Hour Series guides sold


"Core Elements of a Successful Nonprofit" books and CDs sold


Nonprofits strategic planning sessions facilitated


Nonprofit boards of directors trained

Services by Marilyn L. Donnellan, MS


Since she has served as the chief executive officer in nonprofits with annual budgets ranging from $150,000 to $6 million, Donnellan is uniquely qualified to provide consulting services to nonprofits of all sizes.  She has consulted with hundreds of nonprofits of all types and sizes: governmental agencies, chambers of commerce, associations of nonprofits, faith-based organizations…


Nationally known as an engaging, humorous and motivational speaker, Donnellan is qualified to speak on a wide range of topics, including: All aspects of nonprofit management Public policy advocacy Self-image Management Excellence Self-publishing Leadership Faith-based topics She often appears at her public speaking venues dressed as her alter-ego, Sophie Longhoofer, to illustrate how we judge…


Frustrated at the lack of material easily adaptable to the needs of smaller nonprofits, Donnellan published her first book, Core Elements of a Successful Nonprofit, in 2000 to address those needs. Since then she has published a set of 17 guides, The Hour Series of Guides for Nonprofit Management, which cover all aspects of nonprofit…


Donnellan is an experienced and highly qualified, nationally known facilitator and trainer.  She has taught classes on how to do training.  She consistently gets the highest possible marks from attendees at her workshops and webinars.  She uses a variety of facilitation and training methods and firmly believes in group involvement rather than lecture. Whether it…

Latest From The Blog

Technology Risks – Part I

How can you avoid all the risks associated technology and software in your nonprofit without bankrupting the organization? With cyber security a huge issue, it almost seems like you are fighting a losing battle, doesn’t it? The first step in addressing technology risks is to understand the problems and identify the risks, then you will…

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The Core Elements of a Successful Nonprofit

It didn’t take me long in my first nonprofit to discover that I felt extremely fragmented trying to do my job.  How in the world was I going to handle all the essential aspects of nonprofit management when I was the only staff person?  I sat at my desk, one day, my head in my…

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Should Board Training be a Requirement?

The two most frequently identified issues hindering a nonprofit’s efforts to build capacity and sustainability are: An ineffective board of directors Lack of on-going strategic planning How did I come to that conclusion?  After working with hundreds of nonprofits, I must confess that identification of these two issues occurs when a nonprofit comes to me…

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Academic Purity vs. Practical Reality

I love discussing new and exciting approaches to serving communities within the nonprofit sector.  But I also get frustrated sometimes that too often there is such a huge gap between theory and practical reality. Two discussions that appear with frequency in several LinkedIn discussion groups are related to strategic planning processes and board governance.  There…

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Client Organizations That I Work With

Let's Hear What Clients Have To Say

“I used to work for a Fortune 500 (company)…I was frequently involved in strategic planning sessions…Your book is better than what our professionals put together.”

Brian J. Eldridge,
Executive Director

Tioga United Way, Inc., Owego, NY

“Marilyn’s approach to engaging the attendees in the training was enjoyable, helpful and compelling. The focus on self-assessment was key.”

Scott Chapman

Clean the World

“Thank you so much for the (board) training today! I think that’s exactly what we needed to get motivated and take the organization to the next level. I’ll happily serve as a reference for any prospective clients who might be wondering why they should gather their board to do this.”


Daniel D. Whitehouse, Esq.

“This book is among the best I’ve seen for practitioners in the industry/field of managing nonprofit organizations…easy to understand…user friendly, practical, and creative…the perfect complement to the…expertise of the…executive-in- charge.”

H. Lovell Mosely


United Way Worldwide

“Marilyn writes from years of experience in the nonprofit world. The topics that she covers are relevant to the day in and day out operations of a nonprofit, the materials are easy to read and to begin to implement. The tools and examples are excellent resources!”

Paula Whetro, PhD

President/Executive Director

Building Blocks Ministries, Inc.

About Marilyn L. Donnellan, MS

Marilyn L. Donnellan, MS, fortuitously fell into nonprofit management when the editor of the newspaper where she was working as a reporter suggested she apply for the executive director position of a small nonprofit. Over the next twenty-plus years, she enthusiastically served in five nonprofits, ranging in size from a single staff organization with a…

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