Lindsay Jordan is the founder and chief philanthropic adviser of Write On Fundraising. Her company helps nonprofit organizations meet their fundraising goals by providing expert-level grant writing, policy design, research and evaluation, and program development services.
How, where and when do you get your best ideas?
First thing in the morning, somewhere in between shuffling my kiddos and husband out the door and applying mascara. I like to use the mornings to get my game plan together, running through my meetings and the week's challenges in my mind, and in this quiet, high-charged time, I have come up with some killer ideas, both for my clients and my business. Just ask my mom. She's usually the first to hear about them and gets concerned if she doesn't receive at least one "Mom, guess what...!?" call per week.
What's a work tool or ritual that you couldn't live without?
My Scope of Work. It's a tool that I inherited in my first job out of college with a public relations firm, and it's become the hub of my entire organization system. Every Friday, I look one week ahead. I capture meetings, people, and special notes and under a heading for each client, list out the specific tasks I'll accomplish for them in the upcoming week - these tasks are tied back to separate task lists and budgets for each client, but you didn't ask about that :). Not only does my Scope of Work keep everything in motion for me, it provides a barometer for my own time management. Items marked off the list represent a sense of accomplishment; the more marked up a Scope, the better I feel about the week! If the paper isn't dripping with ink by Friday, something is up, and I know to look at how I'm managing my time and re-evaluate some priorities.
What skill would you like to master?
As a mom of a five- and two-year-old and a new business owner, I'm more interested than ever in the idea of "leaning in," which has come under all kinds of fire for not being a particularly inclusive philosophy. But it is an idea, at its core, that I think many women struggle with. Can I have it all? Do I want to have it all? What is "it all" anyway? Meeting the needs of both a young family and a young start-up is a daily challenge and a skill that I would most definitely like to master!
What advice would you give to someone seeking to launch or grow a business?
Know your market. I feel extremely fortunate to have experienced success pretty quickly with this venture, but I believe it has more to do with market demand than my prowess as an entrepreneur. I spent many months asking hard questions, conducting market research, and studying my field- one I have spent the last decade in!- before developing a business plan, and it's paid off ten-fold.
What's a big "win" you experienced in the past year?
Originally, I was doing a little vision-casting in my mission statement by announcing myself as a "national fundraising firm." I knew I would be; I just didn't know when. But I was intentional about writing it down, saying it out loud when giving my pitch, and really branding myself with it. It was important to me to be part of a global nonprofit support ecosystem. I thought, maybe in a year... well, it happened in less than six months. And completely organically. I'm proud to now serve Tulsa, Austin, and Denver. By the end of the year... who knows?
What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?
Hiring! I've recently started hiring contract grant writers and my goal is to bring on my first full-time staff by the end of the year. Hiring in and of itself is exciting, but for me it marks the start of the next chapter- scaling my business. And it will probably come as no surprise that I have BIG plans for that!
Why 36 Degrees North?
36 Degrees North has been an incredible place to find community, access start-up resources, generate referrals, and engage with mentors. I love showing off the facility to prospects and clients, I and appreciate the care and attention that 36°N staff show every day.
Do you want to give any shoutouts?
I am beyond thankful for Amy Hamilton at Tulsa Tech and her sage wisdom, but also for my "quad mates" and their patience for my endless questions and brainstorming! Big shoutouts to William Nozak, Robin Jones, and Ryan Redding!