social media improvements (and expansion to new platforms), prospect research, case statement enhancement, identification of new partners (and making introductions), securing testimonials (GreatNonprofits), upgrading the GuideStar profile, establishing a presence on Crowdrise, and creating a new email list and email platform account, which I have done via iContact (I also produced two e-newsletters and one e-announcement). I leave behind an enhanced Gmail account with tandem platforms Google Drive, Google Photo and YouTube, populated with a variety of helpful documents for carrying forward, including a YouTube Video Editor production and a few Google Movies. Quite a bit has been done in only three months, and of course, all by hand and by me, personally.
My family has a history of working with representatives of the U.S. Military and in the aerospace industry, so this assignment has been an enjoyable one. I also enjoyed meeting new friends and businesses, including RotorWash Media. As with all my nonprofit projects, I am “on call” should additional help be needed at any time.
August, 2015 to February 15, 2016
I enjoyed working with TEXSAR: Texas Search and Rescue between August, 2015 and February, 2016. I helped this decade-old, all-volunteer nonprofit move from total volunteer administration, to establishing a formal presence. This involved identifying its first paid employee, conducting prospect research for a number of major potential gifts for critically needed search and rescue equipment, and composing and submitting a number of grant proposals valued at several hundred thousand dollars. I launched a new digital communication program, so TEXSAR may communicate more frequently with its ever-growing constituency (September 21, 2015 through February 5, 2016).
I bolstered TEXSAR’s infrastructure by identifying a professional accounting firm to prepare and file TEXSAR’s first full tax return; by formally acknowledging in writing more than 100 donors; and by researching, writing and producing its first annual report. I was also pleased to help TEXSAR secure the GuideStar gold seal for operational transparency, and I began the process of applying to the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. I also helped develop a relationship between TEXSAR and U.S. Congressman Michael T. McCaul. I hope TEXSAR will continue forward on a search and rescue “tech” event at Google Fiber Space with Google staff (I got the ball rolling). Last but not least, I fine-tuned TEXSAR’s social media platforms, and added iContact, Eventbrite, SlideShare and ISSUU to the mix.
September, 2014 to July, 2015
I continued to take meaningful time to polish my online presence, central to which is Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog. Blog visitation was the highest ever during 2015 (more than 100,000 visitors from some 200 nations since it was launched in 2011). I continued to volunteer for several organizations, like IREC: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (Board of Directors); ONE Campaign; and NTEN: Nonprofit Technology Network.
For NTEN, I served on the 15NTC Host Committee (the national conference was held at the Austin Convention Center in March, 2015), I volunteered during the 2015 conference, I spoke during the 15NTC (WordPress Day), and I set-up and now manage the Austin 501 Tech Club Meetup page. I am a co-organizer of the club’s educational events. I was pleased to organize and implement a summer, 2015 program at Google Fiber Space for area partners involved in the Google Digital Inclusion Fellowship. One highlight of 2015 for our #501TechClub Austin was chatting via Google Hangout with Forbes Contributor Devin Thorpe, at the offices of our new club co-sponsor, Capital Factory. Last but not least, I continue to enjoy supporting the global partnership-building efforts of NetSquared and TechSoup, whose byline is, “mobilising communities and technology for social change.”
One special treat during this time frame was being the focus of an hour-long podcast (#29) in October, 2014 about asking for donations (with a corporate executive focus), with Steve Vick of Nonprofit Ally in Alaska, a “DIY” (do it yourself) resource for nonprofits.
Social media reporting remains a constant activity, with attention being paid to engagement and polishing my existing online activity. I started experimenting with YouTube Video Editor during this time, and have since produced several video collages with my original Instagram and iPhone video materials.
I have also been mentoring aspiring grant and blog writers, as well as a few young but promising nonprofit organizations. Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog is highly “searchable” online, and this has attracted quite a few to me for advice (online and in-person) about everything from how to identify potential sponsors and how to become a professional grant writer, to how to start a blog. Included in this mix are a few startup companies. I enjoyed attending TechBreakfast and Capital Factory programs during this time, and I have helped some young business startups broaden their visibility and identify resources. See my blog post, “Nonprofits and Startups: Birds of a Feather.”
August, 2013 through September 5, 2014
In late July, 2013 I moved to Austin, Texas to help a young nonprofit, EcoRise Youth Innovations expand its program to middle and high schools across Central Texas and statewide. I worked with EcoRise for one full year. My work consisted of research, grant writing, in-person donor meetings, events, infrastructure improvements, blogging and social media management (in other words, not just fundraising, as one might expect for a small shop).
During my tenure, I researched and wrote numerous grant proposals (valued at approximately $500,000). I introduced EcoRise to new funders with whom I have worked over the years (including The Meadows Foundation, which was kind enough to support EcoRise’s statewide expansion). Among the other successful grants I helped secure were from 3M, RGK Foundation, Samsung, Patagonia and Time Warner Cable. I also made introductions to Texas state government agencies, to help facilitate future partnerships (Texas Water Development Board and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality).
For the final seven months of my tenure, I learned MailChimp and wrote, designed and distributed seven e-newsletters and cleaned and revamped a 3,000+ person database by hand (Z2 NEON). That involved reviewing all entries, updating and fleshing-out contact information, and adding approximately 1,000 new names to the database. I assumed responsibility for authoring monthly blog posts during the second half of my tenure. In terms of social media, all social channels were revamped during this time frame, and I assumed daily social media management and launched EcoRise on new platforms. I also handled social media reporting assignments (and photo documentation) for donor, student and teacher events. I set up the Amplify Austin (annual giving day) profile on I Live Here, I Give Here, and managed online promotion before, during and after the event. I helped EcoRise secure a “booster” price from Breed & Company, by encouraging the Board and friends to make pledges to EcoRise during a specified time during the giving day! That was fun.
I enjoyed serving as an EcoRise student showcase/student invention judge, and I suggested and implemented the organization’s first Leadership Council reception (at dwg. studio). I represented EcoRise at such events as SXSW Eco, SXSW Edu, Earth Day Texas and Silicon Labs Employee Volunteer Day. I also suggested EcoRise apply to be matched with a filmmaker to create a new film via Lights. Camera. Help., and EcoRise was chosen in 2014 (see the video above). I wrote and submitted award nominations for EcoRise, some of which it received. Last but not least, I created the organization’s first GuideStar profile, which received the GuideStar Exchange Gold Seal for transparency. It was a busy but productive year.
During this year, I also found the time to speak during the 2014 AFP DFW Philanthropy in Action Conference at the Irving Convention Center, and before the Texas Library Association’s Annual Assembly at the Hyatt Regency, Austin. I also served as one of a team of teachers for the summer, 2014 CFRE Review Course in Austin (to help aspiring CFREs prepare for the certification examination).
Fall, 2010 to Summer, 2013
In October, 2010, I moved from Corpus Christi, Texas – my home of ten years – to San Antonio. While there, I met new friends and professional colleagues, learned about and expanded my presence on social media, and became a, “social media reporter.” This was during the economic downturn in the United States, and new projects were few and far between. I used my time wisely, however, launching Carolyn’s Nonprofit Blog, learning how to use social media, and doing more public speaking in Texas and beyond.
Among my speaking engagements were a presentation about the use of social media in major gift and planned giving settings: 2011 CharityChannel Summit in tandem with GPA: Grant Professionals Association in Las Vegas; 2012 Crescendo Interactive, Inc. Practical Planned Giving Conference in Orlando; and 2013 AFP DFW Philanthropy in Action Conference at the Irving Convention Center.
Please refer to “Carolyn Online” for a complete list of my online venues.