’s 5 in 3 Non-Profit Leadership Series: Paul Morris, Deputy Director of Elevate Oregon
3 min readDec 11, 2020


Elevate Oregon builds relationships with urban youth to promote education, self-reliance, and leadership

Welcome to’s 5 in 3 non-profit leadership series. We ask non-profit leaders all over the world to answer 5 question about their non-profit experience to create this 3-minute piece.’s mission is to empower organizations to thrive, inspire, and serve the world. Though we primarily do this through technology, providing a platform to share the stories and experiences of leaders in the non-profit space is also an important part of executing on that mission.

I am pleased to introduce Paul Morris. Paul is the Deputy Director of Elevate Oregon. Over a close to 30-year career in fundraising, Paul’s work has resulted in millions of dollars being raised and thousands of donors being engaged for a wide spectrum of not-for-profit organizations. He has led successful development efforts in direct health services at the state and national levels; regional theatre; architectural preservation; a statewide organization offering chess to low-income students; and now leads development, communication, and operations as the Deputy Director for Elevate Oregon, an organization focused on breaking generational cycles of poverty in outer NE Portland through a classroom curriculum and 1:1 mentoring.

How did you get your start in the non-profit space?

I couldn’t get hired cleaning swimming pools for a summer while in college. I started at an HIV/AIDS related nonprofit as a work-study student in development and realized this is what I was called to do. I’ve now worked in the nonprofit field since 1994.

What is one challenge you’ve encountered that you didn’t expect while working for a non-profit?

Many people live with a scarcity mindset or a deep fear of the future. There’s never enough. It’s never good enough. So why try? It’s easy to stay in one spot. It’s comfortable. Non-profits are really about creating opportunities for change. We offer critical solutions to our communities. Change can be uncomfortable, and it is risky, but it’s worth it. Too many times, non-profits just stop. They worry about having enough money or doing the ‘right’ thing and while those are important, my experience has been that by having vision and being willing to stick to it, even if it is risky, good things can happen.

What is one opportunity you’ve identified because of the changes due to COVID-19?

Take a risk. Why not? After nearly 30 years in this work, I am VERY cognizant of the struggles that many nonprofits face every day. Those struggles are real, made even more real by the times we live in. I believe that non-profits can, and should, lead the way in innovating and finding solutions to intractable problems. Nonprofits already do! So we have to be unafraid to stretch ourselves and take risks. NOW. Hope is not a fundraising strategy. To stay still, to say we can’t, or we don’t have enough, or it’s too uncertain, or — fill in the blank — denies people the opportunity to join you to bring to life the vision that you have for your community.

What is your most effective fundraising medium?

Face to face

What is one fundraising rule you live by?

Hope is NOT a fundraising strategy

Thank you for sharing your story Paul.

You can learn more about Elevate Oregon and Paul below.

Paul Morris, Deputy Director of Elevate Oregon

Elevate Oregon:

Paul on LinkedIn:



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