Sara Pandolfi leads her own consulting firm, Sara Pandolfi & Co, which provides fundraising, marketing and human capital solutions, and event management to corporations and nonprofits, bringing their unique goals to life.
Sara combines skills and expertise in the nonprofit sector with a successful track record of building corporate and community partnerships. She leads fundraising, marketing and social media campaigns, special events and human capital initiatives that increase impact and revenue for numerous organizations. As a registered fundraising counsel with a flair for event management, Sara leverages her relationships in the corporate world and her extensive network in the arts, education, and hospitality industries to positively impact populations in need and improve bottom-line business results.
Sara takes on the challenges presented to organizations by understanding their strengths and limitations, and works directly with the client to formulate a plan to achieve their objectives, identify opportunities for growth and improvement and maintain the integrity of the mission. As former leader of the Project for Academic Student Success program, she supervised a staff of ten, developed and coordinated the curriculum and functions for numerous academic programs and raised high school graduation rates of her clients to 100 percent. Sara’s drive and proven results led to her nomination for PASEsetter of the year in 2009.
Sara’s most recent fundraising success is the production of From Farm to Tray, a sustainable food benefit that brings together New York City’s premier culinary figures and corporate partners to support Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, New York’s largest emergency food program. Since the inception of the benefit in 2013, Sara has attracted over 400 guests to a sold out event and secured over 60 new partnerships for the soup kitchen, including Google, Deutsch and Whole Foods. Through strategic marketing, sponsorship development, donor cultivation and stewardship, and community outreach, Sara spearheaded the most successful and visible fundraiser in the organization’s 30-year history and achieved over 120% of the 2015 event’s fundraising goal. Other clients include Tanenbaum, Hunter College Foundation, New York University, dcc, OTTO NY, PENCIL, Animal Haven, St. Joseph’s Soup Kitchen, Federici Films, and award-winning pastry chef Emily Luchetti.
During her leadership and clinical role in the nonprofit sector, Sara encountered the challenges faced by government-funded programs, including the lack of resources and the increasing demand for services. Compelled to make a difference, she returned to academia to hone her development acumen and was soon elected President of NYU’s Fundraising Student Association. Her success in implementing campus-wide philanthropic initiatives and building fundraising growth for nonprofits led to her nomination for the prestigious Crain’s 40 Under 40 Award by NYU. Sara was selected by renowned fundraising expert Naomi Levine to represent NYU’s fundraising program in its global digital and print media marketing campaign. Sara’s profile has been featured in publications and organizations such as the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Forbes.com, The Jewish Week, NY Observer, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
In addition to the clients she helps, Sara is passionate about giving back to her community. She mentors students ranging from high school to graduate school and advises numerous professional associations on philanthropic initiatives and connects them with local charities. Sara is the recipient of the 2015 NYU Bart Lawson Award for Public Service. In 2013, Sara received the honor of being selected to serve on the James Beard Foundation’s Young Professionals Committee. She has also served on Women in Development’s Career Advancement and Coaching Committee and Women of Achievement Award Committee; and on IvyLife: The All-Ivy Business Networking Community as Director of IvyLife-Foodies.
Sara has been invited as a featured presenter at numerous events, including the AFP Philanthropy Day 2015 Conference, AFP’s “Supercharge your Special Event” seminar, and guest lecturer at both Columbia University and NYU. She is scheduled to serve on an industry panel at NYU's Wasserman Center for Career Development in spring 2016.
Sara holds degrees from New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising (M.S.), Columbia University School of Social Work (M.S.W.) and California State University, Northridge Department of Journalism (B.A).