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Compass provides consulting services in six areas called service lines. Choosing a service line helps clients and teams focus and narrow the project scope so it is manageable in the time available.

Compass’ Service Lines are: Board Development, Funding Strategies, Partnerships and Collaborations, Strategic Alignment,Strategic Marketing, and Strategic Planning.

Should My Organization Apply for a Compass Project?

Service Lines

Compass provides consulting services in six areas called service lines. Choosing a service line helps clients focus the project scope so it is manageable in a seven to nine month consulting engagement. Compass’ service lines are: Board Development, Funding Strategies,Partnerships and Collaborations, Strategic Alignment,Strategic Marketing, and Strategic Planning.

When applying for a project, nonprofit applicants must select one service line as their primary choice. Applicants desiring more than one service line can reapply in future years, but Compass will only work on one type of project at a time. Final decisions about clients depend on the quality of the application and clarity of the stated project goals, a prospective client’s readiness for the project, as well as Compass’ need for service line, geographic and issue area diversity.

For more information on each service line, see the descriptions below.

Board Development

The goal of a Board Development project is to improve board effectiveness and engagement to sustain a high performing board. Compass can provide an objective evaluation of board operations. The team will then help the Board build a solid foundation of governance, recruitment, training, committee structures, and meeting and committee practices. Compass helps the Board develop an appropriate style given its current membership and organizational needs, along with best practices for Board operations.

Funding Strategy

Compass Funding Strategy projects help nonprofit organizations broaden or deepen their current sources of revenue and work toward the goal of long-term sustainability through effective fundraising. A Funding Strategy project recommends untapped sources for funding, sometimes helping to screen out less promising sources, and also recommends improved ways to communicate with current and potential donors. (Applicants for funding projects must have a current strategic plan in place and an engaged, governing Board of Directors.)

Partnerships and Collaborations

To leverage expertise and make more efficient use of resources, many nonprofits consider partnering with other organizations as a means to identify complementary strengths and best practices to better fulfill a common mission. For nonprofits interested in options that involve combining resources with another nonprofit, Compass will assist in assessing the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships or collaborations. Financial and cultural issues will be considered. Compass will recommend potential actions for the board and senior management to consider, along with an analysis of the resulting implications for all organizations involved.

Strategic Alignment

Successful nonprofits have a clear understanding of their strategic goals so the entire organization is aligned and working towards those goals. Compass helps clients examine their mission, vision, programs, targeted beneficiaries, desired changes, strategic objectives and supporting activities to understand how to achieve the greatest impact. Strategic alignment projects also look, at a high level, for alignment between the allocation of financial/staff resources and strategic priorities. The exact focus of individual projects varies depending on each client’s needs and situation. The result will be a plan to improve the organization’s strategic alignment and potential for success.

Strategic Planning (Greater Washington Only)

Strategic Planning is a TWO YEAR PROJECT, best suited for organizations over $2 million with multiple programs and numerous staff. Compass helps ensure that the board and organization leadership are aligned around key choices that have to be made. Typically, the first year will be spent 1) gathering input from key stakeholders and interviewing the board and staff on the issues to be addressed in the strategic planning process, and 2) conducting organizational and financial analysis, researching comparable organizations and doing other research to help the board and leadership make informed decisions about those choices. Based upon the team’s research, the second year will be spent walking the board through the strategic planning process of making important choices, prioritizing goals, setting forth a timeline and understanding the implications of those choices.

Strategic Marketing (Greater Washington and Greater Philadelphia Only)

Compass will work with the client to develop an effective marketing strategy. The strategy will help the organization fulfill its mission and vision through identifying opportunities for its services in existing and new markets. Through an understanding of the market, consumers, and internal operations, Compass will help the client create a positioning statement and an overarching marketing strategy to take advantage of new opportunities. The project does not include branding or collateral development.