Tom Ralser

Principal, Director of Outcomes Lab
Tom Ralser


Tom Ralser

Principal, Director of Outcomes Lab

Tom has worked with organizations of all kinds, from Chambers of Commerce to religious organizations, from national museums to rural health networks, and from local youth organizations to international research institutes. Tom pioneered the concept of applying return on investment (ROI) principles to nonprofit fundraising, and fundraisers have described his work as the “silver bullet” that justifies larger investments in nonprofit organizations. Clients in every field of the nonprofit sector have benefited from increased funding by using his innovative ROI analyses and applications.

Hundreds of organizations have utilized Tom’s sustainability planning techniques to ensure they can thrive in a tight money environment. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, which provides the framework his Investment-Driven Model™ of fundraising, and led to the development of the Organizational Value Proposition®, which is widely used by corporations, foundations, and individuals as confirmation that the nonprofits in which they invest are truly delivering outcomes with value. His specialty of utilizing for -profit concepts and methods in the nonprofit world has helped nonprofits raise over an estimated $1.1 billion in the 18 years he has worked with them.

Tom is a frequent and highly acclaimed speaker, usually addressing topics revolving around the Investment-Driven Model™ for fundraising, outcome-based sustainability planning, and delivering value to nonprofit investors.

Summary of Experience

  • Personally involved in over 500 nonprofit funding projects in all 50 states.
  • Authored the best-selling book ROI for Nonprofits: The New Key to Sustainability and the recently released Asking Rights: Why Some Nonprofits Get Funded (and some don’t).
  • Holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, ranked by Economist magazine as the “gold standard” for investment analysis.
  • Session leader and/or keynote speaker at dozens of conferences, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Western Healthcare Alliance, Grant Professional’s Association, Center for Excellence in Nonprofits, the National Center on Nonprofit Enterprise, Trends in Philanthropy, the Nonprofit Excellence Conference, the Foundation Center, the Council of Officers for Resource Development, the International Economic Development Council, and many more.
  • Founding Director of Western Colorado Bureau of Economic and Business Research at Colorado Mesa University, where he was also a tenured professor.
  • Earned a BS in Marketing from Illinois State University and an MS in Finance from the University of Utah.


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