Nonprofit organizations and the people who run them are changemakers who work hard to make the world a better place. We work along side them as guides, coaches and support to help deliver stunning events that meet and exceed goals.

Board, Staff & Committee Training

Inspire and provide tools to improve effectiveness. Each training is intended to engage your core team and provide best practices.

Strategic Planning

Assess your current event and identify ways to increase your fundraising potential. The strategic plan provides you the resource and direction to reduce your effort and increase your revenue.

Event Management

We start with the strategic plan but then continue to work along side you to execute your event. We manage your team and planning, and are onsite to execute the event so you can spend your time connecting to donors.

Fundraising Event Consulting

We are here to answer your questions and can work on an hourly basis. Spend a few hours with us and we can advise you on how to troubleshoot challenges and get strategic to reach that next goal.



We see every event as an opportunity. We first look to the future and identify the goals that your event can achieve. Once goals are set, we begin to develop the plan to reach them. We then offer teaching and coaching so that your team learns as we plan. We manage the details, logistics and are onsite working hand-in-hand with your team and volunteers to assure that we reach those goals. We believe in telling your story, connecting donors to your mission and producing an event that is compelling and exciting for your guests.


  • Samantha Swaim
    Samantha Swaim

    Who: I am an activist, an advocate and a believer in people.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I encourage and motivate. I teach and coach. I dream. I am a strategist at my core and bring this focus to planning events and reaching results. I am an ally to nonprofits and an advocate for their mission and their dreams. I use events as a tool to better support the people working so hard to improve our community.
    My experience: I have been in nonprofit fundraising and event production for over 20 years and have a passion for working for a purpose. I come from theatre + TV production roots with a focus on details and a vision for the big picture. Great events are made better when they share a story and have impact.
    What I believe in:  Community. I believe that we are stronger when we work together. I believe that together we can have impact, we can build stronger communities and we can have a richer and fuller experience.

  • Kristin Steele
    Kristin Steele

    Who: I am a champion of the power of we.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I work with clients to increase their fundraising by improving how they tell their story and how that can impact their events, special appeals and videos. Often this means talking about how to think in story. I also manage the internal operations and communications for Swaim Strategies so that our staff can focus on elevating the work of our clients.
    My experience: I am a writer and teacher by trade, and have been a nonprofit advocate in Portland for 24 years, teaching adult community writing workshops and playwriting for at-risk youth. I helped start Swaim Strategies over a decade ago, and have been on the ground of nonprofit event fundraising ever since.
    What I believe in: I believe that one of the bravest things we can do is tell our stories, and then listen as others tell theirs. It is what connects us, strengthens us and makes change possible. The act of storytelling is also what makes us human.

  • Dwight Adkins
    Dwight Adkins

    Who: Everyone has a story to tell and I want to help them share it.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I support our clients every step of the way through planning and project management. From overall fundraising strategy to day in and day out details. My goal is to provide a clear vision for our clients while supporting them through their own process.
    My experience: For more than 20 years I have been building strong relationships to make our communities stronger. Through my nonprofit work experiences at Oregon Food Bank, Hands On Greater Portland and the YMCA, I have a successful record of fundraising. I understand the daily challenges of development and know how to navigate to positive outcomes.
    What I believe in: I believe relationships are the key to life. The more you invest in relationships the more enriched your life will be.

  • Sara Guest
    Sara Guest

    Who: First and foremost, I facilitate.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I write, rewrite, shape and sculpt the messages that turn ideas into inspirations and emotions. I touch every word associated with your event, working to help define how we connect the dots.
    My experience: I’ve been an editor, copyeditor, speechwriter, producer, publications coordinator, program coordinator, creative resourcer, lecturer, visiting artist, brand steward and strategist. For 25 years I’ve been giving the page its voice and my community all the passion and compassion I have. I’ve worked for many organizations I admire, among them Encyclopaedia Britannica, Apple, Harpo Studios, Lewis + Clark College, Write Around Portland, Literary Arts and Sockeye.
    What I believe in: I believe that “being the change we want to see” is mostly about showing up.

  • Mary Elizabeth
    Mary Elizabeth

    Who: I am compassionate, energetic and empathetic.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I provide organization and creativity. I take care of client deliverables and help tell an organization’s story at their event. I am a Greater Giving database expert. I take chaos and turn it into order.
    My experience: Six years as a Customs Broker gave me a love for all things having to do with databases, organization and details. I also have several years experience in Greater Giving and running day of event registration at nonprofit fundraising events.
    What I believe in: I believe that everyone wants to be seen, understood and validated for who they really are. The key to this is empathy towards others and living authentically without fear.

  • Ryan Goodwin
    Ryan Goodwin

    Who: I am calm, conscientious, collaborative and competitive.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I make dreams actionable. I harness the potential of an event in organizational systems, which gives clients the ability to control their message.
    My experience: Twelve years as a Collegiate Coach provided me with a framework in logistics, tactics, mission adherence and process building. I learned to love accurate data and have vast experience in relationship and team building.
    What I believe in: I believe that long odds are still odds. I trust in the immense power of the personal narrative and how those narratives shape our community.

