Nancy Dunleavy honored by The Philadelphia Business Journal


The Philadelphia Business Journal recognized Nancy Dunleavy, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Gwynedd Mercy University, as one of its Outstanding Directors for 2017.  The black tie awards dinner was held on February 23rd at the Union League of Philadelphia.

Nancy is the Founder & CEO of Dunleavy & Associates, a professional services firm dedicated to helping charitable organizations achieve their fullest potential.

Nominated by Dr. Kathleen Owens, the President of Gwynedd Mercy University, who went on to say, "Nancy brings such strength to our Board of Trustees, both her leadership skills, her ability to move the agenda forward and yet deal with the 25 other individuals who are active on our Board."

Nancy has been a trustee at Gwynedd Mercy since 2006 and is currently in her second term as Chairperson; she shared - "I am humbled to have been nominated by Gwynedd Mercy University and honored to have been selected among this esteemed group of colleagues.

The Philadelphia Business Journal says of its Outstanding Directors: "Behind every great company or organization is a great board of directors - people who are committed and tireless in the pursuit of excellence."

Nancy also serves on two other boards, The Board of Directors for the Union League of Philadelphia and the Alliance for Women Entrepreneurs.  Additionally, in 2016, she completed nine years of service on the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board.

Along with Nancy, those awarded the Outstanding Director Award include:

  • George W. Gephart Jr., President & CEO of the Academy of Natural Sciences; Trustee, Main Line Health board of governors who received the Lifetime Achievement Award;
  • Paul Beideman, President and CEO, Avenue of the Arts Inc., Vice-chair of Widener University's Board of Trustees
  • Walter Cressman, Board member of Penn Community Bank
  • Lauren Dougherty, Design Director at FS Investments, Board President of AIGA Philadelphia
  • Stan Silverman, Board member of Drexel University
  • Lloyd Freeman, Partner at Archer, Executive board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region
  • Mark Gittelman, Chief Practice Counsel - Asset Recovery at PNC Bank, Board member of Support Center for Child Advocates
  • Karen Higgins, President of A&E Communications, Immediate Past President of NAWBO Philadelphia Center for Advancing Entrepreneurs
  • Mildred Joyner, President of MCJ Consultants, Board member of DNB Financial
  • Jeffrey Lutsky, Managing Partner at Stradley Ronon, Board member of University of the Arts, Board member of Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA
  • Vin Milano, CEO of Idera Pharmaceuticals, Board member of Spark Therapeutics
  • Robert N.C. Nix III, Of Counsel, Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, Board member of FS Investment Corp. III
  • David Pudlin, President and CEO, Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin & Schiller; Board member, Mural Arts Philadelphia

An Abundance of Gratitude


Each year, as we prepare to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday, reflecting upon the gifts present in our lives becomes customary. This time of year provides a special moment of reflection for me, personally, as it coincides with the founding of Dunleavy & Associates.

Throughout the past 15 years, it has been a sincere pleasure to lead and steward the growth and evolution of our firm. I have had the opportunity to hone my superpower for finding great talent; we’ve recruited some of the most talented professionals in the field – women and men with whom I have had the fortune to work and from whom I have learned so much. For each of you, past and present, I am grateful.

I am a big believer in the power of gratitude. I practice it each day, personally and professionally. It has become a daily mantra, waking me up to notice all of the gifts in my life, ever thankful for another day of leading a team that excels at creating sustainable ways to improve the organizations with which we are privileged to collaborate.

We are each stronger due, in large part, to those who are a significant and integral presence in our lives-motivators, teachers, mentors and, most importantly, friends and family. These are the people who provide scaffolding around us in times of triumph, challenge, vulnerability, risk-taking and reward. I am grateful for their honesty, transparency, counsel and the encouragement they provide without hesitation.

As you gather around the table to enjoy a meal this Thursday, take a moment or two (really, as many moments as it takes) to look around at all that is good and brings you joy. THIS, my friends, is what matters most.

On behalf of Dunleavy & Associates, we wish you and all whom you hold dear a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.


In gratitude, 

Don’t Go Dark: Stay Connected with Constituents During the Summer Months

megan-lepore-h By Megan Lepore

Ah, summer. Warmer weather, vacations, and memories with family and friends.

And over two months of potential radio silence from an organization’s constituents as they “go off the grid” for fun in the sun.

