Greater Washington


What We Offer in Strategic Consulting

Providing over $55 million of pro bono consulting services since 2001, Compass Greater Washington serves the greater region including suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia.

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 & communications, change management, technology, operations, and consulting. We welcome business professionals at varying stages of their careers.

Each nonprofit client receives approximately $210,000 – $230,000 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.

The Sorkin Center at Compass: To learn about other services, including board matching, board training, retreat facilitation and strategic planning, click here.

Our Service Lines

Compass offers consulting projects in seven different service lines (listed below). When applying for a project, nonprofits must select one type of service line. Learn more and apply.

  • DECISION SUPPORT Provide flexible consulting and data-driven support to nonprofit leaders as they address challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, explore new opportunities, focus on recovery and rebuilding, and work to chart a course for a “new normal.” Others, faced with a menu of multiple opportunities and challenges, can benefit from Decision Support Projects as they evaluate the options. Compass’ other project options provide deep analysis and recommendations in one focus area (Service Line); Decision Support Projects can help nonprofit leaders prioritize challenges and opportunities in several different areas. In these projects, 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) establish a communications plan around decisions made, and finally 4) help nonprofits plan for recovery, rebuilding, and ultimately greater sustainability.
  • 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 can assess revenue sources and revenue generation methods and provide guidance to broaden or deepen current sources of revenue, identify untapped sources for funding, and screen out less promising avenues. In addition, they may offer recommendations to improve fundraising processes and external communications, and determine organizational support required. Alternatively, Compass Funding Strategy projects can research and evaluate existing or new earned income ventures and support the creation of business plans.
  • 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, vision, programs, targeted beneficiaries, desired changes, strategic objectives and supporting activities to understand how to achieve the greatest impact. Strategic Alignment projects can examine the allocation of financial and staff resources across programs with regard to organizational priorities and can also help evaluate opportunities for service or program development. These projects can also 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. The exact focus of individual projects varies depending on a nonprofit’s needs and situation with tailored recommendations to improve the organization’s strategic alignment and potential for success.
  • STRATEGIC MARKETING To help 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.
  • TECHNOLOGY STRATEGY Compass can help a nonprofit leverage technology to enhance its ability to deliver on its mission and support the organization’s short- and long-term goals. 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. 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.

Click here for more information about applying for a Compass project as a nonprofit or as a volunteer.  You can also contact Hallie Smith, Greater Washington Executive Director, at

“Compass is a gift to the
non-profit world.”