About Melissa


Melissa M. Firman is an accomplished fundraising and communications executive with more than 20 years of development experience with nonprofit organizations of all sizes.

A Philadelphia native who now resides in Pittsburgh, Melissa is a proud alumna of Cabrini College in Radnor, Pa., where she earned a B.A. in English/Communications.  Since then, she has focused her  nonprofit career on creating and implementing capacity-building fundraising and community relations initiatives designed to raise funds to positively impact the lives of students, children and adults with disabilities, women and girls in need, and survivors of abuse. 

Melissa started her career as a special events assistant with the American Cancer Society’s Philadelphia Division, coordinating logistical details for events such as the Bike-a-Thon, Making Strides Against Cancer, and Relay for Life. She also served as the ACS representative to the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, coordinating workplace giving campaigns for 90 nonprofits in Philadelphia. 

As Director of Alumni Relations and Special Events for Gwynedd-Mercy College, Melissa managed a 10,000 member alumni program and implemented the first college-wide Alumni Day reunion event in 10 years. From there, she moved on to serve as Director of Corporate and Public Relations for Woods Services in Langhorne, Pa.; the first Executive Director for The Bucks County Women’s Fund, and Director of Development and Public Relations for Laurel House, one of Pennsylvania’s largest and most comprehensive domestic violence programs.  

Melissa has spoken about and conducted workshops on social media strategy and content development for nonprofits, planning and managing special events, and volunteer management. Through the comprehensive Mentor Program of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Greater Philadelphia Chapter, she has been privileged to be a mentor for new fundraisers. In 2009, Melissa was named as among 16 women selected as Visionary Leadership Fellows in the Valentine Foundation’s CLEAR (Cultivating Leadership, Excellence, and Responsibility) Circle program at LaSalle University.  

An avid reader and book blogger, Melissa has been blogging since August 2008. She has attended the Book Blogger Convention in 2010 and 2011, BlogHer'10. 

As a new resident of Pittsburgh, Melissa has embraced much that the city has to offer. She was selected as a participant in Vibrant Pittsburgh's New Arrivals Bridge Program and is currently a freelance writer, editor, grantwriter, nonprofit consultant, blogger, and speaker. She can be reached at thefirmangroup@gmail.com