Meet Marisol Fornoni of Joint Development Collective

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Find out why Marisol puts her cellphone on airplane mode every day and what she considers to be the best advice ever received.

In your words, what is your primary role at JDC?

Marisol: I am JDC’s Co-Founder and Lead Fundraiser.

How did you and your co-founders start your business? What did you hope to achieve?

Marisol: Before JDC, we only offered fundraising services to socially-driven organizations through grant-writing and funding requests. What we soon realized was that technology was changing how projects attracted and received funding. That’s why we decided to integrate marketing, communications and branding into our work. We wanted to become an easy, one-stop solution for clients’ online and offline fundraising needs. Our intention was always to support organizations to grow and thrive, and find diverse ways of doing so.

Tell us about an interesting or funny experience you had during your first year of operations. 

Marisol: There are so many interesting experiences we have encountered over the years! Probably one of the strangest moments was when we were co-sharing an office space. One of the friends of the people we were co-sharing decided that the office would serve as the perfect spot for a napping station. He would come in during regular business hours, sit down at a desk, pretend to work on his computer, and nap away. We planned an intervention – overall, it was a ridiculous experience!

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?

Marisol: Whenever possible, we strive to be flexible to accommodate to the needs of our clients. However, through the years, we have also learned that too much flexibility can work against us and compromise the impact of the projects we’re working on.

While we continue to be flexible, we have developed an extensive intake process to ensure that we work with clients who appreciate our areas of expertise and are in sync with our work ethics and methods. We have made it a point to not budge on these fundamental processes, as doing so prevents both clients and JDC from thriving.

What is a day in the life of Marisol like?

Marisol: My phone is on airplane mode for the first half hour of my day. I make a hot drink and start answering emails. I usually carve out time for writing or work that requires me to be more focused in the afternoon. I love taking breaks with food or by catching some fresh air outside. I try to get some exercise at the end of the day to get my mind off work and turn my phone back into airplane mode when it’s bed time. It may not sound very exciting, but that’s my ideal day. Most days, I am either meeting with clients, going to events, working on fundraising projects or strategizing with the rest of the team.

What is your favourite app du jour?

Marisol: Pocket Casts – an amazing podcast app!

What is the best advice you ever received?

Marisol: Don’t internalize other people’s insecurities. People often have mixed reactions when we tell them we own our own business. Sometimes they are skeptical and deflect their own insecurities about their employment onto us. I try to remind myself that people’s opinions are theirs and not mine. I try to empathize with them as much as possible.

What is your favourite coffee shop in Toronto?

Marisol: Run and Gun Coffee by Dufferin and Dundas Street West.

What’s next for JDC?

Marisol: We are continuing to expand the range of services we offer and will be offering online training modules in 2018.

What’s next for you?  

Marisol: JDC is in a great place right now, which means I am about to have a better work-life balance. For myself, I am interested in continuing to develop my skills as an entrepreneur, fundraiser, nonprofit professional and community member. I am also planning to travel so hopefully, I’ll be visiting a few new places this year.

For more information on what we do, read more here.




Shirley Lui