Carolyn’s Portfolio | Port Aransas Art Center

This portfolio focuses on my work in the nonprofit sector, and a specific nonprofit, the Port Aransas Art Center.

Most nonprofit organizations want to raise significant donations, and most all deserve those leadership gifts. But sometimes this requires infrastructure and communications improvements as well as solid research, consistent donor communications, grant writing and more. And many nonprofits do not have the budget nor the staff bandwidth to embark upon a concerted development and communications programs. That is why I was hired.

Below are some of the activities on which I have worked during 2018 and 2019. The community as a whole is recuperating from the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Some of my work has been focused on “doing more with less” (always, smiles), upgrading basic office infrastructure, and preparing the organization to secure major gifts.

I often mention that I am “hands on.” I do most of my own work, from campaign design to implementation. I have many years of experience working with nonprofits with little or no staff (or staff with little or no interest in development), and I tackle those projects with gusto! When I believe in what they are accomplishing, when their enthusiasm inspires me, I am ready to jump in with both hands.

Technology helps amplify my work. I work primarily from my dedicated home office, with my own equipment. For larger print projects, Office Depot’s business department does a great job of printing, binding and shipping (I also have a significant discount there via The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, thank you very much). Occasional trips to visit the nonprofit and its leadership in person are arranged in advance (about once monthly or every-other-month). Secure communications via Gmail and secure document storage and sharing via Dropbox make working remotely with this organization convenient and easy.

Carolyn’s Work

WordPress | A new website with more modern look and capabilities that is also more cost-effective | WordPress free templates and reasonably-priced hosting plans help nonprofits look sharp online, and they are social sharing- and mobile-friendly. Many nonprofits I have encountered have older websites, some dating back to ten or fifteen years, and they keep needlessly patching them together and updating plugins, etc. As time moves forward, less fuss and greater sophistication are hallmarks of platforms like WordPress. This example is a free template and a “Personal” hosting plan (however, by year-end we upgraded our plan as we worked with TAMUCC on a new branding project – scroll to the bottom of this page to read more). Included with the new website are special contact forms for those Board members wanting to be easily reached by email, via the new website (each form is linked to their private email accounts).

GuideStar Gold 2019

GuideStar | Gold Seal | To flesh-out a nonprofit profile on GuideStar to the Gold Seal level or higher takes time and thought, but no financial investment on the part of the nonprofit. The process is free, but the long-term effect on credibility can be substantial when it comes to encouraging major gifts.

GreatNonprofits | 2019 Top Rated Nonprofit | Testimonials and word-of-mouth endorsements are highly influential when it comes to donors giving with confidence and at greater levels. We attained the “top rated” badge in 2018 and renewed the seal in 2019.

MailChimp | E-newsletters produced on a regular basis (once-monthly), keep the drum beating for nonprofit partners and supporters. They keep the organization before its constituents, keep it compliant with the CAN SPAM Act, they are a meaningful way to recognize donors, and more. Consistent communications are key to any successful development program. When you click on the link above, you will see several of my creations during 2018 and 2019, writing and design (though June). The Art Center had been maintaining an email list on MailChimp, but it had not been e-blasting to the entire constituency on a regular basis.

Sharing a year-end donation appeal for 2018.

Brochures and Publications | Organizations that welcome the public often needs attractive, professional “take away” brochures that provide basic information. Board member Laura Griffith and I produced a new “takeaway” front desk brochure for the Port Aransas Art Center created with a Microsoft Office template and printed locally. I have also used Microsoft Word to produce a downloadable membership form (for those who prefer sending check donations), and a case for support for the debt retirement campaign (viewable via the link on ISSUU).

Social Media

Facebook | The Port Aransas Art Center had a successful Facebook page dating back several years. Initially, I stepped-in briefly to reformat the page to a “nonprofit” template. Then I left it to another person for several months, until it was realized there was more work to do! I got back into the “back-end” and updated the background information, touched-up postings (deleting more than 300 old and duplicate photographs and posts), developing photo albums for ease of reference and access, security settings were updated, and I requested and received formal verification of the page by Facebook (by sending our latest IRS letter). Many more “likes” of other public pages have been done, in an effort to increase engagement and show support. As you may know, Facebook has recently undergone great scrutiny for privacy and hate speech on its platform. I urge all nonprofits to double check their Facebook settings and back-ends to be sure they are up to date, and to seek formal verification. Things change.

