Clark Vandeventer is the former deputy director of the historic home of President Ronald Reagan and has more than fifteen years of experience in the field of major gifts fundraising and relationship building with major donors. In 2008 he founded MajorGiftsFundraiser.com and has worked as a consultant to a wide variety of non-profit clients.
In a few short years, Clark rose from intern to deputy director of the Reagan Ranch. He played a key role in raising the funds to develop the $20 Million Reagan Ranch Center in downtown Santa Barbara where he recruited, trained, and supervised key staff positions and worked closely with the Director of the Reagan Ranch and President of Young America’s Foundation. He contributed to all areas of the Reagan Ranch’s fundraising effort including major gifts, estate planning, direct mail, special events, donor recognition, donor involvement, working with volunteers, board appointments, and board development. He’s an expert in Moves Management and creating experiences that inspire customer, donor, and activist evangelists. He also has an innate ability to connect with individuals on a very personal and intimate level. Clark has personally participated in more than 1,400 individual donor meetings and has successfully solicited tens of millions of dollars.
In 2008, just as the early birth pangs of The Great Recession were being felt, Clark realized he was no longer passionate about his work at the Reagan Ranch. With reckless abandon, he quit his job. Trudging through the Great Recession, by 2010, Clark was a candidate for United States Congress.
He bet big on winning, putting all other work on hold and cashing out his retirement to be a full time candidate. When he lost his election, he was out of money and out of work. Two months after being a rising political star and candidate for Congress, Clark moved his wife and two young children into his in-laws garage.That’s when Clark began the process of reinventing his life.
In 2011, Clark began sorting through his thoughts and launched his blog FamilyTrek.org while he and his wife spent endless hours in fireside chats. This season of his life culminated with the publishing of Clark’s book, unWorking, a guide to lifestyle design and creating a life that’s arranged around the things you value most. Clark has been a guest on many top rated podcasts to talk about the themes in unWorking. He’s currently working on a new book — a follow-up of sorts, that is set to publish in 2017, where he dispels what he calls the bootstrapping myth.
After his campaign for Congress, Clark was disillusioned with politics and completed retreated from the public policy arena. He’s still disillusioned, just a little less so. Cynicism often parades as wisdom, but it’s usually born from a wound. He re-found his political fervor during the 2016 Presidential election and published his second book, Backdoor to the White House, and began sharing his political observations on his Facebook page Clark on Politics.
In addition to his writing, in recent years Clark has remained committed to helping his non-profit clients and mentoring a new generation of development professionals.
Jerold Panas, the founder and Chairman of the Institute for Charitable Giving, said “He [Clark] knows how to manage people, he works effectively with volunteers and board members, he knows every aspect of fundraising and operating a development office, and best of all — he loves asking for gifts. He’s a star.”
Steven Sutton, the Vice-President for Development at the Leadership Institute called Clark the “zen master of major donor relationships,” adding, “Clark’s training and consulting is the most cost effective investment we have made… and is chiefly responsible for our major donor fundraising success.”
Today, Clark and his wife Monica live in Santa Barbara and enjoy a lifestyle of design through patchwork income. He’s a passionate father, cyclist, and skier. He’s also passionate about travel. In 2014 he and his family spent three months in Thailand, they’ve gone on multiple road-trips across the USA, and have spent months at a time traveling around Central America. He’s been to 49 states and 14 counties. In 2017 he’s planning trips to Alaska (#50!), Cuba, and a 500 mile bike ride from Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark.