Gayle L. Gifford, ACFRE

Welcome to Cause & Effect!Photo of a smiling Gayle Gifford

When Jon and I founded Cause & Effect in 1996, we had only an inkling of all the wonderful people and organizations that we’d get to work with.  You can find a list of some of our clients here.

How fortunate I’ve been to have spent the last four decades in service to others. I started as a volunteer and worked my way up through a number of professional staff positions and  now serve organizations like yours through my consulting.

I believe in the enormous power of those social impact organizations we call nonprofits.

I’ve seen them do the most incredible things with the most limited of resources, like …

… protecting the air,  water and life of our planet

… mitigating the harsh impact of poverty

… bringing amazing art and culture  into our communities

… moving people from homelessness into affordable homes

… turning the tide against racism, sexism and homophobia, or

… just overall making this great, big, crazy world of ours a more inviting and fulfilling place through great art and ideas.

But I’ve also found that many organizations need some outside help to grow stronger. When you’re immersed in the day to day of getting the work done, it’s hard to step back and spend the time you need to strengthen your board, complete that strategic plan, analyze your fundraising strategy or finally start that performance review of your executive director.

That’s where I can help you.

I custom design my work with you to meet your specific needs and bring my whole-organization understanding to every project. Which makes a difference.

For example, I’m already strategizing about your fundraising while I’m helping you build your board or craft your strategic plan. And vice versa.

I particularly like to work with organizations that believe in working together with their community, their supporters, and their partners. We’re all in this together and none of us can achieve success working alone.

I bring many experiences to your project

I’ve spent my own time in the trenches, organizing for peace, environmental, human and civil rights. I served as Director of Development and Communications at PLAN USA, way back in 19983. Then I served as Deputy Director/Director of Development and Marketing at Save The Bay, and as Director of Development at CityYear RI .

In 2002, I earned the advanced fundraising credential, ACFRE, from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. This distinction is held by only 112 or so fundraisers worldwide. In addition to my experience, education and volunteerism, I had to pass a written exam, have a portfolio of work reviewed by peers, and pass a three hour oral exam with a nationally-selected panel of peers.

As for education, I hold an M.S. in organization and management from Antioch University New England I received my undergraduate degree in geography from Clark University  and consider myself a lifelong learner.

Yes, I’m a volunteer and board member too. After my term expired as board president at Blackstone Academy Charter School , I recently joined the board at the Providence Community Library. Before that I was vice chair of the board at WaterFire Providence. I also serve on the Advisory Council for Latino Dollars for Scholars of Rhode Island and volunteer as a mentor and trainer with Social Enterprise Greenhouse.

Consulting isn’t the only way I can support you.

I also speak, write and teach many workshops. (Give me a call if you are interested in any of our workshops).

I have coached board members, executive directors and development directors.  I am an adjunct instructor at Brown University and previously taught at Simmons College.

And I love to connect folks to knowledge or resources that may benefit them.

I’ve got three great kids (our son Alex Howard works with us), a wonderful husband, and a cat named Summer. I live in one of most vibrant cultural cities in the U.S.A — Providence, RI. I like bike rides, spending time on the trails or the beach and long dinners talking life, politics and community with friends and family.

What can I do to help you?


P.S. I love helping people like you, connecting you to ideas, strategies or resources  you might may not have thought about. Please give me a call at 401-331-2272 or drop me an email at

P.P.S. For the really curious, I’ve attached a copy of my complete CV here.