Zoot Velasco
Official website of Zoot Velasco


Inspiring Leadership



Zoot has been a speaker statewide for Rotary International speaking about the history of Rotary. He has been a keynote speaker and workshop leader for:

  • Arts In Corrections
  • CA Preservation Conference
  • CA Association of Museums Conference 
  • CA Arts Council
  • CA Preservation Conference
  • CA State University Fullerton's Summer School for Nonprofits (Keynote & Presenter)
  • OC Funder's Roundtable Conference
  • Riverside Arts Council
  • Utah Community Action Partnership Poverty Conference (Keynote & Presenter)

He has raised thousands as an emcee and auctioneer, including raising $43,000 in one night for Rotary District 5230 Typhoon Relief.

He trains new leaders for California State University Fullerton, California STate University Long Beach, California Polytechnic Institute Pomona, CharityHowTo.com, and others.

"I heard nothing but rave reviews about your comments, suggestions, and ideas. Thank you for participating, experience, and expertise!" -Lester Fujimoto, CFRE, Beverley Hospital Foundation (comments after Zoot performed their keynote address)

EmCee for art and charity auctions can get $5,000 more from your auction!

Topics for speaking includes:

  • Youth Inspirational Keynote- Overcoming an orthopedic disability to become a professional break dancer!

  • Organizational Keynote- The Future Is Now:  501c3 Organizations in The 21st Century

  • New Podcast Keynote- 501(c)(3)(b)(s): Deprogramming for Organizational Success

  • 11 Other Topics Available for speeches (See below...)

Workshop/Speaking Topics


  1. What Makes A Leader? You will learn proven techniques of leadership; the core principles of leadership, management and supervision and how they differ; and how to make others own your ideas as theirs.  You will use your organization’s mission as a catalyst for change. The presenter’s leadership abilities have taken him to lead groups in prisons, juvenile halls, nonprofits, businesses and government, from gang members to bureaucrats for systemic change.
  2. Strategic Partners in Success: How to Double or Triple Your Capacity with a Strategic Partnership Model. You will learn how to create a resource map, use networks to create strong partnerships, and collectively meet your mission while driving new funding. You will discover the differences between networks, strategic partnerships and collective impact models. With this strategy the presenter has quadrupled capacity and tripled the budget during a recession.
  3. A Vortex of Talent: Drawing Great Staff, Board and Volunteers to Your Mission. You will learn unconventional methods that creates a great, diverse board, staff and volunteer core through mission-building. A mind-blowing system that turns the for-profit model upside down and creates a new paradigm in thinking about recruitment and retention. With this model the presenter changed a stale board to a young, diverse board that effectively doubles the staff and grew the volunteer core from under 200 to over 600.
  4. Programming Success: Program Design, Evaluation, Implementation and Funding. Do you know when to evaluate your programs and what method to use for each type? Can you identify what is working and what is not with each program? Can you tell what type of program is needed for your situation? You will learn best practices for creating great programs, evaluating them and growing them. With this model, your presenter has taken a single arts education program and grew it to 45 sites in 11 cities serving over 15,000 students and hiring 35 contract artists in just 6 years.
  5. Backing Your Mission Part 1: Fund Development for Community Benefit Organizations. You will learn basic strategies for developing funds while developing your mission. Your presenter is a Certified Fundraising Executive and MBA grad who has raised over $25 Million for various organizations and programs in his career in small nonprofits.
  6. Backing Your Mission Part 2: Basics of Grant and Proposal Writing. The secret and not so secret tricks to making great proposals and having them funded. With these methods, your presenter has grown grants at his organization by an average of 50% each year for the past 9 years. His grant success rate is over 75% funding each year on grants written.
  7. Marketing Your Mission. It is tricky to market a small organization these days where people are caught between the analog and the digital worlds. In this workshop you will learn basics of not only what makes good marketing, but what doesn’t. You will learn to use your money and workforce with proper priorities so you don’t spin your wheels on strategies that defeat you and suck out all your cash. Your presenter as grown audiences by 1400%, members by 600% and patrons by 400% in his first 5 years at the helm. Learn how he did it.


  1. 501(c)(3)(b)(s): Deprogramming for Organizational Growth. In this keynote speech or workshop you will learn all the myths about our sewctor and how to overcome them. Based on the book and poscast Zoot is currently working on.
  2. Backing Your Mission Part 3: Creating Social Enterprise (SE). Every organization has assets. In this workshop you will learn how to leverage those assets for profit. The presenter’s organization gets a third of their budget from an SE business. He has done a study of social enterprises for different types of organizations and even created a STEAM program based on designing SE.
  3. Backing Your Mission Part 4: Capital Campaigns and Endowments. You will learn the basics for the proper way to plan, build and fund capital campaigns and endowments for your organizations.  Our presenter has built five new art centers in Southern California, and doubled his endowment funding at his current organization.
  4. Mapping the Future: Strategic Planning You Will Actually Use! You will learn how to define your mission, goals and budget while creating a clear vision for the future that everyone can own as their vision in a way that builds consensus with stakeholders, draws in investment, and makes goals achievable. Using this model the presenter has founded, built and developed over a dozen nonprofits in Southern California- most with over $500,000 in new funding in 16 months or less.
  5. The Future Is Now: Community Benefit Organizations in the 21st Century. Learn how to stop being controlled by the future and technology and start controlling it. You don’t have to be a tech genius to take advantage of simple software, apps and tools to update your mission for this century. If technology is taking too much of your time, you are doing it wrong. Learn how to save time with technology. The presenter was the first in Orange County to present STEAM programs teaching technology through the arts, winning the California Superintendent of Education’s award for Museum Excellence in 2016. His website operates a virtual cultural center that brings visitors from around the world and creates new platforms for programs, fundraising and understanding.
  6. Succession Planning: What Happens When You Leave? Many great leaders leave their posts to see everything they build slowly dismantled or rot away. Learn how to create an infrastructure and succession plan that survives after you leave. Your presenter has built a dozen organizations in Southern California which have prospered after his tenure due to these techniques.
  7. Virtual Space How to convert your website and social media into a virtual version of your organization that patrons can visit.
  8. DIY Fundraising: Many people think “I would like to start my own nonprofit organization,” which is usually a horrible idea. But people can solve that urge by hosting a fundraiser for their favorite organizations, and organizations are figuring out how they can help with this effort and raise more money than an annual gala with no effort or expenses. Best of all, they market the organizations. Service clubs, student groups and individuals are all getting in on this trend in fundraising that could be the future of fundraising. Remember the ice bucket challenge? It was a DIY project. I will show you how events like these bring funding, marketing and great stories to your organization with minimal effort on your part:
  • Home parties ($5,000-$30,000 net)
  • Memorial Services (in lieu of flowers donations $5,000- $30,000 net)
  • Organization walks/runs ($30,000-300,000 net)
  • Fraternity/Sorority Events like giant twister parties, croquet tournaments, talent shows or dance-a-thons ($1,000-10,000 net)
  • Jr. High Social Enterprise Fairs ($1,000- 100,000 net)
  • DIY Auction items (https://www.pinterest.com/fundraiserideas/diy-fundraiser-ideas/)
  • Social Media Challenges ($5,000- Millions net)

NOTE: Zoot can also do custom tailored programs from these topics. He has done such programs on Cultural Tourism, Managing a Historic Site, Planning a Conference or Fundraiser, Volunteer Management (For the Docent League), The Business of Art for Artists, and other topics.

Zoot also does intensive weekend retreats for new community leaders, pastors, and other emerging leaders in the beautiful mountains of Lake Arrowhead.