Joint Development Collective (JDC) develops strategies and campaigns to drive support for purpose-driven causes. As Toronto’s first Fundraising Communications Studio, their specialties include strategy, brand development, digital campaigns, e-giving, and government grants.
They also provide seminars and consultations in the area of fundraising communications, including prospect research, brand development and digital marketing.
With an impressive roster of clients in the not-for-profit space, Co-founder, Director of Funding & Resource Development, Marisol Fornoni, Co-founder, Director of Digital Marketing & Communications, Silvia Fornoni, and Maria Piñeros, Creative & Branding Director, remain steadfast in the mission of JDC; to develop strategies and design campaigns — all to drive support for social missions.
Please enjoy 10 Questions with Marisol Fornoni, Silvia Fornoni and Maria Piñeros.
1. In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
We chose this entrepreneurial journey because we believed it was the best way for three young professional women to express ownership, independence, and creativity over their own work.
We wanted to do something that didn’t exist in Toronto, and so while we each experimented with entrepreneurship before starting JDC, it was the funding issue we were trying to solve that pushed us to choose this route.
2. What problem are you solving?
Many starter entrepreneurs and organizations in the city are looking for funding. Often they feel frustrated by the limited financial opportunities, especially when it comes to grants and government funding for starter companies. It can be quite difficult to find the right fundraising tools and niche-market networks for you to get your ideas off the ground.
Our team helps to provide fundraising support through coaching, workshops, and customized branding and marketing services.
Although our services focus primarily on developing projects with social missions, we work regularly with entrepreneurs to build up their lead prospects and partnerships.
3. What’s the biggest thing you struggle with as an entrepreneur?
Seeing as JDC is Toronto’s first and only Fundraising Communications Studio, we had to work extensively to craft a new language that could easily be digested by clients, partners and online audiences. It has taken time for us to change people’s perception of what fundraising means and is.
Fundraising includes grant writing, but it’s so much more than that. It is developing relationships, reaching out to partners, fortifying your brand, and shopping your message to the right audience. It’s the opportunity for you to establish and grow your business sustainably.
4. What does a typical day consist of?
Because every day is different, we like to start our day by checking in with each other. It’s important for us to make sure that everyone is in sync and on the same page.
From there, we start our work day by meeting with clients, working on projects, sending out proposals, and answering emails.
Throughout the day, we prefer to drink tea over coffee, as we’re prone to caffeine jitters. Go #TeamTea!
5. What do you love to do at night?
Seeing as we’re busy during the day, we like to take it easy at night.
Whether it’s enjoying a good Netflix series, meeting up with friends, or spending time with family — we try to remind ourselves that there’s a world outside of entrepreneurship.
Balance is important to us — we need the mental, emotional, and physical strength to keep growing as individuals and as a business.
6. How do you dress to exude confidence?
We wear clothes that feel ‘professionally’ comfortable. We want to feel good in our skin without giving in to people’s expectations of what we should look or dress like. Style-wise our team loves anything colourful and minimalistic.
7. Yoga, strength training, cardio or all three?
This depends on who you ask! Marisol loves strength training, whereas Maria and Silvia enjoy cardio more. All three of us also enjoy a good meditation sesh.
8. How does your culture / background influence your work?
Our cultural backgrounds are a mishmash of everything. We all grew up outside out of Canada. Maria is Colombian. Silvia and Marisol — who are sisters — are half Italian, half Peruvian but grew up in the Netherlands.
The fact that we are from so many different places impacts how we see our work and run our business. Our diverse backgrounds really drive us to create an environment that is welcoming, resourceful, and nurturing for clients.
9. What do you consider to be a life well lived?
An abundance of love and purpose.
10. If you could write your own obituary, what would the tagline say?
We’ve been trying to answer this question for the past five minutes while giggling for the last four. Seeing as we’re in work-mode, and we didn’t want this to be too depressing, we created these work-related taglines instead:
Marisol (Co-founder, Director of Funding & Resource Development)
She put the ‘fun’ in fundraising,
Silvia (Co-founder, Director of Digital Marketing & Communications)
Life finally ‘unfollowed’ her.
Maria (Creative & Branding Director)
She left a void. Now there’s too much negative space.
Photo credit: Brian Bray