An introduction to Sally and Philanthropy Studio

Posted on September 06 2013

A little more than a year ago I took a big leap.  I gave notice to my supervisor telling him that in 90 days I was leaving Our House and starting my own fundraising consulting business that I would call Philanthropy Studio. (gulp)  I was planning on leaving a job I loved with people I greatly admired and respected. I was letting go of a steady paycheck from an organization that raised more money during the downturn than it ever had before.  I was doing something that was just this side of crazy and yet I knew I would go crazy if I didn’t. I had that feeling you get when your favorite shoes have started to wear out and you don’t want to get rid of them but you know at any moment the heel is going to fall off.  It was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and get a new pair of shoes. 

I am by nature a teacher and I had something to share.  I had been successful leading the Development Department at Our House for seven years.(In the Development world that is more like dog years than human years.)Not only did I want to help organizations learn how to do a better job of finding and keeping donors, I wanted to help the profession. Development Directors are like dragonflies hopping from one agency to the next and then too often leaving the field (or pond, if you want to stick with the analogy) altogether. The statistics are deeply troubling and because I love this profession and have a passion for philanthropy, I decided I wanted to do something to help change it.

What I have learned in the last year is that my clients approach me the same way I approached my boss. They want to do something bigger. What they are doing now isn’t working and they need help making their leap.  Let’s face it, leaping is scary.  Isn’t walking over a bridge a lot easier?  This is what I do with my clients. I help them find the right path and a bridge that leads them to more consistent economic security so their mission, which they have such great passion for, can grow.

I hold hands. I cheer. I educate. I help identify strong suits and places where there can be improvement.  What I have learned is that I look for success before my client can see it and then I show them how to reach it.  Most people would rather get a bad haircut than ask for money.  I show them that it is not as painful and awkward as they think it is and it can even be fun. Does this sound like you?  Contact me and we can talk.

Always yours,


P.S. A special thank you to all of my clients who took a leap of faith and hired me to help them cross their bridges. I am forever grateful for your support: Dress for Success Oregon, Fishtrap, NW Mothers Milk Bank, Parrott Creek Child and Family Services, Portland Homeless Family Solutions, Sacred Earth Foundation, and Tucker Maxon Oral School.



Sally Bixby of Philanthropy Studio

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