All of the members of our team bring to our clients vast experiences in a variety of areas: fundraising, branding and marketing, strategic planning for nonprofits, board development, social entrepreneurship, and data management. With them come additional networks of professionals so that we can offer virtually any service to meet client needs.
When I was a kid, I was in the Boy Scouts. But I hated it.
When I finally told my father that I didn’t want to do it anymore (a really tough conversation because he had achieved Eagle Scout status when he was a teen), he said, “OK. But you have to do something.”
That’s my father. He was never one to just work and come home. He volunteered. In the community, in his church. He was my role model, so I’ve always been drawn to community.
In college, I was an English major, so I was drawn to nonprofit communications. I started my professional career in that area. When I first moved to Boston, I worked in retail and then ultimately a consumer products company that made dog treats and cat litter. After six months there, we were told the company was being sold and relocated to California. We had six months to find jobs, and I intentionally sought out nonprofit positions.
I interviewed to be the communications director at a dental school. I had great interviews and thought I nailed the job. They called the next day to say that the dean decided to give the job to someone else but wanted me to consider becoming the school’s development director.
I had no fundraising experience, and neither did they. I was given an office, an assistant, and a small budget and let loose to create a program. Fortunately, I had a mentor, but I had to curate my own education in fundraising, alumni relations, nonprofits in general. This was pre-internet, so I had to rely on articles, books, and conferences.
During my tenure at that school, I had the opportunity to co-found a national oral health initiative with Special Olympics International. What did I know about this? I was partnered with a pediatric dentist who was an expert in the area, and I was the one who had to create the thing.
These stories — both self-learning development and figuring out how to create something from nothing, became the theme of my professional life. It wasn’t until some years later that I noticed the patterns and embarked on a mission to help others do the same thing.
Today, nearly 30 years after that dental school gig, I created GKollaborative. We provide strategic advising to nonprofit clients. I’m also proud of our mission to create content and educational for nonprofit professionals. We started with the Fundraising Wonks blog, and are about to publish our first book. We’re also developing online courses, workshops, coaching services, and facilitated peer learning groups.
My work and my company are driven by a simple purpose: to enable individuals and organizations to affect positive change in the world.
What does this have to do with my father? He was a role model. He demonstrated through his actions, the importance of being involved with something — anything — that benefited the community.
What better lesson could a son ask for?
We understand that change and innovation emerge slowly and only by engaging members of an organizational community.
We relish the role humor and playfulness can have in the pursuit of serious work.
We believe in the necessity of leadership at all levels to be inspired and open to change in order for innovation to happen.
We derive inspiration from business, technological and the creative sectors in fulfilling our mission.