• Registered IRS 501(c)(3) organization
  • Active Board of Directors
  • Mission supports one of our metro-regions (Chicago, DC, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or Philadelphia)
  • Mission does not promote specific religious beliefs or political parties

Upcoming Information Session for Nonprofits

Thursday, June 6 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

On Track

On Demand

Free, quick, high-impact support for acute business challenges


Scoping call

Application submission

ED & Board Chair interviews

Project Launch

Board Development

Board Development projects aim to improve effectiveness and engagement to sustain a high-performing board.

8-month project description: The Compass team provides an objective evaluation of board operations and structure, and offers recommendations to build a solid foundation of governance, recruitment, onboarding, committee functions and charters, effective meetings, reporting, and communications. Compass can assess board member satisfaction, provide best practices for leadership evaluation, and help the board identify gaps in skills, industry expertise, board expertise, and representation. Projects may also include guidance on leadership succession planning and strategies for involving the board in development efforts.

4-month project descriptions:

Decision Support

Decision Support Projects are designed to provide flexible consulting and data-driven support. A nonprofit leader may be faced with one or multiple opportunities or challenges that demand resolution or may be seeking to inject greater analytical rigor in one or more areas of the nonprofit’s operations.

A Compass team can 1) generate data, analyze information, and create frameworks to support current and future decision-making, 2) evaluate the consequences of course adjustments or opportunities, 3) provide decision making support to nonprofits as they plan next steps. If the key decision at hand involves an idea for a new product or service, please see New Ventures.

Funding Strategy

Funding Strategy projects provide guidance to position the organization for greater fundraising success.

8-month project description: Depending on the organization’s activities and opportunities, the Compass team can assess revenue sources and revenue generation methods, analyze funding streams, and provide guidance to broaden or deepen current sources of revenue, identify untapped sources for funding, and screen out less promising avenues. Compass typically provides recommendations to improve fundraising processes and external communications, and required organizational support, including board engagement.

4-month project descriptions:

New Ventures

Nonprofit leaders often have great ideas for new programs or earned income ventures but lack the organizational bandwidth to evaluate them or create a launch plan.

8-month project description: A Compass team will gather the data and conduct the research and analysis to determine the feasibility of a new initiative and recommend a framework for launching the product. The initial project phase includes a feasibility assessment comprised of market and competitive analysis, financial modeling, and an examination of strategic, organizational, and operational considerations that would lead to a go/no go recommendation. Following a “go” recommendation, the team would focus on next steps to operationalize the venture, including potential pilot program design. Alternatively, following a “no go” recommendation, the Compass team may explore related new ideas or ways to expand or enhance existing programs. Applicants to this service line must propose a specific new venture for evaluation.

4-month project description: A Compass team will gather the data and conduct the analysis to assess the feasibility of a new initiative. A project would include market and competitive research, financial modeling, and an examination of strategic, organizational, and operational considerations that leadership would need to make a more informed decision about moving forward.

Organizational Performance

4-month project descriptions:

Partnerships, Collaborations, and Mergers

8-month project description: Partnerships, Collaborations & Mergers projects help nonprofits make more efficient use of resources as they 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

Strategic Alignment projects can help nonprofits examine their mission, vision, programs, targeted beneficiaries, desired changes, strategic objectives and supporting activities to understand how to achieve the greatest impact.

8-month project description: Strategic Alignment projects can quantify and analyze the allocation of financial and staff resources across programs and compare this data against organizational priorities, as well as evaluate opportunities for service or program development. These projects can also take the form of a “strategic planning prep” project and help ensure that the Board and organization leadership are aligned around mission, vision, and key choices in preparation for strategic planning and/or long-term goal setting.

4-month project descriptions

Strategic Marketing

Strategic Marketing projects help nonprofits better fulfill their mission and vision through effective marketing.

8-month project descriptions: The Compass team can devise a strategy to (1) establish existing services or products in a new market, or (2) introduce a new service or product* in an existing market. Recommendations would be based on an understanding of the market, consumers, pricing research if applicable, internal operations, and best practices. The team can help the client create a positioning statement and relevant messaging, develop a financial model to determine pricing, identify appropriate marketing channels, research investment required to execute, and create an overarching marketing strategy to raise awareness of a nonprofit’s offering. Please note: projects do not include collateral development. *For new services or products that are in the idea stage, please see New Ventures Service Line description.