YouTube | Videos are exceedingly popular way for the public to access information and YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google Search. I created a new YouTube profile and using Adobe Spark Video, created an initial group of videos to start.

Instagram | Visual communications continue to grow in popularity with the public and Instagram is a major player in this realm. I created this platform and I have been managing it.

Pinterest | Pinterest is a major online traffic “driver,” and it thrives on visual imagery. I created this profile and I am managing it (a work in progress).

Yelp | As an institution that welcomes the public, the Art Center needed a Yelp profile and we launched it in 2018. I have also worked to establish new relationships with Foursquare and with TripAdvisor. A member of the Board on her own created a Google Business profile for the Art Center as well during 2018 and it has been very helpful!

Photo Documentation | For social media postings, videos, brochures, slideshows and more, photos are required. I have been doing some photo documentation for the Art Center and the slide show below illustrates a few of those images. I have also taken the photos of others and used them to create visual presentations as well.  


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Stewardship and Fundraising

The Art Center already had a devoted core group of supporters, but in order to retire remaining debt on its new facility and to expand its infrastructure in order to offer more programs for youth and adults year-round, more fundraising and a professional development program for the long-term is required.

To read my case for support document on ISSUU, follow the link. To see a digital donor recognition concept I developed for the Art Center, please enjoy the video below. This is a PowerPoint presentation converted to a movie/video, and it is meant to replace static wall plaques, and to run continuously in the galleries of the Art Center. Be sure to read the description of how the video was created underneath the presentation on YouTube.

Research regarding prospective underwriters continues, and prospective supporters for programs, capital needs and more have been identified and relationship-building is underway. Grant proposals are being submitted, and more in-depth communications with existing supporters and “insiders” is underway. We are also investigating ways to enhance the Art Center’s annual membership program with new benefits (a few partners have been enlisted on the website), to cultivate and better involve members capable of giving more, and we are reaching out to new program partners.

Some 90% of all online donations come via MasterCard and VISA. A new online processing platform by Qgiv is providing more options for giving to the Art Center online, and a more sophisticated way to track those donations and event registrations. I set up the basic Qgiv system myself, and a volunteer is now also managing it going forward. I also enabled a DAF | Donor Advised Fund “widget” to the WordPress website.

Looking to the long-term, we have established a relationship with Giving Docs for cost-effective, secure Will making. More than half of Americans die without a Will, which throws their families into chaos and tough tax situations often arise as a result. By making a Will, one can avoid burdening family, while also supporting charitable organizations like the Port Aransas Art Center. We are working on future “campaigns” to help promote planned giving.

Adobe Spark

In 2018, the Port Aransas Art Center is embarked upon its first #GivingTuesday year-end giving campaign. To view my slide presentation about our campaign preparation and some of our graphic designs for social posting, see below. We hope this will be a new annual “tradition,” and that it will help the Art Center harness the traditional year-end giving season, which is when many choose to make their charitable donations.

At the outset of 2018, the Art Center’s leadership expressed a need for a new logo. We knew then we needed to upgrade the website, and I did that with WordPress. I suggested they consider the graphic design program at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, and TAMUCC stepped up to the plate in September. By the conclusion of 2018, website visitors saw dramatic changes to the website’s “brand” and overall look, as well as to the Art Center’s social postings. My PowerPoint shares a few of the designs, and we are all grateful to TAMUCC for supporting the Art Center is such a generous, creative way.

Last but not least, core work documents are being saved in the “cloud,” with access provided by secure link to key players including myself. In this way, if lost or misplaced they can be retrieved at any time and remotely from any location.

These are some of the projects on which I have worked for the Port Aransas Art Center. If you have questions, use the secure contact form on this website to reach me. And as always, consider making a donation to the Port Aransas Art Center today. Thank you!

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