Carolyn’s Portfolio | Port Aransas Art Center

This portfolio focuses on my work in the nonprofit sector, and a specific nonprofit I have come to adore, the Port Aransas Art Center.

Most nonprofit organizations want to raise significant donations, and most all of them deserve those leadership donations. 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.

Here are some of the activities on which I have embarked during 2018. I am working part-time, yet I work more than required because they are so deserving and their community is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

I often mention on my websites that I am “hands on.” I do most of my own work. 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 have tackled 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.

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 | 2018 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 are now working on securing it for 2019.

MailChimp | E-newsletters produced on a regular basis (once-monthly in this case), keep the drum beating in the hearts of nonprofit partners and supporters. They keep your nonprofit before your constituents, keep you 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, writing and design. 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 professional “take away” brochures at the front desk that provide basic information and provide basic information for future visits. Board member Laura Griffith and I produced a new “takeaway” 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.

Social Media

Facebook | The Port Aransas Art Center already had a successful Facebook page, but I got into the back-end, reformatted it specifically as a nonprofit organization, added background information, touched up postings, added a donate “button,” and more.

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 am 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. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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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