4-month project descriptions:

Technology & Data Strategy

Technology Strategy Projects help nonprofits leverage technology to enhance their ability to deliver on their missions and support their short- and long-term goals.

8-month project descriptions: Project objectives may include developing a more cohesive and efficient technology strategy overall or in a specific service area, or may focus more narrowly on how data collection and analytics can better enable strategic decision-making and impact reporting. Compass can also help nonprofits understand how to design and implement existing or new services that could be offered using digital technologies. These projects will assess and provide recommendations for staffing, processes, and technology associated with the organization’s stated project objective.

4-month project descriptions:

Our new portal makes it easy for you to view opportunities and update your organization’s information even before applications open. Create an account, and get a jumpstart the application process today!

Washington, DC

ON TRACK 8-MONTH


Application dates: July 8-August 16

Projects run: mid-October-May 30

  • Mission supports Greater Washington (DC, Northern Virginia, and/or suburban Maryland)
  • Minimum budget of $700,000
  • Minimum of three full-time paid staff

ON TRACK 4-MONTH


Application dates: October 28-November 25

Projects run: late February-June 27

  • Mission supports Greater Washington (DC, Northern Virginia, and/or suburban Maryland)
Philadelphia

ON TRACK 8-MONTH


Application dates: July 8-August 16

Projects run: mid-October-June

  • Mission supports Greater Philadelphia in the following counties: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Burlington, Camden, and/or Gloucester
  • Minimum budget of $650,000
  • Minimum of three full-time paid staff

ON TRACK 4-MONTH


Application dates: October 28-November 25

Projects run: late February-June 27

  • Mission supports Greater Philadelphia in the following counties: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Burlington, Camden, and/or Gloucester
Chicago

ON TRACK 4-MONTH

Cycle 1

Application dates: May 15-June 14

Projects run: late-August-December 20

Cycle 2

Application dates: October 21-November 25

Projects run: late February-June 27

  • Mission supports the Greater Chicago community
  • Ability to support a team of six consultants during a 4-month engagement
Minneapolis-St. Paul

ON TRACK 4-MONTH

Cycle 1

Application dates: May 15-June 14

Projects run: late-August-December 20

Cycle 2

Application dates: October 21-November 25

Projects run: late February-June 27

  • Mission supports the Twin Cities community
  • Ability to support a team of six consultants during a 4-month engagement

Application submission

Volunteer match curation

Project confirmation call

Match initiation

PROJECT TOPICS

Finance
  • Cash Flow Analysis: Evaluate cash inflows and outflows over a fixed period
  • Financial Model Creation: Forecast for revenues and expenses for a fixed period, based on a revised assessment of finances
Fundraising
  • Digital Strategy Review: Receive recommendations related to donation engagement online and related processes
  • Donor Analysis: Support for identifying most valuable categories of donors for outreach, using historical data and trends
  • Map the Donor/Member/Patron Experience: Conduct an audit of donor, member, or patron journey, and provide recommendations to improve interaction across platforms
  • Research: Provide an annotated list of relevant grant and funding opportunities
Governance
  • Board Development: Review governance challenges (e.g., the articulation of the roles/responsibilities or appropriate activities of a nonprofit board); propose course of action recommendations
  • Bylaws and Policies: Review with proposed recommendations for bylaws or policies regarding board operations, may include liabilities
Human Resources
  • Benefits and Compensation: Review with recommendations for new or existing policies
  • Organizational Management: Evaluate staffing needs, organizational structure, or employee engagement
  • Transition/Succession: Develop a plan for future continuity of operations and leadership
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): Assess existing DEI efforts for updates; develop plan for staff or Board recruitment and retention
Marketing/Communications
  • Communications Audit/Strategy Review: Review and/or refine messages for existing communications platforms
  • Marketing Strategy Review: Review and recommend a plan, program or event; may include comparative analysis, market research, stakeholder analysis, etc.
Programs
  • Partner Identification/Merger Assessment: Review the risks and benefits of a merger or partnerships, may include development of selection criteria, a feasibility review of existing programs, cash flow required to support programs, virtual options, suspension, etc.
  • Programs Assessment: Assess feasibility of existing programs, may include review of cash flow required to support programs, virtual options, suspension, and partnerships
Technology
  • Data Management: Assess data collection processes, tools, and analysis to better support decision-making
  • Scouting: Support to identify requirements for new technology or tools; develop an acquisition and adoption strategy
  • Technology Optimization: Assess existing technology capabilities and develop recommendations for more effective use of existing technology