The Art Gardner

Goodbye and Hello
June 10, 2010, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Creative Ideas, Job Search | Tags: ,

Yesterday was my last full day at the Center for Puppetry Arts because … wait for it… I got a job! Yep, that’s right– the original purpose of this blog is fulfilled. I start as a member of the marketing team at the High Museum of Art on Monday. It’s been a long few months, but thanks to lots of side projects and the Center I have kept plenty busy. I met the CPA marketing crew today for lunch and they gave me the coolest, most appropriate present–a mug filled with art-oriented finger puppets! Claude Monet, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and the dude from The Scream will now grace my new desk at the High. And while I may post less frequently while I get my sea legs at the new gig, I think I’m going to keep The Art Gardner going. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it so far. Ta Ra for now.

The Gardner Group is Born
April 5, 2010, 9:19 am
Filed under: Grant Writing, Job Search | Tags: , , ,

I got the official word last week that I now have my Certificate in Grant Writing! I have cut and pasted the Executive Summary from my final Capstone Project below outlining my services as a consultant. I am ultimately looking for a full-time position with benefits, but it was a good exercise to put a business plan together. And of course, if anyone is in need of my services in the meantime, I am happy to talk about how we could work together.

The Gardner Group is a sole proprietorship owned by Ashlee Gardner. Gardner has over 12 years experience in marketing/advertising and new business development in various advertising and marketing organizations both nationally and internationally. She has held a variety of roles in marketing account management and sales and has worked with companies from growth to Fortune 500 as well as nonprofit. Former clients include Intercontinental Hotels Group, Kimberly Clark, Rexel, Turner, Equifax, Checkfree/Fiserv, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Georgia, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. She currently volunteers for the High Museum of Art and the Center for Puppetry Arts both in Atlanta, Georgia. She holds a BA in English from Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, an MA in Art History from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, and a Certificate in Grant Writing from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Gardner Group was formed in 2010 to help nonprofit arts organizations all over North America win grants and elevate their marketing to support their programs and projects. Gardner’s vast experience in marketing communications and her personal passion for the arts positions The Gardner Group as a niche consultancy that can help arts organizations reach their fundraising goals. Through the services listed below, The Gardner Group acts as a trusted resource and valued member of its clients’ development and marketing teams.

Development Services Include:

  • Grant source research
  • Letters of inquiry
  • Needs assessment
  • Proposal development and writing
  • Editing and proofreading existing proposals

Marketing Services Include:

  • Marketing Plans
  • Copywriting and Editing
  • Project Management
  • Social Media /Interactive /E-marketing Strategy


Nonprofit Career Conference – Check
March 23, 2010, 7:48 pm
Filed under: Job Search | Tags: ,

Today was the Nonprofit Career Conference sponsored by Opportunity Knocks and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. I learned a few new things, but I do think they geared it toward people who are in the beginning stages of exploring nonprofit work. I have been living and breathing it over the past couple of months and I felt like a lot of the information in the sessions was redundant for me personally.

The part of the day that held the greatest interest for me was the ability to spend 10 minutes with career consultants who would offer one-on-one guidance on your resumé and career path. It turns out 10 minutes is not nearly long enough. Perhaps they will consider upping it to 15 or 20 next time. By the time I had stopped explaining what I was all about, the consultant only had a few minutes to give my resumé a cursory glance and declare that it needed to be shortened by a page. Okay, so maybe I’m a bit long-winded in person AND on paper–still not too helpful.

One highlight of the event was a session that was co-presented by Michelle “Chelle” Shell (LOVE that name) of  Opportunity Knocks and Ragan Kellams, HR Director at IQ Interactive, entitled Job Search Strategies; Tools of the Trade. I went in skeptical because I’ve been a recruiter and I fancy myself a real pro at job-hunting. Boy was I surprised. Not only did they share tons of useful information and new ideas, but they had us all rolling in the aisles along the way. I’m telling you–they were like the Thelma and Louise of Human Resources. Love.

Overall, a good conference, especially for those just starting to explore. I will leave you with a few facts I learned, which I found quite interesting. Keep your eyes open–we are everywhere.

Did you know:

There are 1.5+ million nonprofits in the United States.

12.5 million people are employed by nonprofits.

Nonprofits represent 8.11% of all wages and salaries (and keep in mind nonprofits don’t pay much).

Nonprofit growth over the next few years is projected in health and human services. (The Art Gardner will not be discouraged.)

A Team Player
March 18, 2010, 7:56 pm
Filed under: Job Search | Tags: ,

Today was a really good day at my internship at the Center for Puppetry Arts. A board member who uses Google AdWords extensively for his business came in and showed several members of the marketing team how to use the tool. So just like that–I am learning a new, sought-after skill. Next week, we are going to divide and conquer the keywords and ads for the upcoming season, as well as different marketing focuses for the Center in general. Beyond learning new skills, I’m finally feeling like a part of a team. It’s so refreshing to be in an organization of doers where everyone chips in for a common goal and learns from each other. Yes, this is what I signed up for.

On the Edge
March 12, 2010, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Job Search | Tags: ,

A good 50%-60% of the jobs I see for development positions in nonprofit organizations are asking for people with knowledge of Raiser’s Edge by Blackbaud. It’s essentially a CRM database like Salesforce, but used exclusively by nonprofit agencies to help manage fundraising and development activities. While I have plentiful knowledge in various database programs like Salesforce, ACT, Access, and Filemaker, I have never used Raiser’s Edge. Nor can I find any sort of class or book that teaches it. I have to think that it would be fairly easy for me to get up to speed, but what to do when positions require previous experience? Does anyone have any advice?

My Name is Ashlee Gardner and I am a Sector Switcher
March 9, 2010, 5:38 pm
Filed under: Job Search | Tags: , ,

I was at the Foundation Center today taking some classes on how to use their extensive resource library and online foundations directory and I came across this book by the folks at Idealist: The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for Sector Switchers. It can be downloaded as a pdf for absolutely free. Now I consider myself a creative and a bit of a free spirit in many ways, but I also have a very structured, analytical side. I admit it–I like labels. In this new world that I am navigating it’s a relief to finally put a name to what I am. I am a Sector Switcher–and proud of it.

Opportunity Knocks Career Conference March 23rd

I signed up for a career conference presented by Opportunity Knocks and the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, which will take place March 23rd. Opportunity Knocks is the best job board (in my opinion) to find nonprofit jobs in Atlanta. I am really looking forward to the conference as a means to network and get some individual help on promoting myself in the nonprofit world.

The website says you get a full day of training and consultations that will provide you with the skills needed to:

  • Analyze your resumé and job search strategies
  • Assess your employability skills
  • Understand the current landscape of the nonprofit sector
  • Determine a nonprofit career path
  • Transition from the for profit to nonprofit sector

If there is anyone out there in the same boat, I would encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. The full day conference includes lunch. If you sign up now you can get $20 off the $78 registration.