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Through a selective process, Compass accepts qualified business professionals as Project Leaders, Deputy Project Leaders, and volunteers. Compass gives priority to MBA graduates from top business schools, other business professionals with a relevant graduate degree such as an MPP, attorneys, and professionals with consulting, nonprofit, or prior Compass experience.

Partner Business Schools

Compass works closely with the business school clubs of Harvard, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), University of Chicago, Stanford, Tuck (Dartmouth), Darden (University of Virginia), Yale, Northwestern, Michigan, Cornell, Columbia, Duke, MIT, UC Berkeley, UNC Chapel Hill and NYU to recruit Project Leaders and volunteers. In the past, Compass has also worked with alumni from UCLA, Georgetown, and INSEAD. Volunteers work in teams led by a Project Leader with either a Co-Leader or a Deputy Project Leader. Compass staffs each team with one to two non-MBAs.

Volunteer Roles

Project Leaders

Compass Project Leaders work closely with the nonprofit clients to determine project scope and with the volunteers to guide the work plan. Classic Project Leaders must be graduates of the business schools ofHarvard, Wharton (University of Pennsylvania), University of Chicago, Stanford, Tuck (Dartmouth), Darden (University of Virginia), Yale, Northwestern, Michigan, Cornell, Columbia, Duke, MIT, UC Berkeley, UNC Chapel Hill and NYU. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis for experienced Compass volunteers. Project Leaders typically spend three to five hours per week on project work.

Compass selects Project Leaders in August and September. Prospective Project Leaders rank their interest in projects on the Project Leader application. The application link will be available on the Compass home page in late August. Compass interviews applicants who are new to Compass, then notifies all Project Leaders in early September.

Deputy Project Leaders

Most projects have a Deputy Project Leader who supports the Project Leader by coordinating team communications and assignments. Most Deputy Project Leaders are former Compass volunteers. Many do not have an MBA. Deputies work closely with the Project Leader and client. Project Leaders and their Deputies decide how to divide up team responsibilities. Generally, Deputy Project Leaders handle communications and administrative tasks that keep the team connected. Volunteers interested in a Deputy Project Leader position should contact Compass in Greater Philadelphia or Compass in Greater Washington.

Team Members 

Compass was founded as an alliance of MBA graduates and many of our volunteers have an MBA degree.  However, Compass also accepts volunteers who have a comparable and relevant graduate degree and some volunteers with no advanced degree. For non-MBA applicants, preference is given to applicants with consulting or nonprofit experience. Volunteers typically spend one to three hours per week on projects.
Compass recruits volunteers in the early fall, making final team assignments in mid-October.

Volunteer Support

Compass is not just a matchmaking service between business professionals and local nonprofits. The Compass program has been fine-tuned with proven processes ranging from client and volunteer selection to project implementation. For example, Compass provides two mandatory trainings for volunteers, and an additional training for Project Leaders and Deputies. Compass provides access to veteran Project Leaders who act as Advisors to current Project Leaders. Compass compiles data and information relevant to projects in an online, password-protected Toolkit available to all volunteers.