Kelly O’Connor Kay is an accomplished nonprofit development and communications professional, having worked in the industry for the past thirteen years. A native Bostonian, she relocated to the Los Angeles area almost five years ago and is enjoying helping local, regional and national organizations increase their impact by raising valuable funds from individuals, foundations, corporations and government agencies.
Kelly has crafted and executed fundraising strategies – including grant writing & reporting, donor acquisition & retention, database management & analysis, event organization, online content development and social media strategy – for a variety of nonprofit organizations on both the east and west coasts. Clients include Alliance for Lupus Research, Free Arts for Abused Children, Hunger Action Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, Urban Harvester and WhyHunger.
Previously, Kelly worked as the Recycling Development Manager and Communications Manager for UK-based Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development (TRAID). In these positions, she secured media coverage for the organization in an extensive array of publications, acted as a spokesperson through speaking engagements, conceived and organized a variety of successful fundraising events and increased donations by 20%. She also had the unique opportunity to oversee a grant-making process, giving her valuable insight into what makes a grant proposal successful. Kelly has also served as the Manager of Communications and Community Outreach at Partnership with Children, a social service agency that provides counseling and casework services to disadvantaged New York City school children. She started her career as a 2nd and 4th grade classroom teacher, as a member of the first cohort of the New York City Teaching Fellows.
Kelly’s greatest strength is her writing ability, which she uses to create convincing and engaging grant proposals, direct mail appeals, annual reports, newsletters, websites, social networking updates and more. She is a strategic thinker and has the ability to understand the culture and operations of an organization quickly, evaluate the organization’s goals and aspirations and determine the best course of action for achieving them.
Kelly graduated with a BS in Communication Studies & Sociology from Northwestern University and also holds an MS in Elementary Education from Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York. An aspiring pastry chef, Kelly has completed coursework at the Institute of Culinary Education and has worked in a number of New York City bakeries and restaurants. At the Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe, which raises funds and provides job training opportunities to New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS, she managed to combine her passion for both baking and nonprofit work.