Becoming the Trusted Advisor: Professional Advisors and Community Foundations

Wed, December 4, 2019,
10:00am to 11:30am PST

Upwards of 80% of new funds come to community foundations through referrals from professional advisors. Join us for this conversation on how smaller community foundations cultivate and sustain relationships with professional advisors to become the go-to trusted philanthropic advisor. We'll hear from Elena Pullen Venema, Director of Gift Planning at the Community Foundation of Snohomish County, who has developed and stewards relationships with 300+ professional advisors in Snohomish County. 

In 2014, CFSC earmarked 25% of the Development Director’s time for advisor outreach. As relationships grew and their organizational strategy came to involve a focus on new fund referrals from professional advisors, their work continued to significantly grew in this area. Hear examples of how to implement this strategy in order to position your organization as a Trusted Advisor in Philanthropy. Some questions this call will address are:

  • What strategies has your community foundation used to identify and cultivate relationships with professional advisors?
  • What has worked? What has fallen flat?
  • How do you integrate organizational goals and values into the work with professional advisors?



Elena Pullen-Venema has been with the Community Foundation of Snohomish County since 2013. As Director of Gift Planning, she works closely with individuals, families, and their professional advisors to help build tax-friendly charitable giving options that create meaningful legacies and grow philanthropy throughout Snohomish County. Elena currently serves as Board President for the Snohomish County Estate Planning Council. With more than 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Elena also has her MBA in Finance. She received her Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP©) designation from the American College of Financial Services in 2018.

Community Foundation of Snohomish County