~ I am an independent nonprofit fundraising executive. This means I have my own, one-person firm and enjoy conducting most all work personally and by hand.
Although it is sometimes assumed I am part of a larger company (because I accomplish so much more, with less), I am not affiliated with other consultants, consulting firm(s), or freelance fundraising professionals. On occasion, I might suggest partnering with another individual or firm because of a special expertise (like bulk mailing services), but that decision is made on a case-by-case basis.
Looking for a formal vita? Please refer to my SlideShare page.
~ Virtually all work is done by me – I have a “hands-on” approach. This includes fundraising strategy development and planning, research, writing, special event planning and implementation, and most commonly-used graphic design. I enjoy arranging and making fundraising calls where my presence is appropriate and would be helpful to the nonprofit organization with which I am working. I have helped to raise more than $33 million (combined) in private sector donations over the course of my nonprofit career, as well as substantial funding for a number of nonprofits for which I have volunteered.
~ Transparency is a core value. Copies of documents and other information are provided at the conclusion of each assignment (primarily electronic files, because the vast majority of my written work is done on the computer). I am diligent in documenting my work, which is also protected by cloud computing (since 2003). I have secured more than 65,000 documents in the “cloud.”
The cost of insurance and taxes are normally absorbed as part of my fee.
~ I am pleased to meet in person (or via Google+ Hangout or on the phone), but by appointment only. I have a well-outfitted private office, and I have a thirteen-year relationship with Hahn and Oldham, P.C. for professional (and personal) tax, accounting, and related services, to ensure transparency and adherence to all applicable laws. The good news – and a bit unusually – wherever possible I absorb most regional travel costs and basic office expenses as part of my fee.
~ Every effort is made to identify appropriate prospective donors. However, the ultimate decision to make a donation rests with the donor and depends upon their interest level and current circumstances. No “high pressure” solicitations are employed.
~ I do not engage in percentage-based fundraising, in accordance with the ethical principles set forth by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
~ Each project is different; the cost for my services varies accordingly. I enjoy tackling one project at a time over multiple months (or longer), but I have also taken on projects part-time. Normally, clients pay by check, but Carolyn M. Appleton, Inc. will also accept payments via PayPal (fees are involved with PayPal and hence, prior to making use of it, we should touch base). If other payment methods are preferred, let’s discuss. I am always open to new ideas.
~ For additional information e-mail or call. My WordPress blog illustrates how I work, and discusses in greater depth my professional and volunteer experiences. The blog also includes links to several of my nonprofit documents, from case statements and newsletters to PowerPoint slide presentations. The blog has been visited more than 22,000 times to date by more than 116 countries. Thanks go to all who have shown an interest; follow this link to read some of the many kind comments received.
Trust (but verify)
If you speak with someone who says they know me and my work, be sure to ask me to vouch for that person. You’d be surprised, but sometimes someone who seems to be the obvious choice to ask for a reference is, in fact, not the correct contact. Media often promote those who are outspoken; I have found that it is often a more modest (and less obvious) person who knows best.
Mentors & Recommendations
I recently discovered a few recommendation letters from mentors whom I still hold dear and I have posted excerpts below.
As I reflect on my career, I have been exceedingly lucky to have had a number of highly successful businessmen and women guide and mentor me in my early years during college and in my work in the nonprofit sector.
LinkedIn suggests one seek recommendations to post directly on its website. I do not comply out of respect for donor privacy. The majority of my work has involved staffing major gift donors, volunteers, and staff leadership. Some of them are active on LinkedIn, some are not. Sometimes, I have also been called-in to handle challenging – and confidential – situations at nonprofit organizations. These situations make me reticent to post recommendations on social media. Having said that, I have a noteworthy list of references to provide anyone wishing to consider me for a project or position.
And here are some fond memories:
> From the late ethics scholar Edmund L. Pincoffs, Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at The University of Texas at Austin when I worked there just prior to starting graduate school (letter dated 1981; click on the link for a biographical sketch about Dr. Pincoffs):
“To Whom It May Concern: Miss Appleton … is experienced, hard-working, intelligent, and pleasant. She deals well with students, understands office routines, and types well. HIRE HER! You’ll make a mistake not to.”
On a personal note, I love the comment about my typing. That basic skill (enhanced by several years of piano lessons), has been key to my ability to function independently.
> And another excerpt from the late, beloved Austin civic leader who was very active in promoting the arts, Alfred Ashbrook King. I worked with Alfred both at Laguna Gloria Art Museum (now Austin Museum of Art), and The University of Texas at Austin (letter dated 1987; click on the link for a biographical sketch about Alfred King):
“As a member of the Board of Trustees of Laguna Gloria Art Museum I have worked with Carolyn Appleton on several projects …. I have found her to be diligent and conscientious in helping to design and execute various development and travel activities for the benefit of the Museum. She is flexible and readily incorporates suggestions of others into projects to increase their effectiveness. She is at all times pleasant and cooperative.”
> From Forrest McGill, Ph.D., then Assistant Director of the Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery (now the Blanton Museum of Art), who is now Chief Curator of the prestigious Asian Art Museum in San Francisco (letter dated 1983; click on the link to reach Forrest’s blog for the Asian Art Museum):
“I have known Carolyn Appleton for several years, both as a student and an employee. She is an exceptionally intelligent, highly motivated person whose work consistently meets very high standards. She thinks well, organizes well, and writes well. When we at the Huntington Art Gallery have difficult and painstaking tasks to be done, or ones that require special diplomatic skills, we assign them to Carolyn whenever possible, because if she undertakes them, we know they will be done effectively and efficiently. Ms. Appleton is a very competent young women, and I can recommend her enthusiastically and without reservation.”
People today who can provide information about Carolyn’s prior work are Edward H. Ahnert, now retired, longtime President of Exxon Foundation (recently returned to Dallas from Hong Kong: ); Michael K. “Mike” McCoy of The Meadows Foundation, Inc. in Dallas; and Valleau “Val” Wilkie (recently retired from the Sid W. Richardson Foundation, Fort Worth). Mr. Wilkie can still be reached via the Foundation by leaving a message; click here for a biographical overview. He was kind enough to say in a letter, “I would be glad to have you use my name if you wish to do so as you explore possibilities.” Val is a man of few – but well chosen – words.
Please contact these kind gentlemen only if your inquiry is genuine. Thank you so much! Other references, of which there are many, are available upon request.
Last but not least, I have listed those individuals – sadly no longer with us – who have had a lasting impact on my life and work. Their impressive lives and accomplishments are discussed via the links provided: