Everything You Believe About Small Nonprofit Fundraising is Wrong (Zoot Velasco)

May 2022

Is your small nonprofit still trying to raise money through special events?  Modeling your fundraising plan on what large nonprofits are doing is among several critical mistakes Zoot Velasco will help you avoid. In episode #156 of Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership, he tells us why those special events, big galas, grant writing and even courting major donors are not the most important things on which nonprofit leaders of smaller organizations should be focused. Zoot identifies three sources of earned income streams available to all nonprofit organizations and how strengthening and growing these streams will not only increase your financial stability but will also allow you to be less reliant on the traditional philanthropic dollar.  He clearly articulates his Seven Step Cycle to Success with examples and practical experiences.  Once you understand your organization's ability to grow its earned income, nonprofit leaders can shift their thinking to recruiting, orienting and training their staff and board members. Only million dollar+ organizations are best positioned to court major donors and receive those large grants.  Where should you be spending your time?

"Avoid the big galas! Focus on smaller events, identify strategic partners, and market your mission. Everything else will fall into place."



Zoot Velasco is currently the Executive Director of the Friends of Fullerton College Foundation, Director of the Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research at California State University Fullerton's College of Business & Economics, Professor of Business & Marketing at California State University Fullerton, Professor of Nonprofit Management & Leadership at California Polytechnic Institute Pomona, Host of the nationally-ranked 501(c)3(b)(s) podcast and author of three books. For 23 years, Zoot led cultural programs in prisons and cultural centers. He built four art centers for the City of LA, a Boys & Girls Club, and a Theatre for the City of Long Beach. He has raised more than $32 million for various organizations. During the recession, he led the Muckenthaler Cultural Center in Fullerton to unprecedented growth, more than tripling programs, budget, patrons, and the endowment while winning awards as Orange County's first STEAM programs, institutional arts programs, and strategic partnerships. Zoot is President of the Rotary Club of Fullerton, and Paul Harris Fellow touring as a lecturer on Rotary history to clubs worldwide.


About PMA Nonprofit Leadership 

As a firm, PMA Nonprofit Leadership is constantly developing content and programs to help you in three distinct ways.  The first way is to help you be a thought leader in the nonprofit sector by producing weekly content through our podcast Your Path to Nonprofit Leadership. The second way is through individual coaching, training and our unique Mastermind Nonprofit Leadership program. The third way is to help your nonprofit organization through support of its strategic planning, board & staff development, and fundraising. Through our exclusive partnership with the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership, we also  guide aspiring nonprofit leaders through the virtual New Development Professionals cohort training program, as well as the annual Leadership Gift School, now entering its 10th cohort season.  Let us know how we can help you! Join our community by signing up for our free resources here, and schedule a call if you'd like to learn more about ways we can help you on your journey to nonprofit leadership.