Sara Lawson, MPA, CFRE, CPCC, brings 20+ years’ leadership experience to support organizations and individuals with big dreams and ambitious goals. Sara is passionate about the role that mission-inspired companies and organizations have in strengthening communities. She also knows that leadership can be fulfilling AND frustrating, even for dedicated, skilled, and creative people. Sara is a consultant, coach, facilitator, speaker, and the creator of Gauge Leadership Lab and Moxie: A Leadership Salon Series for Women. These leadership development programs bring together small groups of leaders to uncover new insights, develop courageous visions, share big laughs, and champion each other’s progress along the way. Sara’s guidance offers her clients the tools and inspiration to address big challenges, do their best work, make a meaningful difference, and have fun doing it.
Sara has served as an executive director, interim executive director, front-line volunteer, program director, committee chair, board member, and mentor. She draws upon experience in the arts, higher education, health care, and public radio, and has honed her expertise through her work with clients in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. She is also a proud advocate for Arts Corps—the largest, nonprofit arts education organization in the greater Seattle area—where she currently serves as board president.
A dedicated advocate of life-long learning, Sara teaches graduate-level courses on nonprofit leadership at Seattle University. A Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), she obtained her MPA from the University of Alaska Southeast and a BA in Psychology from Trinity College. She received her executive coach training and certification through the ICF-accredited Coaches Training Institute. A workshop enthusiast, she has pursued an eclectic range of interests, including improv comedy, meditation, pop-up book construction, and marketing. Still on the shortlist: Italian, mediation, yoga teacher training, and metal casting.
Originally from New England, with long stretches in Quebec and Alaska, Sara landed in Seattle in 2007. In her free time, she can be found biking, reading, dabbling in textiles, practicing yoga, binge-watching TV dramas, and delighting in the company of her family and friends.
Unlike most of my articles for Nonprofit Notes, this one is not for my colleagues who are nonprofit professionals or experienced volunteers. This article is for you if your career has taken a different path, but you are wondering if a job in the nonprofit sector might...read more
If you’ve ever been on a nonprofit Board during an ED transition, one of the first questions you are likely to tackle is whether and how staff members should be involved in the search. At Clover Search Works, we get asked about this a lot, and we do have a point of...read more
Some of the most effective leaders I know make learning a priority: for themselves, for their teams, and for their organizations. Skillful leaders tend to be naturally curious about new ideas and different perspectives. They have vision and opinions, for sure, but...read more
One of the first questions I ask my non-profit clients who want to strengthen their major gift program is this: “Tell me about your current donor engagement strategies? What do you offer your donors in terms of meaningful experiences to inspire them to increase their...read more
Throughout my time as a fundraising consultant, I’ve found that many nonprofit organizations only use the bottom line to measure their fundraising success. Whether you’re using a development revenue report, or simply the monthly financial statements, relying solely on...read more
You’ve joined the Board of an organization you care deeply about that is addressing an issue, problem, or opportunity in a way that you think is absolutely vital. If only the development director wasn’t pestering you all the time to fundraise from your friends. You...read more