E. L. Freeman, LLC brings its clients the deep experience, knowledge, and skills of a senior professional to provide strategic and personalized consulting services to the nonprofit community, including arts, cultural and historical organizations, civic and faith-based groups, educational and health care institutions, and organizations engaged in protecting the environment and providing the public benefit.

I am Lisa Freeman. I am an independent consultant who has had sole or team responsibility for raising more than $250 million. My firm maintains a small and selective number of clients. Each contract and relationship is specific to an organization’s needs and unique culture. Established in 1998, E. L. Freeman LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia as professional fundraising counsel.

By combining the art and science of sound advice, I work as a partner to help nonprofits develop their own capacity to strengthen their boards, grow gift assets, and develop and support organizational competence. I trust that I have established a reputation for providing sound, unbiased advice that helps organizations assess their capabilities, understand their challenges, and achieve their dreams.


Values Statements - When working with a client, I pledge to:

  • Meet your organization where it is.
  • Salute your strengths, understand your challenges, and discover your opportunities.
  • To the extent possible, honor and preserve your unique culture.
  • Challenge you to stretch, but create attainable and realistic goals.
  • Understand that these goals may not take you where you ultimately need to go, but will move you much closer to your destiny.

E. L. Freeman LLC offers an exceptional level of service with a big difference.

  • By design, I am an independent consultant. I do not have associates or employees. One of my favorite saying is, “When I get up in the morning and look in the mirror, I say ‘Good morning staff!’”
  • I am the person you trusted at the time you signed the agreement and I am the same person with whom you will work.
  • Clients have 24/7 access. I pledge to return all telephone calls and emails within 24 hours. If I am going to be unavailable, my clients know that in advance.
  • I believe in Warren Buffet’s Circle of Competency Theory. I have developed circles of competency around my experience, my success, and what I enjoy most.

    • If an assignment calls for additional expertise or hands-on-deck, I have a pool of highly qualified professionals with whom I subcontract. This consistently excellent talent shares my passion for the nonprofit sector AND for a creative, flexible, best-practice approach to a nonprofit’s needs.

  • I am committed to the nonprofit sector. At all times, I maintain at least one pro-bono client. I regularly financially sponsor organizations committed to the professional development of nonprofit leaders. I am a donor.
  • Simply stated, my success is through word of mouth referrals. You won’t find me creating newsletters, writing blogs, using twitter, or publishing books. This means my sole focus is on exceeding your expectations and delivering solutions that “wow.”

Core competencies:

1. Strengthening the capacity of the board to govern effectively

  • Short-term training programs and workshops
  • Guidance regarding issues of governance

2. Establishing or expanding a donor-centered, comprehensive development program

  • Development office audits
  • Fundraising assessments and planning studies
  • Strategic development plans
  • Developing the case for philanthropic support
  • Building annual giving programs, prospect strategy, and major gift efforts

3. Planning and implementing capital and endowment campaigns

  • Pre-campaign planning and feasibility studies
  • Campaign plans
  • Ongoing campaign direction and counsel

4. Guiding an organization in strengthening their Culture of Philanthropy

  • Talent development
  • Infrastructure and systems to support fundraising, volunteers, and donor communication

5. Interim Leadership and Staff Development

  • Providing short-term, contracted services

A deep commitment to the nonprofit sector spans a career of more than thirty-five years.

  • Professional memberships include BoardSource, Grant Professionals Association, the International Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives, the Virginia Gift Planning Council, Network Williamsburg, and the Center for Nonprofit Excellence (Charlottesville).
  • I currently serve as a member of the VAFRE Board of Directors .
  • As a founding member of the Hampton Roads Association of Fundraising Professionals and a charter member of the South Carolina Hospital Fund Development Society, I served two terms as president.
  • Regularly, I conduct workshops and training for organizations dedicated to building nonprofit capacity, including Network Peninsula, Volunteer Hampton Roads, and the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives. I have been an instructor for the Focus INC program serving the tri-cities and regularly partner with other nonprofit colleagues in advancing the nonprofit sector.
  • I enjoy my status as part-time faculty at the University of Richmond’s Institute of Philanthropy where I teach and served on the Advisory board for six years.
  • In August 2013, I completed the requirements to receive a Masters of Nonprofit Management and Philanthropy program.

I share the perspective of the volunteer.

  • I am a former member of the Walsingham Academy Board and Chair of the development committee; I have chaired a fundraising effort for a Habitat for Humanity build, and am a previous volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Williamsburg Volunteer Fire Department.