I created FundraisingBasics.org to help smaller nonprofit agencies become more efficient fundraisers. People kept asking me for fundraising advice, usually in the form of free labor on my part, so I decided to create this website for anyone who wants to use it, including fundraising consultants. Hope it helps.
One of the leading foundations in Los Angeles said that I should be commended for creating one of the best grant packages they ever received, that the proposal was clearly written and easy to understand. (And we got the grant.) Los Angeles foundations gave us significantly more money than we asked for at least eight times during my tenure! In 2016 a national bank foundation said that I should be commended for the quality of our GuideStar page. They were researching us for a large donor-advised grant, which we also received.
I would like to share how to create meaningful, effective materials that help you raise money. Why? In part because when I started in the field, there wasn’t a lot of nuts-and-bolts type of information out there. Couldn’t get it from my local Association of Fundraising Professionals chapter either. In part because of white privilege – even in L.A. I’d like to make the playing field a little more even. Also in part because I don’t like the way charitable donations are allocated in general.
Larger institutions with millions in their endowments are funded, in part, because they are organized and transparent. They can clearly state their goals, objectives, and evaluation methods in all of their materials, including grant proposals and reports. They can clearly define what success means in relationship to their programs.
Smaller agencies often do not receive the funding they need, in part because while they may be great at delivering effective services, they often lack the knowledge required to convince potential funders and donors that their programs will achieve their stated goals. Fundraising is about building trust. They may not understand some of the nuances of successful proposals and site visits.
One example of this is that nonprofit managers may be unaware of how to create a good “Statement of Functional Expenses” for their IRS F990, which is also used to create charts for annual reports, grant reports, and newsletters. This is where people learn how much of a nonprofit’s expenses were used for program, administration, and fundraising costs, so it is important to get this right. While many foundations are rightfully trying to convince people that they should disregard the percentages of program, admin, and fundraising costs for small nonprofits, these are still used as a benchmark for fiscal responsibility. I show you how to do that under the “Budgets” page.
Another example is that most foundations require audited financial statements. A few foundations will accept “Board Certified Financials” from small agencies, but many of these agencies are not aware of this and don’t know how to create them, so they don’t approach the foundations that will accept them.
I have been a professional fundraiser for over 15 years. For over 13 years I served as the Director of Development for L.A. GOAL, a nonprofit agency that offers programs for adults with developmental disabilities. When I started working there, (part-time in 2002), their net assets were reported as $314,000 in their IRS F990. When I stopped working there full-time in 2016, their net assets were $1,090,000. I am still working there as a fundraising consultant and just launched a video production company, Ello Productions. I am using my expertise to create meaningful, story-based videos for nonprofits and small businesses.
I was responsible for all aspects of fundraising: annual giving, major gifts, corporate and foundation grants, planned giving, special events, graphic design, database management, photography, website maintenance, and bulk mailing. I launched a small, impromptu capital campaign to renovate our new building, expanded our corporate, foundation, and individual donor base, and launched a planned giving campaign that has received over $1 million in pledges.
I served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Los Angeles Chapter (AFP-GLAC) from 2005 – 2010, and served as Co-Chair of the 25th Anniversary of National Philanthropy Day in Los Angeles (2010). I helped bring in $40,000 over our projected income ($20,000) and almost doubled the attendance from the previous year.
Other volunteer commitments include: providing information on this website, several videos for local nonprofit agencies pro bono, Culver City Amateur Radio Emergency Service (CC-ARES), Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group (GLAARG) as a Volunteer Examiner for ham radio licenses.
Education: Graduated Cum Laude in English/Creative Writing at Cal State L.A. in 2009, (member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society), Magna Cum Laude from West Los Angeles College (AA degree). Received a Certification in Fund Raising from UCLA Extension in 2001, took the week-long Grantsmanship course at The Grantsmanship Center in 2000, and from 1999 to present: numerous professional development courses/seminars at the AFP-GLAC, Nonprofit Communications and Media Network (formerly Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society), the Center for Nonprofit Management, and the Foundation Center.