Contact Us: (773) 418-0355


Deborah Nelson, CFRE, our principal, is a fourth-generation Chicagoan with exceptional creativity, a mighty work ethic, and record-breaking results in her DNA.  Hence, the name DNA Studio.  In our studio and with your input we craft the best strategy then roll up our shirt sleeves to get ‘er done.

We’re not a fancy consulting firm, though we did that for more than a decade. What we are dedicated to now are the nuts and bolts you need to take your event or your organization to the next level.  We are all about delivering results on a project basis and in a most budget-conducive way.  Our team has worked in the trenches across all sectors of the non-profit community for a combined hundred years and we know how stretched you and your dollars are.

Bring DNA Studio to your table and get the expertise that comes from serving hundreds of non-profits of all sizes and types from across the nation. Yet in a way that, for a relatively small fee, our services give you the biggest bang for the buck so that your investment in professional support can even double your past results.  See our Results for what we’ve done for some really great people and get an idea of what we can do for you.

Deborah was on staff at the Chicago Historical Society, Chicago Botanic Garden, and Museum of Contemporary Art/Chicago where she was part of the grand opening of the new museum, the first new museum to open in Chicago in 70 years.  Under her direction, the membership program grew 500%, from 3,200 to 16,000 households, reaching the board’s goal a year ahead of schedule.

After serving as development staff for ten years, including a fundraising events position at Lutheran General Hospital Foundation, Deborah joined a consulting firm, serving some of the nation’s greatest cultural organizations and institutions of higher learning, from The Art Institute of Chicago and Santa Barbara Zoo to Harvard and Duke Universities, by delivering strategic plans and fundraising appeals.

Deborah also served as interim president of a major chamber of commerce, executive director for the Gridiron Alliance, and grant writer for Metropolis Performing Arts Center.

She is currently on staff at one of the Chicago area’s top media companies, generating sponsorships from businesses to support local community guides.  Deborah is also an elected official in her hometown, serving as vice president of the board of one of the nation’s finest five-star libraries.

Deborah has a B.A. from Lake Forest College where she double majored in English and Spanish.  She studied in Madrid and worked at Santillana Publishing where her original works were published.  A life-long learner, she continues to take classes and travel.  She has won numerous professional and volunteer awards.

Her two children – one who is a gifted learner and one who has special needs – teach Deborah the importance of giving and caring.  She’s a tireless advocate for education and citizens with disabilities.

Deborah is dedicated to helping students as a board member of the District 214 Education Foundation.


We doubled attendance and increased revenues with Debbie's help!

It was for our annual SUPERBOWLING with the Little Angels event in 2014...

Vivian Leabhart

Lions Club International

In a word, Deborah Nelson is GREAT. Great at analyzing the issues; great at identifying the challenges; great at thinking outside the proverbial box to develop realistic solutions...

Jim Yunker

The Yunker Group

Debbie is a highly adaptable professional who can work across a wide variety of projects. Her attention to detail, insight for the key points, and organizational skills enable sustainable partnerships...

Barbara Jakomin

Paddock Publications

Deborah Nelson, CFRE

505 West Maude Avenue

Arlington Heights, IL 60004

(773) 418-0355

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