Having led the communications departments of a national nonprofit, a highly recognized foundation and the largest regional association of grantmakers, I have deep experience helping an array of social purpose organizations develop their communications strategies and products. Whether the need is for developing high-level strategy, producing organizational communications plans and formulating issue campaigns or more basic but equally important work of report writing and event management, I love helping funders and nonprofits shape messages that move people to action.
Public Policy & Advocacy
Policy work takes on many different forms in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, and so my experience in this area has been extraordinarily wide-ranging. Forging connections between nonprofits, philanthropy, business, academia and government leaders has been at the core of my work in public policy. I have lobbied on Capitol Hill, helped NYC voices have a say in Albany, brought together leaders across sectors to better understand divergent perspectives, and developed organizations’ comprehensive policy platforms. Direct advocacy to government officials can be an important element of policy work, but more often, effective issue advocacy is based on the tough work of growing partnerships and support for policies among many players. Bringing together many diverse interests to more deeply explore common goals has been important to many of my most successful projects.
New Grantmaking Initiatives & Funder Collaborative Management
In my decades working in the philanthropic sector, I have participated in strategizing and evaluating a wide variety of grantmaking initiatives. I got my start in philanthropy reviewing applications for a funder of arts education initiatives, carried through as a grantmaker for corporate clients in my consulting work with TCC Group, and then helped leaders evaluate and create new initiatives during my time at The Pew Charitable Trusts and Russell Sage Foundation. At Philanthropy New York, I helped large groups of funders conceive new initiatives and structure collaboratives. I am particularly experienced in facilitating groups of funders or internal funder processes addressing fast-evolving issues that require organizing support, ongoing research and news-monitoring, such as recent work on Census 2020, education reform and justice reform.
Nonprofit Program Management
Because I have worked with so many nonprofits and funders in so many different capacities, I have a lot of experience formulating budgets, planning new initiatives, nurturing staff and building out complex project timelines. While my deepest experiences are in communications and public policy, I have considerable skills in program evaluation, research and planning that I adapt to the needs of each client I work with.
Foundations and nonprofits need all sorts of writing. Sometimes it’s a report on the outcomes of a major initiative, other times it is a simple press release announcing new staff. If I could write all day every day, it would be helping leaders develop opinion pieces or blog posts that articulate a distinctive point of view supported by essential data. But I love all kinds of writing for social purpose-driven organizations, including speeches for leaders, website content, annual reports, and fundraising proposals.
I have the most experience developing research that is based on one-on-one interviews, conference proceedings, survey data and extant research available through both academic sources and online. My graduate training was in program evaluation, and I have the most experience in public opinion research methods from my many years of association with the renowned opinion research and public engagement organization Public Agenda.
At its core, a good strategic planning process builds upon deep understanding of an organization’s mission, goals and objectives. Equally essential elements of successful strategic planning processes are thoughtful inquisitiveness and an ability to intuit complex organizational relationships. I have been a leader in countless planning processes in organizations that have invested the time and resources to do it right. These experiences have produced not only cohesive and achievable plans, but also higher functioning teams and deeper understanding of shared vision.
Policy Convenings & Event Management
One of the most consistent elements of my work life, from my very first professional job at the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation through my current consulting projects has been organizing events, especially those focused on tough policy issues. Executing effective learning events requires not just the ability to understand the issue at hand, but also an embrace of preparing for every detail of the event, effective communications management and post-event follow through.
Because I have worked on both sides of the funding equation, I deeply understand the language and the process of fundraising. Relationships and extensive research on funders are crucial, but so are the articulation of a compelling vision and the detail of achievable plans that make the case for the organization’s budget projections. I have worked on successful fundraising initiatives for general operating support, capital campaigns and new initiatives, raising millions of dollars.