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Meet Victoria Thurlow of Thurlow/Associates in South Bay

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria Thurlow.

Victoria, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, going right back to the beginning, I grew up in Northeast England and came to the United States to attend graduate school. After graduating, I began work at a consumer magazine in the Los Angeles area and then spent a little time doing communications work for a for-profit firm. I also taught at Cal State University, Northridge, for a while.

To cut a long story short, after working briefly in the for-profit field, I moved to a nonprofit organization, which was my real calling. Many years later, I looked back and realized that I’d really been involved in nonprofit work in one way or another from the start: When my sister and I were kids, we held a sale in the driveway of our home to raise funds for a local hospital. I volunteered for various nonprofits and in graduate school, I worked in the fund development department of my university to help pay for my studies. Somehow, it was always a thread….

My first real job in the nonprofit field was for a large organization, where I was essentially serving as an in-house consultant to multiple programs and fundraising auxiliaries. It was fast-paced and often stressful, but it was always interesting. I knew then that what I ultimately wanted to do was start my own consulting firm, which I did more than 25 years ago.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think I really focus on struggle. I feel extremely fortunate, especially since — in working with nonprofit clients — I hear of so many people who’ve faced true hardship in life. It has, though, taken a lot of hard work to build and grow the business. The stakes are extremely high, given the kind of work our clients do. Many things — social life, family life, regular nutrition! — have been sacrificed on a regular basis, but I can’t complain: I chose this route, and the pluses have very much outweighed the minuses.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Thurlow/Associates – what should we know?
Thurlow/Associates works exclusively with nonprofit organizations, in the areas of fund development, organization development and strategic communications. Our mission is to help nonprofits achieve lasting impact. We pursue that mission by helping our clients to raise funds and friends and to build their capacity in other ways, so they can sustain their work.

Over the years, I’ve been particularly proud of our long-term relationships with clients — some spanning 10, 15 or even 25-plus years. Also, I’m super-proud of our track record of success in helping clients to grow, strengthen and sustain their work. A significant portion of our work is directly related to funding development, and we’ve helped raise more than a quarter of a billion dollars over the years. Many of the funding streams we’ve helped clients to access are now ongoing.

We are, I think, rather unusual in the way in which we blend strategic counsel and hands-on implementation in our work. (For some of our clients, for example, we serve as a complete outsourced fund development department. Then, as we help them grow, they may retain internal staff, and our role then changes to help them build their capacity still further). We focus on the big picture and pay serious attention to detail.

In addition, I think we have a particularly strong ability to translate complex ideas into compelling language, and we are super-conscientious when it comes to follow-through.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
There are so many people who deserve credit here — in particular, the amazing clients we work with, who inspire me to give my best every day; and the smart, conscientious people who work so hard at Thurlow/Associates to make a difference. I don’t say thank you nearly enough times in the day!

I feel very lucky to have had a career that’s allowed me to interact with so many people who are truly heroes and to count many of them among my friends. These are people who care about others and want to change the world for the better.

I’m also hopeful for the future, as I see a new generation of skilled, passionate leaders coming up through the ranks.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Claudio Vazquez

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