We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Wilkinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The inspiration to start Moonlight Consulting is our son, Leo Moon Light, and my experience and interest in the nonprofit sector, which I share with Leo’s father, Ashok (Ash). Our motivation is to support organizations that are attempting to make the world (Leo’s world) a better place and act as catalysts for socio-economic transformation. Since we are currently involved in non-profit organizations (Ash and I are on the Board of the Legacy of Light Foundation, and Ash works for the Timbaktu Collective, a well-known nonprofit in southern India) we are “moonlighting” as specialists in the field, and contributing to a larger impact.
The nonprofit sector has always been a part of my professional life, first as a member of the viral video phenomenon that was Invisible Children, and then as one of three client verticals of wilkmazz, a San Diego-based law firm which I co-founded. When wilkmazz wound up in February, my ruminations on the next steps directed me back to the nonprofit space – and the immense satisfaction that it gave me.
I was also keen to partner with Ash and to take advantage of our complimentary skill sets and personalities. What better way to do this than by starting a consulting business? We then thought about what shape it would take. Since Ash and I were planning to divide our time between the U.S.A, India, and Bali, we had to consider having a virtual presence rather than a brick and mortar establishment. We could also make time-zones differences work in favour of our clients (they can expect an email from us along with their morning coffee). With the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, our choice of working virtually now feels even more relevant and prescient.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
We support nonprofit organizations with a range of services, including formation, fundraising, communications, and strategic planning. We are fully digital and don’t have an office – so our clients can reach us at their convenience by using video/audio conferencing. We provide a free consultation for any prospective client – our emphasis is always on what they actually need rather than trying to hard-sell our services. We allow our clients to focus on program planning and implementation by taking care of boring but important paperwork, which is done at a fixed, affordable, agreed-upon cost without any hidden costs. We like to think of ourselves as the guys working in the shadows to ensure that our clients have all the success and impact that they aspire towards.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Proud Goldenhillian here! Whenever my friends visit San Diego, I take them on a deep dive into the Golden Hill/Southpark area — my stomping grounds for nearly a decade. All of this is walkable… Brunch: Kindred… stop at Sonic Arts after to admire the amazing crystal selection and chat with the wizard who runs it. Lunch: Grab sandwiches from Grant’s Market and laze the day away at Balboa Park. Dinner: Luigi’s Pizza (casual); Counterpoint (less casual) Drinks: Hamilton’s (beer); Turf Club (cocktails) Repeat….
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to thank my co-founder, Ash, for his openness and support for starting our own venture – he has put up with my perfectionism and spent hours learning about how the nonprofit sector operates in the U.S. I am incredibly grateful for the influence and mentorship of my parents, who are both humanitarians – my father is a nonprofit consultant, historian, and conservationist while my mother is an illustrious activist and community organizer. I’m also inspired by my in-laws, who are the founders of Timbaktu Collective [http://www.timbaktu.org/], a nonprofit with a 30-year history that partners with more than 23,000 stakeholders.
Ubud Creative House, Bali