Dugan Bassett Consulting works with non-profits, foundations, businesses, and government agencies to develop effective direct service programs and policy strategies, as well as build social momentum for world changing ideas through high impact publications and digital media.

Founded by Meegan Dugan Bassett, we tap the expertise of talented freelance program managers, strategic planners, advocates, fundraisers, writers, graphic designers, and digital media experts to help put your world changing ideas into action. We work with multiple freelancers in each skill area to ensure we have someone to meet your needs no matter how busy we get.


Meegan Dugan Bassett

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Meegan has a reputation as a strategic thinker who merges right and left brain thinking. She loves a good challenge and enjoys finding new solutions to social issues.

Beginning in 1998, Meegan has worked in higher education policy reform, workforce development, community organizing, and community development. Past projects include successfully advocating for policy changes to make Illinois financial aid more accessible to low-income adults, including over $35 million in increased funding. A former McCormick-Tribune Urban Leadership fellow, she holds a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from North Park University and a M.A. in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. Her issue interests include work equity, technology access, racial equality, educational access, labor economics, environmental policy, and international economic development.

In her free time, she enjoys swimming in Lake Michigan with her daughter, gardening, dancing, reading, and anything that keeps her out of dish duty at home.


Meet a few members of the freelance team...

Jeff Marcella


Jeff brings 20 years of workforce development experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. He specializes in assisting nonprofits and governments with strategic planning, policy and advocacy, project development and management, partnership and system building, and organizational development.

Recent projects include developing strategic plans for the San Diego and Washington, DC public workforce systems and research and policy analysis in support of the Territorial Review of the Chicago metropolitan region by the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Jeff spent eleven years in roles of increasing responsibility at the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development where he led the department’s policy and strategic planning work. Prior related experience has included positions managing the Chicago Neighborhood JobStart program for the Chicago Community Trust, working as an analyst and researcher for the Chicago Metropolitan Planning Council and delivering a welfare-to-work program at the Jubilee Association in Pittsburgh.

Jeff holds a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Divinity from the University of Chicago and a Bachelors degree from Georgetown University. The Aspen Institute’s Sector Skills Academy also named him a fellow in recognition of his expertise in sector-based job training initiatives.


Elizabeth Finlayson


Known for her infectious energy, Elizabeth is a fundraising consultant and coach with 13 years of experience at small and mid-sized non-profits. She has a passion for helping organizations develop their fundraising programs and non-profit professionals navigate the rocky waters of non-profit life. She is particularly skilled in using analytics to improve fundraising performance. Elizabeth has worked in every area of development culminating in running a department. Meegan and Elizabeth are excited to be working together again.

 Career highlights include: An 80 percent funding rate as a grant writer, growing an annual gala’s attendance by 280 percent over four years including twice significantly exceeding goal, revitalizing a direct mail program that brought in $75,000 in the second year, and increasing the number of major donors by 78 percent over four years. With her background as a professional actor, she also facilitates workshops on a variety of topics.

 When she’s not working and running after a toddler, she writes plays and poems.


Lauren Monaco

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After spending her childhood doodling, Lauren now spends her days working as a graphic designer and illustrator.  Lauren is a favorite with the Dugan Bassett team for her impeccable taste, speedy turn-arounds, and pleasant personality. She studied Communication Design at Washington University in St. Louis, and has since moved to Chicago, IL.  When she’s not working, she can often be found trying out different recipes in her tiny kitchen or drawing pictures of food.


Dannielle Shaw

With a reputation for her no-nonsense attitude and intelligent approach to projects, Dannielle is a project planning and management professional skilled in policy research, volunteer relations, and strategic planning. 

The first decade of her career, Dannielle focused on improving health and educational outcomes for families domestically and abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, policy advocate, and program and project manager. Her recent projects include developing comprehensive program implementation work plans for a parent engagement project launched by a large Chicago-based education advocacy organization and crafting a strategic plan for Freedom Games, a small STEM start-up. 

Dannielle uses insights gained from her broad and varied experience in the non-profit sector in addition to her knack for problem-solving, executive communications skills, integrity, and humor to help organizations bridge the gap between vision and implementation and tap into the potential of volunteer resources.  

Dannielle is an avid consumer of film and pop culture, and also does her best to infuse the values of community, mindfulness, and joy into her life and work. She holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and resides in Oak Park, Illinois.


Jen Pennock

Jen Pennock has fifteen years of experience in local, state, national and international advocacy and government affairs for non-profits, associations, and government.  Jen’s passion and expertise lie in grassroots and grasstops advocacy, utilizing social media to create a larger presence in the circles of influence.   

Known for her competence and sense of humor, Jen loves to train advocates and empower them to educate policymakers about the issues critical to their constituents.  She helps organizations build up an advocate base intent on developing long-lasting and fruitful relationships with policymakers.

Tapping her extensive experience planning organizational advocacy days, she provides the logistics, tools, and training needed to maximize volunteer or staff impact in the capitol. With her help, constituents learn how to schedule and conduct legislative meetings in the capitol and district offices, as well as how to stay active as community advocates throughout the year.

Jen has a Master of Science degree in Public Services Management from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marquette University. When she’s not working or talking politics, she enjoys spending time with her niece and nephew and watching baseball.