In my coaching with Sara Jane, I have achieved heightened understanding of the nuanced nature of being an Executive Director and the balance success requires, in all facets of our operation. While it’s still difficult to do, I’ve been able to see STEM Coding Lab as a business much more than I ever did prior to Sara Jane’s coaching. Our sustained commitment to a fee for service programming model is essential to ensure sustainability, and Sara Jane did wonders in reinforcing the importance of that model. My understanding of development is much more sophisticated now, following her coaching – I’m now much more deliberate in my approach to all facets of development, particularly with individual donors. The realigned perception of my job that Sara Jane nurtured has proven essential to my organization’s success. Do you see yourself signing up for additional sessions? Yes!
Casey Mindlin, Executive Director, Stem Coding Lab – Pittsburgh
What was the issue you had before hiring me? We needed to develop a data collection system to help us monitor the effectiveness of our programming and be able to measure outcomes. Having data from both our students, teachers or administrators of the school or after-school program helps us to see what is working and what needs to be changed.
What inspired you to work with me? Having had several conversations with you about running a nonprofit, it was clear to me that you had years of valuable experience that could help us in tackling this task.
What result did I help you to achieve? You helped us to develop our Theory of Change model and helped us to recognize all the constituents that play a role in our mission who need to be heard from – student participants, their parents, teachers, staff, volunteers, donors etc. You helped us develop surveys to help us measure our program impact. In just a very short period of time you helped me realize how much work there is to do! You are a gem! And your experience and your ability to ask & solve the many, many questions facing a nonprofit are invaluable.
Kathleen Conlogue, CFO & Advisor to the Board
As a brand new Executive Director [at SWSG], securing a development coach was the best advice I’d ever taken. Sara Jane was not only knowledgeable but she had been in my shoes and was familiar with the common challenges faced by non-profits. She helped me navigate exciting development opportunities and complex board dynamics as well. When running a small non-profit, it’s easy to neglect the bigger picture while getting bogged down in the weeds, she helped me hold myself accountable to the larger goals I’d set for myself and the organization. Sara Jane is well respected in the funding community and provided valuable insight, connections, and guidance based on her own successful fundraising career. She’s a thoughtful leader who took a vested interest in my personal and professional success. Sara Jane genuinely cared about the mission of the organization and her passion was delightfully contagious!
Sara Jane Lowry is a dedicated and incredibly skilled fundraiser. She is organized, easy to work with, and passionate about her work raising money for nonprofits. Sara Jane took a flailing annual fund campaign and turned it into a flourishing fundraiser. She focused the board’s efforts and diversified our donor base to include major gifts, in addition to small annual contributions. Sara Jane’s skills in grant-writing were very successful, as she was able to secure a number of grants for library programs. She was also key to building the board and training board members, many of whom were serving on their first board.
I asked her to present a seminar on fundraising strategies to small nonprofit organizations as part of Congressman Jason Altmire’s grants workshop series. She was well received by the audience members, and they felt her presentation was extremely valuable.
Jennifer Buchanan Rapach,
Policy Director at Pennsylvania Dept. of Labor & Industry
Sara Jane and I have worked together several times along the way: Pittsburgh Schweitzer Fellows Program, the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, the Northland Public Library Foundation, the Consumer Health Coalition … each time SJ was nothing but professional and a joy to work with.
Sara Jane Lowry took our Library Foundation from an organization that knew very little about fundraising, generating a minimal amount of revenue to a Board that is now involved in a Capital Campaign. ….before we hired Sara Jane, with enthusiastic but inexperienced leadership, we were barely effective. She redefined our roles as board and committee members, so now our meetings are both interesting and educational. She has a deep understanding of both strategic fundraising and Board successfulness. The best part…..she has helped us to more than quadruple our fundraising efforts!
There is no doubt in my mind that our organization could not have developed as well as it did without Sara Jane. Her knowledge and experience regarding organization development, board development, fundraising and relationship development of key donors was absolutely invaluable for us to change from a community based organization with little focus into a professional board and organization with clear goals and focus.
Sara Jane is an extraordinarily competent and reliable individual with a wealth of knowledge regarding nonprofit organizations, board operations, and comprehensive fundraising efforts. I simply cannot say what a pleasure it was to work with Sara Jane.
Sara Jane is a knowledgeable and inspiring fundraising professional. Her advice has been vital to helping me make a career transition to working in development for a public library. Sara Jane’s willingness to share her expertise in nonprofit fundraising through a mentoring relationship was a key factor in building a successful campaign. I am pleased to recommend her as a coach.
Sara Jane brought ideas, energy and expertise to a number of projects at ACLA. She had great insight into both the big-picture ideas as well as project management issues.
Ms Lowry was instrumental in helping Consumer Health coalition to secure a large governmental grant to support our work to get uninsured kids health insurance. She is an excellent writer, efficient, and a hard worker. We are so happy to have had the opportunity to work with her and will not hesitate to contact her again in the future.