  • Sama Shagaga
    Sama Shagaga

    Who: I am a partner in change.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I walk in lock-step with clients to support them to expand their reach and deepen their impact. My listen-first approach is aimed toward meeting clients where they’re at and helping clients position themselves at the intersection of their strengths and their community’s needs. I am a lifelong learner always prepared to listen, to learn and to share.
    My experience: For over 10 years, I’ve worked for nonprofits in development and programmatic roles. I have managed major donor relationships, stewarded corporate sponsorships and operated large events. My commitment to partnership building and collaboration lay the foundation for strong relationships and high impact.
    What I believe in: I believe that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that each day is another chance to grow and thrive together. Serve your community and you shall be served.

  • Anna Bird
    Anna Bird

    Who: I am a storyteller.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I help deliver compelling creative content that weaves our clients’ stories through each part of their events. My goal is to leverage my storytelling abilities to help our partners continue to do vital work in our communities.
    My experience: I have been writing for 20 years—most of which were legible, 13 of which were purely cathartic, 4 years were academic and 3 were professional. As a writer and editor at Statehood Media, I had the opportunity to traipse around Oregon capturing the stories of entrepreneurs, historians, athletes, artists and the land. Those experiences reaffirmed my belief that including diverse perspectives is not only more interesting but essential.
    What I believe in: I believe in kindness, good humor and the importance of correct grammar.

  • Nia Fillo
    Nia Fillo
    Who: I am a compassionate and determined partner in empowering people to embrace their leadership.
    What I do at Swaim Strategies: I am an Event Assistant.
    My experience: I have 12 years experience in customer service and have taken on various roles in human resources and the restaurant industry. In other words, I love people. For the last 6 years, I have continued to train and develop myself in listening for what is important to others, empowering them to take actions toward what they want out of life and training others as leaders, giving them access and power to make a lasting difference in their respective communities. I am excited to have found Swaim Strategies (and excited that they found me) where I get to combine my experiences to better serve our clients in the enhancements of their efforts to share their stories and be heard.
    What I believe in: A world that works for everyone, where different points of view or stories are encouraged, listened to and accepted. This is where new opportunities for growth, love and connection arise.


    • Swaim Strategies not only provided the much needed heavy lifting for our event planning, but their ongoing guidance and advice regarding strategy and donor cultivation has been invaluable to my own professional development.

      Virginia Petersen
      Virginia PetersenAdelante Mujeres
    • Swaim Strategies is so effective because they really work to understand us and our mission. Their experience has helped us tremendously to best highlight ourselves within our events as we grow our goals and donors.

      Dianne Alves
      Dianne AlvesColumbia Land Trust
    • Working with Swaim Strategies has created huge, community-shifting positive impact for PHAME. Over four years our annual ‘Sparkle!’ gala has grown by over 300%, and the buzz around it continues to grow. Our sponsors, supporters and ultimately our students are more engaged and committed to PHAME than ever before.

      Stephen Marc Beaudoin
      Stephen Marc BeaudoinPHAME
    • We hire Swaim Strategies to be a fundraising resource to our national affiliates. In the first year of this partnership, one of our centers saw a 100% increase in money raised through their special appeal. Year two the increase they saw was 385%.

      Terry Stone
      Terry StoneCenterlink
    • Swaim Strategies helped us look at the history of our dinner program and consider all our ‘must-haves’ as critical pieces in building to the ask. Their guidance helped us construct a fun, informative and exciting arc for our program, all leading up to surpassing our goal for the special appeal.

      Katie Boehm
      Katie BoehmKidsQuest Children’s Museum
    • We’ve worked with Swaim Strategies for 10 years, and we’ve seen growth every year. They helped us look at our donor base to redesign our entire event to better suit our audience, and we saw a 80% increase in revenue raised at our fall gala last year!

      Juan Martinez
      Juan MartinezBasic Rights Oregon
    • Swaim Strategies delivers on the promise of stronger communities through their training, consulting and event coordination. Whether in one-on-one consultation or large training sessions, the team has catalyzed the local resource development of HandsOn Network organizations in diverse communities across the country. They listen closely and weave their vast knowledge into the local fabric of our partner organizations; building on assets and providing concrete, proven tools for action.

      Emily Gilliland
      Emily GillilandHandsOn Network
    • I was asked, ‘What is the smartest decision you have made this year to impact your organization?’ I answered without hesitation, ‘Hiring Swaim Strategies to overhaul our Gala.’ The team made a huge difference in our approach to fundraising through a gala, and the increase in revenue year over year was phenomenal.

      Laila Cook
      Laila CookMake-A-Wish Oregon
    • The tools I took away from the Swaim Strategies sponsorship training were better than priceless: they were directly responsible for increasing our sponsorship support for our annual gala including the addition of a presenting sponsor. This one training has literally paid for itself hundreds of times over.

      Travis Phillips
      Travis PhillipsPortland Community Reinvestment Initiatives
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