President of Oommen Consulting LLC
Sunil Oommen is President of Oommen Consulting LLC, a boutique practice focused on fundraising, events, and project management.
Sunil founded Oommen Consulting after spending 20 years developing a broad base of skills and expertise in fundraising, communications, and community relations. Most recently, Sunil served as Senior Director of Development for Human Rights First, an international human rights organization. Prior, he served in various fundraising and leadership roles at Amnesty International USA, A Better Chance, South Asian Youth Action, GLAAD, and the New York Blood Center. He currently serves as a Board Member and Chair of the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access Committee of the New York City Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
How did you get interested in the fundraising profession?
I was doing community relations work at the New York Blood Center many years ago as a member of its External Affairs (EA) department. I had the opportunity to interact with other EA colleagues, including those in Development. One day the Director of Development approached me and said I’d be really good at fundraising. I thanked her, and thought about exploring it further. I took an introductory class on fundraising at New York University to understand the field better, and then I got hooked. I decided to focus my energy raising funds to make positive change possible for social justice and human rights ever since.
What is something you wish you knew early on in your fundraising career?
I wish I knew about the value of securing mentors, sponsors, and advisers earlier in my career. I would’ve loved some support outside my workplace to provide some fresh perspective and wisdom – especially from fellow fundraisers of color who would have been the only ones to understood intimately some of the specific and sometimes hairy issues I had to deal with as a fundraiser. That’s why I am excited to be part of AADO; I want to help build a community of fundraisers of color who can rely on one another.
What is the one quality every fundraiser should have?
Persistence! Because we regularly get knocked down, and it’s just as important to show that we can dust ourselves off and charge forward again.
What inspires you about the fundraising profession?
I am consistently inspired by the generosity of my fellow fundraising professionals. We freely share advice with one another, and I feel like I have an extended family of wise counselors who are always ready to lend a hand or share words of support. I’m also inspired by new possibilities for the profession – namely, working on ways to advance our fellow fundraisers of color and deepening my own practice in the art and science of inclusive philanthropy.
How do you want to be remembered as a professional?
I want to be remembered as someone who acted always with integrity, focused on doing my very best at all times, and that I made a difference in the quest to ensure that all human beings everywhere are treated with dignity and respect.