Crane: Unfold Your Story

Patti Crane

CRANE founder, strategic consultant, and mentor


For Patti, redefinition is the driving force behind a career spanning more than three decades. As the National Endowment for the Arts’ first-ever intern, Patti was introduced at an early age to the basics of strong nonprofit marketing and fundraising. She couldn’t help but mentally apply those principles to the college campuses she visited across the country as part of her role. At almost every turn, though, Patti saw dissonance between the status quo of educational marketing and fundraising and a much better, much more transformative approach.

Nearly 20 years would unfold between those early revelations and the founding of CRANE in 1996, but Patti never stopped learning, never stopped pushing the envelope, and never stopped questioning the established way of doing something in search of a more effective, more efficient, more visionary approach.

Always an innovator, Patti is also an unusually skilled and careful architect of process—thoughtfully journeying through new possibilities, but never plunging into haphazard improvisation. The result is a resilient, well-woven web of internal best practices and program procedures that will steadfastly support CRANE’s work, through every transformation to come.


Where some see roadblocks to bypass, Patti has always seen opportunities to confront directly. Over the years, she’s helped hundreds of mission-driven organizations—from independent schools and colleges and universities to religious denominations, state bars, and civil justice foundations—think newly about themselves, reach best-fit audiences, and plot their course to revenue-enhancing practices and sustained future success.

She also has a remarkable eye for seeing the possibilities within people. Over the years, Patti has built a thriving business and a track record of proven success—all while simultaneously helping dozens of writers, designers, project managers, administrative talents, and marketing specialists build upon their own professional potential. Some CRANEs followed their developing strengths into other professions and fields, while others remained at Patti’s side in roles she ensured could expand and evolve in step with their burgeoning proficiencies and passions. Many of Patti Crane’s most enduring achievements have spun out of her endeavors as a mentor/teacher—a role in which she has always offered seasoned support as needed, given credit where credit is due, and tirelessly opened doors to individual development, independent thought, and personal mastery.


Patti sees past the expected horizon and arrives at solutions that turn conventional approaches on their head. She has done this for countless clients, who found in her native optimism and earned expertise the courage to re-envision their institutions.

We, too, derive strength from Patti’s vision. As we look ahead to a new iteration of CRANE, we are steadied by her confidence in us—and reassured to know that we will continue to have both her intricate professional insights and her wide-ranging human wisdom to draw from.