Need a project manager? Cheerleader? Someone to come in, sort through the muck, and tell you what the next steps are? Can do.

Case Study: Imagination Library of Denver & Denver Grilled Cheese Fest

In Dolly we trust.

I was thrilled when Imagination Library of Denver, a local affiliate of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, initially asked me to help with their annual Denver Grilled Cheese Fest. At the time the parent of a young child, Imagination Library’s mission to increase access to age-appropriate books for children under 5 and promote kindergarten readiness reached right into the center of my toddler-mom heart. Plus, the idea that eating our weight in ooey gooey grilled cheese would go to a good cause? Sold!

Little did I know that working on that first event would turn into a years-long partnership; one where I would support Imagination Library of Denver on a number of projects, strategic initiatives, and other ongoing coaching assignments. Or that I’d enroll my child in the program and advocate for the organization throughout my community.


Though individual events need to sell tickets, increase brand awareness, and, of course raise funds, this client’s larger goals break down as such:

  • Evolve from a small, upstart organization with a part-time staff member to a sustained nonprofit with an effective board and additional staff members
  • Expand Imagination Library of Denver’s service area from three zip codes to the entire city of Denver
  • Build both the Imagination Library of Denver and Denver Grilled Cheese Fest brands to grow future fundraising efforts

“Leah is thoughtfully process driven. She has helped us grow both internally through her coaching and externally with her strong knowledge of both the Denver landscape and nonprofit capacity building. She’s a lovely person to work with and we highly recommend her to work with your organization. We’re lucky to have the ability to work with Ms. Charney!”

Sara Randall
Executive Director
Imagination Library of Denver

Services Included.

Event Marketing

  • Strategy + Execution:
    • Marketing and Media plan for Denver Grilled Cheese Fest
    • Audit of event-related websites, social media accounts, and all assets
    • Social media consulting and recommendations (no planning or execution)
  • Words + Graphics:
    • Website copy
    • Facebook event page copy
    • Email copy

Event Media Relations

  • Strategy + Execution:
    • Identified 84 media outlets or appropriate media contacts with food and/or nonprofit beats for targeted coverage
    • Inventory of 25 community calendars and websites for event listing
  • Words + Graphics:
    • Editing press releases and punching up copy

Branding & Fundraising

  • Strategy + Execution:
    • Full audit of new Imagination Library of Denver website for errors and omissions, usability, marketing function, and furthering goals: Does the site do what the organization wants or needs it to?
    • Creation of annual fundraising plan, including breakdown of and suggestions on where to find funds (e.g. specific ideas for sponsors, grants, reaching donors, suggested community partners, and ideas for additional fundraising events) 
  • Words + Graphics:
    • Expanding sponsorship inquiry letters
    • Updated sponsorship decks for both Imagination Library of Denver and specific fundraising events
    • General copy editing and review of advertisements, social media images, newsletters, etc.


  • Job descriptions for Executive Director, Board Chair, and Board of Directors members
  • Activation and recruitment plan for Board of Directors:
    • Detailed documentation with recommendations for governance, policies and bylaws, activating existing members, recruiting new members, financial expectations of board members (AKA give + get), clear delineation of board duties and executive director or staff duties
    • Portions were used as a training manual to onboard new board members as well as train existing board members as Imagination Library of Denver moved from their first years of existence into the next chapters of growth and organizational development

Coaching & Training

  • Holding and hosting effective meetings
  • Finding partners, potential donors/sponsors, and professionals who can further the goals of the organization
  • Contract and proposal review for fundraising events