Nonprofits Invited to Perfect Their Fundraising Pitches at a Nov. 17 Seminar by the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University

November 10, 2015

In time for the year-end giving season, seminar participants will perfect their pitches before a panel of nonprofit leaders and receive a complimentary copy of Cause Sales the Sanford Way

San Diego, Calif. – Nov. 12, 2015 –The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University is pleased to announce the latest in a series of seminars being offered to help nonprofits improve their fundraising potential and strengthen donor relationships. The Nov. 17 hands-on seminar – which comes just in time for the year-end giving season - will focus on helping nonprofits fine-tune their funding “pitches” before a panel of prominent fundraising leaders and qualify for a chance to receive vouchers for upcoming seminars. Each participant will also receive a complimentary copy of the book Cause Selling The Sanford Way, based on the vision of philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

Cause Selling The Sanford Way is the only textbook of its kind in the country with a cause selling approach to fundraising. Available through for $79.99, it is written by professional sales expert David J. Lill, Ph.D. and Jennifer K. Lill-Brown and serves as the foundation of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy’s educational offerings of seminars, certificate programs and a master’s program. The Institute was launched last year at National University, the second largest private, nonprofit university in California, through the generous support of Mr. Sanford who is considered to be one of the country’s most generous donors.

The day-long Nov. 17 seminar, which takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Sanford Education Center at National University, offers a chance to hear from nonprofit fundraising leaders including Bill Littlejohn, Chief Executive Officer of the Sharp Healthcare Foundation. It is especially timely with philanthropy reaching a peak as the calendar year draws to a close. One survey by Charity Navigator found that on average charities received 41% of their annual contributions in the last few weeks of the year.


“Cultivating supportive donor relations starts with creating strong, impactful messages and identifying stories about your cause that inspire donors to connect and contribute,” said Sanford Institute of Philanthropy Endowed Director Dr. Lena T. Rodriguez. “This month, seminar participants have a unique opportunity to develop and test their approaches before a panel of seasoned leaders who are highly-respected in the nonprofit community and who will provide invaluable advice and coaching to help nonprofits create even stronger connections with donors.”


The unique perspective of Cause Selling The Sanford Way and the Institute’s programs are based on Mr. Sanford’s own experiences being approached regularly by nonprofit groups, and from his desire to help nonprofits become more effective at fundraising and donor relations through an approach being called cause sales, which applies proven sales and business principles toward helping nonprofits strengthen their mission.

All panelists taking part in the highly-interactive, hands-on seminar are professionals who represent various organizations in the non-profit sector. Scheduled speakers are:


  • Bill Littlejohn, Chief Executive Officer of the Sharp Healthcare Foundation, who also provides fundraising counsel to the Grossmont Hospital Foundation, the Coronado Hospital Foundation and all of Sharp's entities. Prior to joining Sharp HealthCare, Mr. Littlejohn worked for 10 years with the Greenwood Company, a professional fund-raising firm. He has managed fund-raising projects for health care systems all over the United States.
  • Bob Kelly, Executive in Residence at the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy. Mr. Kelly served as President and CEO of The San Diego Foundation for two decades, overseeing all activities, programs and asset management during a time of significant growth and achievements that have benefitted the entire San Diego region. Prior to joining The San Diego Foundation, Bob served as the Executive Director of the American Cancer Society in San Diego and Vice President of Southern California.
  • Michael Brunker, Executive Director for the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA since 1997. Mr. Brunker has increased the branch staff from eight to more than 140 during his tenure, the Board of Managers from 12 to 60, and the budget from $450,000 to more than $3.6 million.
  • Zaneta Encarnacion, Engagement Director, Communications & External Affairs, for South Bay Community Services. Ms. Encarnacion has more than 15 years of professional work in government and community relations during which she has demonstrated success in inspiring people and personalities toward meaningful outcomes.
  • Gayle Hom, Principal at Hom Strategies. Ms. Hom is the former Executive Director for the New Americans Museum, and the former Director of Community Affairs for Price Charities. She also served as an advisor for two San Diego mayors.
  • Chuck Leslie, Chief Officer of Strategic Relationships at The Rock Church. Mr. Leslie is an experienced educational leader and development professional with an 18-year history of accomplishing strategic planning initiatives for nonprofit organizations.
  • Bernard Mauricia, Director of Development for The Seany Foundation. Before becoming The Seany Foundation’s Director of Development, Mr. Mauricia worked to build a strong regional presence for the American Cancer Society (ACS), becoming head of Corporate Partnerships in 2013. Prior to that he served as Program Director for the California Council on Economic Education.

To register for the seminar:

About the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy at National University
The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy is dedicated to increasing the positive impact of nonprofits and cause organizations through specialized training and educational offerings with a focus on successful fundraising. The Institute offers a unique Cause Sales approach to fundraising, based on proven sales and business principles as applied to collaborative donor relationship building. This approach is integrated throughout the Institute’s offerings, which offers seminars, a certificate and a master’s degree program in Cause Leadership with curriculum developed by the University’s School of Business and Management and Division of Extended Learning. The Institute was established at National University in 2014 through a generous gift by renowned philanthropist and businessman T. Denny Sanford, and the vision is to offer universities access to the curriculum.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 100 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at more than locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.

Media contact:
Anna Cearley
Director of Public Relations