Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones

Work History

Work History
Aug 2007 - Present

Consultant

I am currently working as a freelance consultant serving area non-profits. I specialize in fundraising events, volunteer engagement, public relations & research projects.

  • The Friends of the Sangamon Valley - Development Advisor - 2012          

Wrote appeal letters & press releases for the annual fundraiser event and assisted with the creation of a public relations plan for the organization.

  • Girls on the Run of Central Illinois - 5k Race Director - 2011/12           

Served as 5k director for the spring & fall Girls on the Run 5k community events. Recruited volunteers, managed marketing, site logistics, vendor contracts & event entertainment. The race draws more then 1200 runners from the GOTR programs & the local community.   

  • Diocesan Council of Catholic Women - Event Coordination Advisor - 2010

Consulted on fundraising & site logistics during the planning & production of the 2010 annual convention held in Springfield, IL.

  • Illinois Symphony Orchestra - Development Manager - 2008-2010

Served as database administrator, managed volunteer relations, donor communications, revenue generating special events (including the annual dinner/auction gala), the annual fund, grant development & reporting, season ticket renewals (which had an 80% renewal rate in '09 & '10) & fundraising income accounting.

  • Sangamon Valley Youth Orchestra - Development Advisor - 2009

Managed the 2009 annual fund appeal, worked with office staff to sell ads & create the season program guides and developed the project plan of a major fundraiser event.

  • WUIS 91.9 NPR Station - Development & Promotions Assistant - 2009

Scheduled & scripted day sponsorships, processed gifts, coordinated arrangement & implementation of promotional events, assisted with station & donor appreciation events and pledge week activities for the spring & fall fund drives.

  • AFS-USA Intercultural Programs - Springfield Project Manager  - 2007/08

Promoted AFS to high schools, arranged classroom presentations, worked with students on application preparation, created a volunteer scholarship committee & interviewed all 40 student applicants, handled promotions, public relations & events relating to the scholarship program (coordinated one of the largest info sessions in the history of AFS exchange, an awards presentation at a local historic site, student retreat days, etc.). Six students from Springfield traveled with AFS in the summer of 2008 after nearly seven years of lapsed community involvement with the program.

  • Y-Me National Breast Cancer Organization  -  Event Coordinator - 2007/08

Produced the Mother's Day "Walk to Empower" 5k in Springfield, which raised over $80,000, as well as 8 smaller events. I was responsible for marketing, acquiring sponsorships, negotiating vendor contracts, site logistics, volunteer development & team recruitment.

2007 - Present

Special Events Coordinator

United Cerebral Palsy - Land of Lincoln

Managed all events conducted on behalf of UCP in regards to fundraising & mission advancement as well as agency marketing, promotions and volunteer development.

  • Wrote the quarterly newsletter & all press releases, maintained the official website and oversaw advertising to advocate the agency & inform the community of UCP’s services.
  • Coordinated the annual casino night/auction fundraiser which raised over $90,000 for the children’s department, the annual telethon raising $300,000 & the “Barstool Open” mini golf event that raised $16,000 (which was a 20% increase in participants & a 15% increase in income for 2007).
  • Assisted with the creation of an “Art Stars” awards program in partnership with a local gallery & the Mayor’s office, which is now an annual event, to promote the summer camp & day program individuals artwork.
2005 - 2007

Membership Coordinator

Illinois Environmental Council

IEC is a membership based nonprofit lobbying firm that works to ensure critical environmental legislation is being addressed in the state of Illinois. My role at IEC was to grow the membership base & help the members remain engaged in the issues we were promoting as well as working on fundraising projects for educational outreach.