But, alas, this doesn’t have to be the experience of all nonprofits. The secret to success is strategizing and preparing several meaningful touch points including communication and fundraising that allow you to stay in front of your constituents and for them to remain engaged in your work.

It’s true that once the calendar turns to June, donors are counting the days until school is out and packing bags for vacation. Meanwhile, many nonprofits are preparing for the end of their fiscal year and looking ahead to the next.

Not too far behind is July – representing the beginning of the third quarter and what can typically be a “slow month” relative to donations and activities.

However, there are ways to make sure your supporters don’t forget the sunscreen or your organization. Here are a few ideas to pack away:

Go where your donors are. The summertime can be a great time to plan a grassroots fundraiser with your constituent base at the beach. A small event may be the perfect platform for a more laid back event (beach attire vs. formal attire), such as a happy hour, reunion or family fun event. Depending on the format of the event, the goal may be to host a fundraiser and/or a “friendraiser”. Either way, organizations can raise awareness and engage constituents at a time when they may not have otherwise.

Give your constituents some beach reading. Consider mailing out a quick “end of fiscal year” infographic with a letter highlighting accomplishments – essentially a precursor to an annual report to be mailed at a later date. This can also be sent in electronic form to your donor base for those who just can’t seem to truly disconnect from it all while on vacation.

Know the alternative addresses for your donors. As an organization gets to know its donor base, more personal information tends to be shared. This includes any seasonal change of address for donors who are snowbirds and spend off seasons in the Florida Keys or those who have summer homes. Knowing this information will help to ensure that your message reaches the right audience in a timely manner. In addition, take advantage of the “down time” and work with a mail house to conduct a NCOA (National Change of Address) update to your mailing list (best practice is at least once per year). This is an investment in the integrity of your database, and your postage budget!

Save the Dates for upcoming events. Though we don’t want to ever rush through the delight of summer, there is always planning to be done for upcoming events. Don’t forget to remind constituents of events and opportunities to be engaged that are on the horizon. If at all possible, offer early registration rates for events to begin to build your guest count. Determine if printed or electronic pieces are the best option for your organization.

Conversational Communication. Take a cue from the season and adjust the tone of your communication with constituents. Enjoy the opportunity to be more relaxed in your messages, and even have a little fun with them. For example, posts on social media can be converted to more activity based links than consistent programmatic updates. Share information about community events hosted by your partners, or offer timely tips related to water safety, educational opportunities, child safety, family friendly activities, etc. While making new memories, don’t hesitate to share a few throwback photos.

However you decide to communicate with your constituents during the summer months, continue to be purposeful in your approach. There are always opportunities to engage new supporters and steward current ones.

Happy summer!

About the author: Megan Lepore is a Senior Project Manager at Dunleavy & Associates and has more than 12 years of development experience in the fields of healthcare, education and human services. She holds a Master of Science in Communication Management from Temple University, where she has also taught undergraduate courses in speech communication, public relations and news writing. Building strategic communication plans, corporate sponsorship, grant writing, foundation relations and event planning round out her professional expertise.

Should a nonprofit hire a consultant to lead its executive leadership search?

The executive leader of your organization is leaving and now your team is faced with the tremendous task of finding a replacement. You're having visions of late nights spent sifting through resumes, reviewing interview notes, and calling various board members while searching for the perfect candidate.

Worried there might not be enough coffee in the world to get through the process, you consider seeking outside help. But do you really need to hire a consultant? What would you get for your money? And can you really afford it in the first place?

Staff members at Dunleavy & Associates have helped dozens of nonprofit organizations standing at these critical crossroads find the answers they need. The first thing we advise our clients to do is develop a positive mindset about the whole process: Anxiety is normal, but so much can be accomplished when you focus on the opportunity presented. This is a unique moment to regroup as an organization and bring together team members, board members, and stakeholders to reflect on the past and plan for the future.

The leader’s impending departure creates a tremendous amount of pressure to post the position and start receiving resumes. This is a knee-jerk mistake. First you need to take a step back and determine, "What is our strategy for the next era?" and "Who do we need to lead that strategy?"

An outside consultant can provide valuable insight in guiding this internal discovery process. Specifically, the consultant can help you identify responsibilities that should be in the executive director’s job description and responsibilities that should be shifted to other senior members of your team. Clarifying the job description will allow you to develop a posting that reflects your current needs and attracts the right candidate. You'll not only engage existing leadership and strengthen your organization, but also set a clear path of priorities for the incoming executive director.

