Strengthening Nonprofit Boards & Supporting Nonprofit Leaders
Committed and aligned boards and leaders are essential to driving success within a nonprofit. The Sorkin Center at Compass provides a range of services from introductory sessions for prospective board members and capacity building for experienced boards to peer support for Executive Directors. Click on the services below to learn more.
The Sorkin Center provides customized one- to two-hour training sessions for individual boards. Our tailored sessions can cover the fundamental responsibilities and requirements of board service, as well as more advanced sessions including strengthening fundraising, understanding nonprofit finance, ensuring board impact, and engaging and supporting Executive Directors. We work with nonprofits to design a training session that fits their specific needs. We can also facilitate board retreats for nonprofits to achieve alignment between staff and board members, develop short- and/or long-term strategic priorities, or address critical issues and opportunities.
Board Retreat Facilitation
A Board Retreat provides a unique opportunity for a nonprofit board to come together for a specific purpose. While board members, the Executive Director, and staff give extra time, ideas and energy to the event, an outside facilitator can help maximize the productivity and effectiveness of a retreat. A facilitator also allows board leaders and staff to fully participate in the retreat, because they aren’t managing the day itself.
Sorkin’s Retreat Facilitators work with a nonprofit’s Executive Director and Board Chair through the entire retreat process: designing and planning the retreat, guiding and facilitating the event, and recording and summarizing discussions, decisions and next steps.
Compass Connect Conversations
The Sorkin Center supports nonprofit leaders through convenings by issue area or leadership topic. Compass Connect Conversations gather nonprofit leaders virtually to share best practices, concerns, and conversations with experts on topical issues from mergers to crisis communications to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We also assemble specialized cohorts to address some of the most daunting issues nonprofit leaders face today.
On Board: Board Placement
Through our signature On Board program, we pair mission-driven organizations with committed board members. Our time-tested practice includes:
- Conducting interviews to identify talented and dedicated individuals interested in board service.
- Matching individuals with nonprofits tailored to their passions and strengths using our extensive nonprofit network.
- Providing new board member orientation sessions and opportunities for On Board participants to meet and network with peers.
Sorkin Summit 2021
The Sorkin Summit is an annual governance conference that brings current and prospective nonprofit board members, community changemakers, and social entrepreneurs together to connect, learn, and lead. The Summit features expert panels and community building, with essential training and discussions around nonprofit best practices and emerging challenges. We cover a wide variety of topics, from the fundamentals for building highly effective boards to fundraising to long-range planning.
Strategic Planning Services
The Sorkin Center offers fee-based strategic planning services for nonprofits. Establishing a three- to five-year strategic plan aligns the entire organization, including board and staff, on its highest priorities, focusing everyone on achieving goals in a coordinated way. The strategic plan also helps nonprofits communicate their efforts to donors and funders to help them understand the impact of their funding.
As a nonprofit, our work is made possible by the generous support of individuals, foundations and corporations who believe in our mission to provide best practices, tools, and a network of practitioners for nonprofit boards. Please note, gifts to the Sorkin Center are run through Compass, but designated for Sorkin.
Please mail a check payable to Friends of Compass to:
Compass Greater Washington
P.O. Box 4995 • Washington, DC 20008
Click here to find Compass at your Donor-Advised Fund. Please use “Friends of Compass, Inc.” when arranging donations through charitable funds.
Contact Wendy Gualtieri at email@example.com for additional information.
History of the Sorkin Center
The Sorkin Center for Nonprofit Governance was established in honor of Jerry Sorkin, a former senior executive at Corporate Executive Board (CEB). Sorkin’s passion for nonprofit work and board service led him to develop a nonprofit board training program for CEB staff members interested in joining nonprofit boards.
After his death in 2016, Sorkin’s colleagues at CEB decided to honor his legacy by extending his mentorship to a future generation of leaders through the Sorkin Center, where his training and passion for nonprofit governance will continue to inspire individuals. CEB selected Compass as the home for the Sorkin Center.
“Our goal is to help these nonprofit leaders and their organizations reach their full potential so they can have an even greater impact in our communities.”
– Jerry Sorkin