  • Implemented a membership renewal calendar & mailing sequence to create monthly income from membership fees.
  • Assisted with the coordination of major fundraising events such as the annual leadership dinner in Chicago & the inaugural “Rolling on the River” biking fundraiser/ earth awareness fair held on the Fox River in Yorkville, IL.
  • Conducted research on issues for the lobbying team & for grant opportunities.
1999 - 2005

Advancement & Enrollment Departments (3 positions)

The Ursuline Sisters School System of Springfield, IL

Enrollment Advisor - Ursuline Academy 3/2005 – 11/2005 I was promoted this position from SCI after UA was purchased by Benedictine University to work on bringing enrollment to a sustainable level after years of steady decline. This involved actively recruiting as well as meeting with currently enrolled students to address retention issues.• Developed an admissions policy, financial aid guidelines & curriculum plan - streamlining the entrance process which increased enrollment by 20% for the 2005/06 school year within five months.• Promoted the school to untraditional constituencies & marketed the academy to local businesses which increased non-Catholic and minority enrollment. Advancement Coordinator - Springfield College in Illinois 8/2000 – 4/2005Over five years I streamlined the advancement office systems. The department was responsible for all fundraising, alumni relations and marketing for the college. • Implemented Blackbaud fundraising software (replacing Microsoft Works & a typewriter) & directed the manual conversion of 70 years worth of alumni/fundraising records. This lead to an increase in alumni involvement and contributions. • Coordinated commencement weekend, fundraising/promotional events & press conferences. • Wrote a ‘policy and procedures’ manual for the advancement office regarding database & event issues. Researched & wrote parts of the college catalog, press releases, donor communications, the alumni newsletter & annual report and parts of grants. Assisted with public relations issues during the 2003 administrative transfer to Benedictine University. Advancement Assistant - Ursuline Academy 3/1999 – 7/2000 Organized production of the quarterly newsletter, worked on fundraising & alumni events, created a filing system for financial & recruitment records, assisted with the student ambassador team and promotional/public relations projects.

Education

Education

A.A.

Springfield College in Illinois

B.A.

University of Illinois - Springfield

Project Managed Graphic Design

Software Skills

  • Convio
  • Easy-Ware’s Total Info
  • Blackbaud’s Raiser’s Edge
  • Sage Fundraising Software
  • Donor Perfect
  • Microsoft Office Products
  • Auctionpay
  • Adobe Photoshop (editing skills - still learning design)

Training & Conferences

2013 - Leadership Development Training by The Sierra Club (a national six month program for board members) 

2011 - Stewards of Children training by Prevent Child Abuse Illinois

2008 - AFS-USA Intercultural Programs Exchange Policies training (2 week long events - one in Chicago & one in Portland, OR)

2004 - Blackbaud's one day training on relational database use for prospect research

2003 - Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting (attended historical research workshops)

Current Volunteer Positions

  • Board Member, Sierra Club of Sangamon Valley
  • Member & Kids in the Kitchen chairperson, Junior League of Springfield, IL
  • Judge for the Junior High Division, State of Illinois Annual History Fair
  • Member & cookbook marketing team member, The King’s Daughters Organization – Mary A. Lawrence Circle
  • Docent, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

Volunteer Projects

Junior League of Springfield, Illinois - Member from 2011 to 2013

  • Created a playroom for Mercy House - 2011 - Worked with a team to raise funds, acquire furniture & toys, and decorate a space for children to play while their parent is in a training class. Mercy House works with families who are struggling to find housing in our community. 
  • Served on the Trivia Night committee - 2012 - Member of a three person team that organized a successful fundraising event. We wrote the questions, acquired donated space & services, and produced a silent auction. The event raised $4,000 for our community service programs. 
  • Member of the Kitchen Tour committee - 2013 - Kitchen Tour is the largest fundraiser for JLS. I was the chair of one of the homes on the tour, assisted with sponsorships & marketing. The event raised $150,000.
  • Chair of the Kids in the Kitchen project - 2013

Area Historic Sites Involvement

  • Currently volunteering as a museum guide for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
  • I have served as a project judge for the State of Illinois annual history fair in the junior high division since 2004
  • Former docent at the Dana-Thomas House state historic site 
  • Former volunteer for the Elijah Illes House local historic site