If this is the first time in institutional memory that you are seeking a new leader, it's easy to underestimate the amount of work that goes into a search. Even if you're not planning to restructure responsibilities, a lot of groundwork is needed to ensure a strong foundation for the process.

Doing the groundwork is too big a job for one person; you'll need to form a transition team. Ideally, this team blends expertise from across your organization, including finance, communications, analysis, and even organizational psychology. In our experience, the team will need to devote more than twenty hours of combined time each week and have the ability to successfully lead focus groups, communicate with stakeholders, frame out operational priorities, and, of course, lead a comprehensive search for your new leader.

If your organization lacks the skills, knowledge, or time needed to conduct a search in this manner, it's likely that an outside consultant is needed. Hiring an executive director is one of the most important decisions an organization can make, and even a high-caliber candidate may turn out to be the wrong choice for a nonprofit if compatibility pitfalls aren't identified and avoided.

You don't need to break the bank to get outside help, either. Any good consulting agency knows that many nonprofits operate on tight budgets, and will work with clients to share responsibilities and minimize fees. Hiring a firm such as Dunleavy & Associates means you won't waste time learning how to conduct a search and ensures you'll find the best possible leader for your organization.


Four Tips for a Successful Volunteer Program

Cheryl Pompeo

Cheryl Pompeo

Most nonprofits readily embrace the idea of a volunteer program. Every nonprofit has tasks they lack resources to complete and enjoy having help from individuals who support their mission. However, starting a volunteer program and keeping it running is something to approach with care. Here are some tips to ensure your volunteer program runs smoothly.

Spread the word. One of the best ways to recruit volunteers is to be highly visible in the community. This can take several forms. Spread the word about your activities by having a good website and being actively engaged on social media. Use current volunteers to recruit new volunteers — people sympathetic to your cause often have friends who also identify with your mission. It’s hard to predict who will be drawn to your mission or good works, so exposing the largest possible number of people to your nonprofit is the best way to attract volunteers. Make sure all your communications project a clear brand and message and get your name in front of community members as often as possible by participating in local events where you can interact with like-minded people.

Focus on fit. Often, a volunteer will say “I’ll do whatever you need me to do,” but a nonprofit needs to drill deeper and find the right role for the volunteer. It’s always best to go over the opportunities and help guide a volunteer to select a role in which they will find value and feel they can make an impact. Putting someone in a job just because it has to be done can backfire if it isn’t a good fit for the volunteer. Get to know your volunteers. Talk to them and find out what attracts them to the work you do. Once you know your volunteers’ interests and motivations, you can find roles in your organization that suit their preferences and personalities.

Show appreciation. The relationship with volunteers must be stewarded like any other. Talk to volunteers to learn what type of recognition is most meaningful. Some volunteers are modest and don’t want accolades. Some enjoy having their photo in Facebook, whereas others really feel adequately rewarded by a warm and heartfelt thank you note. Creating opportunities for regular interaction with other volunteers and holding volunteer events can reinforce your appreciation and keep volunteers connected to your organization.

Check in regularly. It’s good to have ongoing contact with volunteers. As the relationship develops, ask for their feedback. After an event, ask what they think went well or didn’t? How would they have done things differently? Invest time in showing that you value your volunteer’s opinion. The stronger the relationship becomes, the more likely it is that the volunteer will bring more resources and contacts, which would be a long term win for the organization.

Whether your nonprofit is starting a new volunteer program or wants to improve an existing one, Dunleavy can help. We work with institutions large and small to build programs that set them—and their volunteers—up for success. To learn more about what Dunleavy & Associates can do for your nonprofit, contact us today.

About the author: Cheryl Pompeo is Senior Project Manager at Dunleavy & Associates. She brings nearly a decade of experience in special event and volunteer management experience to the firm. Formerly a Director of Special Events and a Regional Executive Director for a Philadelphia area healthcare nonprofit, Cheryl also specializes in campaign fundraising, corporate development, donor cultivation, board and committee development, and program delivery. Cheryl uses her knowledge to help Dunleavy’s clients strategically plan and implement endurance events, including walks, runs, and marathon campaigns.