As 2017 approaches, I am reflecting on the work I’ve had the privilege to do this year on behalf of my clients, their missions, and those they serve.  I’m happy to say that Adaptive Alternatives LLC is growing and building a networked team of collaborators for the strategy and fundraising needs of nonprofit clients in Michigan and beyond. When I started Adaptive Alternatives LLC in 2014, I was optimizing for 3 things: fulfillment, impact, and flexibility. With consulting I rediscovered how much I love the steep learning curve of working with a new organization. I love the process of uncovering needs and co-creating plans, tools, and trainings that meet nonprofits where they are, but also build capacity for the future.

I am grateful

In 2014 I had 1 client engagement, 9 in 2015 and now 13 in 2016 with more to come in 2017. I want to thank the Executive Directors, staff and board members of these terrific client organizations for putting your trust in me in 2016:

2016 has been a year of growth, learning, and collaboration for me even in the midst of our divisive national climate. I wholeheartedly believe that the nonprofit sector will be essential in 2017 and beyond as our towns, our states and our nation wrestle with ever more complex social challenges. Now more than ever, we need to support the organizations and their leaders who are fighting for social justice and improved quality of life for all citizens on a day to day basis across all sectors.

As you are making your own year end gifts, I would encourage you to check out the organizations linked above and consider making a gift where your own philanthropic values align with their mission. I am happy to make personal introductions to any organizations you might want to learn more about or support. Each one of these organizations is making an impact, and they would welcome investments in their work!

Adaptive Alternatives is growing

As I look ahead to 2017 and plan how to provide the best service I can to nonprofits who are ready to adapt and thrive, I know that I can no longer do this alone. It’s time to grow wisely. So, I am asking for help, and that’s where you come in. I am looking to use a networked approach to build a team of collaborators for the specific needs of a variety client engagements related to strategic planning, fundraising, and organizational culture. I am hiring independent contractors in 2017 and may add employees at some point as needed.  While many of my clients are in Ann Arbor and Southeast Michigan, others are in Washington, DC and Northeast Indiana.  Some of the work I am doing would benefit from collaborators being in Michigan, but other work can be done remotely.

These are the specific skills I am seeking to join my network of collaborators:

  • Strategic planning: I am seeking MBA level strategy expertise, but with experience applying that knowledge to nonprofits.
  • Fundraising experience as a staff member or active volunteer: I am looking for people who understand the dynamics of relationship-based fundraising. People experienced in fundraising with individual donors and prospects using annual fund and major giving tools will complement my own experience. Those with corporate fundraising experience will broaden my expertise.
  • Writing: I am currently working with a great writer, and I’d like to identify other writers for various projects. I need great storytellers who understand how to help clients shape their messaging as to why donors should consider giving, in particular.
  • Foundation grant research and writing: Some of my clients need research on possible grant and foundation funding. I need people who are familiar with current foundation research tools. I am also looking for people who are experienced grant writers.
  • Prospect research (database work): I am considering buying a subscription to WealthEngine to provide a sophisticated but usually cost prohibitive prospect research to smaller nonprofits. Ideally, I need someone experienced with WealthEngine who can plan and run data queries for clients.  This tool is pretty intuitive, so anyone familiar with databases who also understands prospect research basics could also learn to do this work.
  • Prospect research (as a client service): I am also looking for organizations who are interested in prospect research services to help me spread out the high cost of WealthEngine itself ($4,500/year). I will be reaching out individually to organizations who may be ready to use this and other tools, but feel free to email me a if your organization is interested in a tool that summarized publically available giving data and can provide new prospect records. It’s a really powerful for any organization who is serious about raising more philanthropic support from individuals.
  • Data analysis and Excel skills:  I am also seeking experience with data analytics to help clients glean insights from their own giving data.

With any future collaborators, I am looking for flexibility, a desire to keep learning, and a love of mission-centered work. If you know of any colleagues or friends with any of these skills who may be interested in joining my network, please email or call me ( and 734-548-7710). Warm and enthusiastic referrals and ideas are always appreciated!

Thank you for your continued interest in the Adaptive Nonprofit blog this year. Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season!  Stephanie


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Stephanie Blackburn Freeth is the creator of The Strategy Tango.


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