Louise Yokoi, Principal, Anchor & Seed Philanthropic Consulting
Like most of us in development, Louise came to the nonprofit world through an interesting and circuitous path. She started working in sales in the book publishing field, followed by a stint as an educator in public schools. She then attended grad school in museum studies at JFKU, which led to a new career working as a fundraiser.
She says of the transition, “Throughout my various careers, helping make the world a better place has been the common theme, so it makes perfect sense that I’m working with nonprofit organizations. I’m happiest and most motivated when my work is aligned with my personal philosophies and ethical outlook on life.
Louise feels that her diverse career experiences enable her to be a more successful fundraiser, strategic thinker, and interim leader. She explains, “In an organization, we often wear many hats besides our role as a fundraiser. My experiences in the corporate field and education have given me both hard skills such as strategic planning, marketing, and graphic design, as well as soft skills including leadership, teamwork, problem-solving and adaptability. I believe that effective nonprofit organizations grow and thrive by learning from other fields.”
Louise finds that curiosity is directly related to being an effective fundraiser, “As a consultant who can be working with 2-3 clients at one time, being curious encourages me to ask questions and helps me get up to speed very quickly with new clients and staff. Curiosity motivates me to get to know board members, donors, and funders in a meaningful way. I have a natural ability and desire to work on improving and amplifying fundraising and other organizational efforts. I particularly enjoy developing new strategies and systems to make nonprofits more successful at fundraising, marketing, and communicating their impact to funders and the public. ”
When asked what she’s seen change in the 10 years she’s worked in development, she answers, “In the last 2-3 years I’ve seen nonprofits struggle to recruit and retain both new and experienced fundraising professionals. This is due to multiple factors related to the Bay Area environment: including the high cost of living and the difficulty in paying competitive salaries, compounded by tech companies’ ability to offer high salaries and rapid career advancement opportunities. I’m very interested in thinking about the long-term health of our field and nonprofit organizations in general. What are the new strategies for attracting, developing, and training the next generation of fundraisers? I’d like to see fundraisers, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and other groups coming together to solve this pressing issue because nonprofits cannot meet their missions and survive without skilled fundraisers.”
Louise has been a member of DER off and on for three years. When her consulting schedule allows, she attends the monthly luncheons and Hank Rosso Forum. “As a consultant who often works at home by myself and doesn’t work full-time with one organization, I value being part in the DER community of fundraisers” she explains, “I enjoy catching up with my wonderful fundraising colleagues and meeting new ones at DER events.”
Outside of work, Louise enjoys hiking in Oakland Hills and Marin County, urban treks in SF, skiing, searching out vintage neon signs, and researching her next travel destination. She adds, “I’m happy that I’ve discovered the joy of traveling by myself (in between trips with my partner and friends). I’m proud that I can travel alone anywhere in the world to experience the wonders of other cultures and make new friends wherever I go.”