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 and private-sector 501(c)3 nonprofits.

Her approach is based on a simple analysis of all aspects of the organization, based on her guide, The One-Hour Organizational Assessment.  Although the client may think, for example, that lack of adequate funding is their main problem, Donnellan knows that the majority of time it is a symptom of a much deeper issue.  She sees her job as a consultant is to not tell the client what is the problem, but to help the client discover the problem(s) themselves and then to provide guidance to develop workable solutions to build organizational capacity and sustainability.


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 people solely based on the way they look.  Although Sophie can also become a comedy routine on aging, the character is also a very effective metaphor for self-image.


Marilyn DonnellanWriter

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 management, as well as a book on church management.

What makes her material unique is that everything is published as Word and pdf documents with lots of templates that can be quickly changed to fit each nonprofit. Training modules, based on the Hour Series, which include PowerPoints, instructor notes and sample handouts are also available. The material is available in the Product Area.

Her material is in use in over a dozen countries around the world. The Complete Guide to Church Management has been translated into Chichewa, the native language of The Republic of Malawi, Africa.

The ability to quickly figure out exactly what a nonprofit needs to build sustainability makes Marilyn Donnellan unique among consultants. With more than 30 years experience, both as a nonprofit chief executive officer and consultant, gives her a wide breadth of knowledge.

In 2015 she stepped into different genres by publishing her first fiction novel on domestic violence, Give til it Hurts, based on her experiences working with nonprofits serving in that sector. She also published an auto-biography, Two Faces of Me, which is a candid look at her personal journey from abuse and attempted suicide to a positive self-image.

Charity Channel is set to release three books by Donnellan in 2016, in a new series, Nonprofit Management Simplified.

In order to expand the reach of her field-tested material, Donnellan offers Authorized Dealer licensing agreements for nonprofit consultants and associations of nonprofits. Contact her at for more information.



lormanDonnellan 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 is a week-long training or a two-hour workshop, each training agenda is adapted to the needs of the participants.  The inter-active approach she uses virtually eliminates the possibility anyone will fall asleep in her classes.  In fact, her motto is, “The mind can absorb only what the posterior can endure.”

She developed a set of 14 training modules, based on The Hour Series of Guides for Nonprofit Management that are easily adaptable to any nonprofit.  She often uses these training modules for her webinars.