We had the good fortune of connecting with Janeal Ford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Janeal, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Fordable Fundraising helps the community by supporting nonprofit leaders in their quest to raise more money for their charitable missions. Nonprofit teams are working on solutions to the most challenging issues of our day and are in a constant battle to raise money. Our company provides leaders the boost they need to help them grow their fundraising income long term.
For example, I worked with one newly hired Chief Executive Officer, who knew she needed help learning how to fundraise. She had many years of experience on the program side but hadn’t yet been directly responsible for fundraising. She needed help and leaned on us for guidance. Not only did we help with the grants, we supported and encouraged her each time she took steps to meet with current and prospective supporters. She is now a complete pro and her efforts have really paid off. Last year, her organization exceeded their fundraising goal by 30%. She recently shared a lovely card with me she had received from a prominent philanthropist. It had a nice check inside and conveyed gratitude for the work of their nonprofit in the community. Helping to nurture these meaningful connections between people committed to making a difference is how my company and I help the world.
What should our readers know about your business?
Please tell us more about your business. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about.
My business is Fordable Fundraising, a fundraising consulting firm headquartered in San Diego, California. We are focused on helping nonprofit leaders feel confident and successful in fundraising and achieve greater mission impact.
We work with charities focused in education, health/human services, and arts/culture. Our services include fundraising education, consulting, and grant services. In 2020, our team served 21 nonprofits and secured them more than $7 million dollars in grant money.
What sets us apart is our focus on sustainable, enduring change for nonprofit organizations. Our services offer depth. We aren’t a “one and done” kind of company.. We are committed to developing the internal systems nonprofits need to support long-term relationship building and growing momentum in fundraising.
How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I founded the company in 2014 after working in nonprofit fundraising for 15 years. Initially, it was me doing most of the work. Over time, I realized my vision was bigger and assembled a team and am now figuring out how to grow the business. Today, we operate with a team of six full- and part-time employees and a couple of contractors. My long-term dream is to be a seven figure firm providing transformative change in the areas of education, health/human service and arts/culture.
Owning a business is of the most difficult things I have ever done. Some days are more difficult than others. The key to being a successful business owner is knowing how and when to ask for help, learning how to delegate and being committed to personal growth. The top five key lessons I have learned along the way include:
- Identify your strengths and chase them. Delegate everything else.
- The clients who are a poor fit offer the best insights for the future.
- Ask for help often, and when you do, be specific in your requests. Make sure the person who wants to help has the abilities to carry it through to completion.
- When working with contractors, be explicit with expectations in the contract. If the agreement has vague language promising the sun, moon and stars, chances are you end up with a mediocre experience/service.
- Sacrificing your health isn’t worth it. Pace yourself and take breaks.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
As COVID-19 has proven to us, people need to work together to solve big scary problems. And having enough money to do it is an undeniable need for any problem-solving mission. Fordable Fundraising helps nonprofits ask for help. I want the world to know that when you need help asking for help, there is help for that too. That’s where Fordable Fundraising comes in.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc. In your view what are some of the most fun, interesting, exciting people, places or things to check out?
I have lived in San Diego for eight glorious years and love showing visitors my town. There is so much to see and do. Here is my suggested itinerary for a really amazing time:
-Catch the sunset at Sunset Cliffs, then fish tacos at Southbeach in Ocean Beach
-Hike Torrey Pines in Del Mar, beach time at Swami’s or Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
-Walk in Balboa Park and then visit the Japanese Friendship Garden
-Spend the day sport fishing off Point Loma with H&M Landing
-Enjoy a fancy dinner with sunset and city lights at Coasterra on Harbor Drive
-Hop on over to any number of amazing craft breweries – Mike Hess, Culture, and Modern Times are a couple of my favorites
-Taste a Mai Tai (just one!) at Bali Hai and then catch a concert at Humphreys on Shelter Island
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate this shoutout to the organization that gave me my start in the nonprofit sector: Volunteers of America, Utah. Every day this organization is changing lives and restoring hope for people with the greatest needs. They provide a variety of programs for people who are experiencing homelessness, mental health challenges, and alcohol and drug addiction. The staff and volunteers are amazing – they truly are some of the most compassionate people on the planet!
Volunteers of America, Utah was my first nonprofit job and I worked there for several years. I started as the Volunteer Coordinator/Grant Writer and left seven years later as the Development Director. One of the best parts of working for a nonprofit is the variety of work. I was given so many opportunities to learn and grow and this knowledge and experience continues to benefit me today. I am grateful to have been able to work with the team again through the grant services of Fordable Fundraising.