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We help you develop great strategies and then bring those plans to life. Contact us for a no-obligation consultation: tel: 217.722.0429 m; email:

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Nonprofit Fundraising Consulting

Tim Montague, M.S. CFRE

Our nonprofit services include: Campaign Counsel | Strategic Marketing & Branding | Major Gifts Fundraising | Grant Writing | Wealth Screening | Case for Support | Communications

Areas of interest & expertise: Science, Technology, Sustainability, Environment, Animals, Health, Jobs, & Social Justice

Tim Montague is a fundraising consultant with expertise in all aspects of nonprofit fundraising, capital campaigns, strategic marketing, communications, and branding. He has broad experience working with and for nonprofits in the fields of environment, science, sustainability, social services and cultural institutions. He is also an expert in renewable energy (wind and solar power), and green building including passive house, net zero and LEED.

He serves as adjunct counsel with Termolen Watkins & Brandt and through this partnership offers a scope of services not otherwise found in Central Illinois and the Midwest region. Montague served as Chief Advancement Officer for the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois, Director of Development for the Environmental Research Foundation, and Corporate Relations Manager for the Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago. He has consulted extensively with the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS and PHAUS), a nonprofit dedicated to a more sustainable built environment.

Tim has helped a dozen non-profits raise more than $20,000,000 since 2005 including $12,000,000 for the Beckman Institute from 2009-2012, part of the University of Illinois’ successful $2.43 billion ‘Brilliant Futures’ campaign. See below for a more complete portfolio of projects and clients.

Volunteer Work
Montague serves on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals East Central Illinois Chapter (AFPECI) where he has served as an officer since 2012 and served a board president in 2015-2016. He also serves on the boards of the Illinois Green Business Association and Champaign County Sustainability Network. He is a past board member of CASA of Champaign County.

Tim has held the CFRE credential from the Association of Fundraising Professionals since 2012. He is a graduate of the University California at San Diego (UCSD), where he majored in ecology, evolution and behavior. He holds a master of science degree in Biology/Forest Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He lives in Urbana, IL with his two sons.

Portfolio of Projects & Clients


Passive House Institute US

I have an ongoing engagement with PHIUS to perform a variety of strategic marketing, business development and fundraising consulting. In 2016 I’m focused on developing additional sources of revenue for PHIUS via an Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The Council will help strengthen PHIUS’ ties to major manufacturers.

  • Authored several grant proposals for PHIUS including a $300K winning proposal to NYSERDA to build several high resiliency and super energy efficient homes on Staten Island (rebuilding from hurricane Sandy) in collaboration with the Bluestone Group (Rebuilding a Resilient Staten Island).
  • Developed a Strategic Marketing Plan and Case for Support based on hundreds of constituent surveys and interviews to guide communications and fundraising. The case for support is a marketing document that frames the value proposition of PHIUS to its constituents including building industry professionals, manufacturers, and funders. Both the marketing plan and case for support where based on feedback from both the board, leadership team and survey responses from dozens of constituents.
  • Contributed to the development of the current website (launched in 2014) including design and information design guidance; this is an interim ‘low budget’ redesign of their old website that is built with Ruby on Rails.

CU SBDC (Champaign, IL)
We helped to rebrand the SBDC at the Champaign County EDC which prior to the launch of was a sub-page on the EDC site. Our role included developing site architecture, content editor, and social media manager including the development and production of CU150 tech talk show.

AFP East Central Illinois Chapter. As the VP of Communications (2013-2014), President Elect (2014) and President (2015) of the Chapter we lead a major overhaul of the Chapter’s brand including website, social media and email marketing starting in 2013. You can see before and after results. For the website I implemented a complete redesign and rebranding of the Association of Fundraising Professionals ECI Chapter website including responsive design, integration of social media feeds, and easy news item creation. Formerly known as the East Central Illinois Chapter of the AFP (, I identified that the true name is AFP ECI, hence the URL and development of\afpeci. Together with a team of volunteers, I oversaw implementation of a wordpress site featuring a layer slider banner and SEO friendly widgets.

Beckman Institute. As the Director of Development for the Beckman I developed a comprehensive fundraising program that included alumni relations, communications and fundraising (together known as ‘Advancement’). I influenced the Annual Report which grew to include a section on private support. I expanded email marketing including the development of an alumni profile section to Synergy, the monthly newsletter. And I developed a new email publication targeted to alumni called Connections that consisted of news and notes to keep alumni and friends up to date on Beckman happenings and to promote engagement (volunteerism, events, and giving). I also enhanced Beckman’s social media including starting the first linkedin group for the Institute (now 855 members strong);

CU Symphony Orchestra (Champaign, IL) – Major gifts fundraising including Wealth Engine screening of their donor database and development of a major gifts fundraising initiative. I worked with the board and staff of the CUSO to help them expand their major gifts fundraising potential. Historically they had relied on incidental large gifts, ticket sales and annual fund campaign but they knew with some focus they could achieve much greater success. We screened and analyzed their donor list using WealthEngine, conducted interviews with board members and donors, and practiced ‘making the ask’ with key board and committee members.

The Watson Institute (Pittsburgh, PA) – Major gifts fundraising consulting including WealthEngine Screening and comprehensive review of their fundraising programs and strategies. I worked with the CEO of this 90 year old charitable organization to review and analyze their major gifts fundraising program and donor list. We developed a short playbook for reviewing and prioritizing major gifts prospects including identification, cultivation, and making the ask.

Illinois Green Business Association (Champaign, IL) – Developed a fundraising plan and campaign strategy based on interviews with 23 constituents including board members, community leaders and customers. Topics include: executive summary, case statement (case for support), campaign goals/objectives, revenue generation and fundraising strategies, corporate & foundation relations, gift table/pyramid, government funding opportunities, individual giving, the role of volunteers, and SWOT analysis.

Renew Missouri (Columbia, MO) – Helped this regional nonprofit advocacy organization develop a more robust major gifts fundraising program which started with a review of current programs and strengths analysis. Conducted a WealthEngine screening of their donor database to further identify and prioritize a portfolio of major gifts prospects. Conducted numerous one-one and small group coaching sessions with the leadership team to facilitate the identification, cultivation and solicitation of major gifts.

Champaign County Sustainability Network (Champaign, IL) – as a founding member and organizer of CCNET I helped organize an ongoing series of public educational workshops on sustainability topics including local food and farming, built environment, energy conservation, renewable energy, waste reduction (zero waste) and water conservation.

In Search of Genius (Chicago, IL) – I worked with the founder and CEO as a business advisor and fundraising consultant helping them work through some board development and fundraising strategies including foundation relations and major gifts fundraising.

Land Conservation Foundation (Central Illinois) – I worked with the leadership team of this upstart land trust in Piatt County that is developing a green space corridor along the Sangamon river helping them with major gift fundraising and foundation relations. Their main thrust is securing various forms of land conservation easements or outright gifts of undeveloped or developed real estate that is of ecological or cash value.

Arseh Sevom (Amsterdam, Netherlands) – Developed a priority list of international foundations for them to cultivate and solicit based on their mission to improve human rights in Iran and the middle east.

Peggy Notabaert Nature Museum (Chicago Academy of Sciences)

I developed the founding corporate advisory board for the Museum including identification, cultivation and solicitation of founding member. I worked extensively with corporate sponsors closing gifts of up to $150K.