Monthly Archives: August 2011


Foundation Seeks to Help Consultants Help Nonprofits

When most foundations want to strengthen the management of the organizations they support, they hire consultants to work with grantees. They figure that the consultants will help nonprofits grow in their ability to serve the community.

In Phoenix, St. Luke’s Health Initiatives believes in investing directly in the consultants so that local nonprofits of all kinds (not just the foundation’s grantees) will have access to the kind of training they need.

The strategy evolved naturally from other wor…


New Organizations Pose Challenges for Nonprofit Consultants

Some organizations have found a way to get the best out of the nonprofit and business worlds.

A growing number of organizations combine business and nonprofit structures that offer them the best of both nonprofit and for-profit worlds. They can retain profits but are also able to raise money from both shareholders and foundations. As these organizations grow, they present new challenges and new opportunities for consultants.

First, it helps to understand how two of the most popular socially orie…


A Gold Mine of Data About Smart Ways to Help Nonprofits

Much of my 32-year career working for nonprofits has been as a consultant who helps organizations make better use of technology.

As I look for ways to improve my practice, I get feedback from clients and (try) to keep up on a never-ending stream of technology information. But instruction on how to design workshops or consulting engagements, the cornerstone of my practice, is not quite as plentiful. Even more difficult to find are studies about what nonprofits are looking for in a consultant rela…


How the Downturn Changes Strategy Work

As CEO of CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, which provides management advice to charities, I spend a large portion of every day thinking, in one form or another, about strategy.

Over the past three years, my thinking, like that of many of my colleagues, has changed radically.

First, strategy now seems to be as much about good decision making as good planning. Rather than thinking of myself as the expert architect of a process that will eventually yield strategy, I now work with executives to make…


The Need for Good Advice

Consultants are a huge and growing part of the nonprofit landscape.

By 2018, some 1.8 million consultants will be at work in the United States—up 83 percent in a decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts. Even if just a small share of them work with nonprofits, that’s a lot of new consultants.

But the real question is whether those consultants will do a good job.

After all, the barrier for entry is quite low. You don’t need to do much to call yourself a consultant.

No universal standa…