Recalibrating Your Fundraising Strategy as a Nonprofit Leader (Alison Singer) 

August 2020

Like most nonprofit leaders, you are likely driven by the passion for a cause that is meaningful to you.  Alison Singer is certainly a great example of that drive, but she has also taken her lifelong commitment to serving individuals and families with Autism and turned it into a national nonprofit called the Autism Science Foundation.  Her story is a fascinating one, and her podcast episode, #55 on the Path, also serves as a master class in the fundamentals of starting a nonprofit, and real-time adaptations to special event planning, fundraising and powerful online resources. She also discussed her organizational and team-building strategies during the pandemic, and what things she expects to continue beyond COVID-19.   

"Nonprofits have to respond to disruption; not do business as usual but embrace that things have changed, and shift because the needs of their constituents have also shifted."


Alison is the Co-Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation and she manages the foundation's strategy and directs it to fulfill its mission of supporting autism research and educating the public to increase awareness of autism and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. Alison has served on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) since 2007. She also currently serves on the executive board of the Yale Child Study Center, on the external advisory board of the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University, and on the external advisory board of the CDC's Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Alison chairs the International Society for Autism Research public relations committee and is a member of the IMFAR program committee and community advisory committee. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Economics and has an MBA from Harvard Business School. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ASF has launched several new programs to respond quickly to the changing needs of the autism community and make sure that critically needed autism research continues to progress. For example, ASF launched its Pivot Grants program, hosted webinars to connect autism families and researchers and compiled extensive lists of resources for families, scientists and service providers all of these representing a recalibration of normal activities.