Providing over $6 million of pro bono consulting services since 2016, Compass Chicago serves local nonprofits in the Chicago community.
Compass recruits, trains and supports teams of business professionals. We work with MBAs from top business schools and other volunteers with experience in different functional areas, including strategic planning, finance, marketing and communications, change management, technology, operations and consulting. We welcome business professionals at varying stages of their careers.
Each nonprofit client receives approximately $150,000 of strategic consulting services – free of charge. Our volunteers not only deliver focused analyses and recommendations, but also provide advice along the way, so nonprofits can internalize the most useful and relevant management principles.
See the list of current Compass Chicago clients here.
What We Offer
We provide consulting services in seven service lines. When applying for a project, nonprofits must select one service line. Nonprofits can reapply for a different service line in future years.
- BOARD DEVELOPMENT The goal of a Board Development project is to improve effectiveness and engagement to sustain a high-performing Board. Compass can provide an objective evaluation of Board operations and offer recommendations for best practices to build a solid foundation of governance, recruitment, training and committee structures. Compass can help the Board develop an appropriate style given its current membership and organizational needs, and offer guidance regarding leadership succession planning and strategies for involving the Board in development efforts.
- FUNDING STRATEGY Funding Strategy projects assess revenue sources and revenue generation methods and can provide guidance to broaden or deepen current sources of revenue, recommend untapped sources for funding and screen out less promising avenues. Compass can also evaluate earned income ideas and offer recommendations to improve external communications.
- PARTNERSHIPS, COLLABORATIONS & MERGERS To make more efficient use of resources, nonprofits may consider partnering with other organizations with complementary expertise and strengths to fulfill a common mission. Compass can help assess the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships, collaborations or mergers and offer recommendations and an analysis of resulting implications.
- STRATEGIC ALIGNMENT Compass can help nonprofits examine their mission, programs, targeted beneficiaries, desired changes and strategic objectives to understand how to achieve the greatest impact. Strategic Alignment projects can examine resource allocation (including financial, staff, technology, data, volunteers, etc.) across programs and evaluate opportunities for program development. These projects can also help ensure that the Board and staff are aligned around mission, vision and key choices in preparation for strategic planning and/or long-term goal setting (these projects are often the foundation for a full Strategic Plan). The exact focus of individual projects varies depending on a nonprofit’s needs and situation.
- STRATEGIC MARKETING To help a nonprofit fulfill its mission and vision, Compass can help nonprofits identify opportunities for services and programs in existing and new markets. Compass can help create a positioning statement and develop an effective marketing strategy to take advantage of new opportunities. The project does not include branding or collateral development.
- DIGITAL STRATEGY Compass can help nonprofits understand how to design and implement existing or new services that could only be offered using digital technologies. Project objectives include understanding how to use digital technologies to better serve the organization’s objectives overall or within a specific service area. These projects will help define the new service process, identify candidate enabling digital technologies and provide a high-level plan to implement the new digital service(s) (including key activities, investment and staffing).
- DECISION SUPPORT As nonprofit leaders navigate the ongoing impact of COVID-19, many will need to make significant decisions and trade-offs over the next 12 months. Our new Decision Support Projects are designed to provide flexible consulting support to nonprofit leaders as they address challenges created by the crisis and focus on recovery and rebuilding. Whereas our other project options provide deep analysis and recommendations in one focus area (service line), Decision Support Projects can address priorities in several different areas. A Compass team can 1) generate data, analyze information and create frameworks to support decision-making, 2) evaluate the consequences of course adjustments, 3) establish a communications plan around decisions made, and finally 4) help nonprofits plan for recovery, rebuilding and ultimately greater sustainability.
Click here for more information about applying for a Compass project as a nonprofit or as a volunteer. Or, contact Natalie Tessler, Executive Director – Chicago, at firstname.lastname@example.org with interest.