Working collaboratively with Board members and staff, we have provided consulting services to nearly 175 nonprofit and foundation clients and more than 100 community foundations. Our firm is distinguished by our deep knowledge of - and commitment to - community philanthropy, coupled with direct experience working with and for community foundations and other charitable organizations.
We help philanthropic organizations of all sizes improve their effectiveness and achieve greater impact through a full range of consulting services.
Strategic planning is our specialty. We believe that every strategic plan must reflect the organization’s culture and values, the population and type of community it serves, the economic conditions and development potential, and most importantly, the kind of outcomes it seeks. There is no one cookie-cutter solution. We believe that each organization is unique, and while there are certain best practices that we will bring to inform the planning process, each organization must chart its own future based on its unique culture, community and history.
Additionally, no consultant – or for that matter, professional staff alone – can drive a strategic planning process. It must be embedded in the Board leadership of the organization, which ideally reflects the leadership and values of the local community. As consultants to your organization, we will serve as a trusted guide, a facilitator of discussions, an interviewer of your key stakeholders, a provocateur to raise neglected questions or issues, and ultimately as your organization’s scribe, faithfully reflecting the many decisions reached as part of the planning process.
We draw on our decades of nonprofit management expertise and deep knowledge of community philanthropy to build the capacity of organizations. We conduct organizational assessments for charitable organizations in all stages of organizational growth as they seek to launch or adjust programs, staffing or systems in new directions. We assess each organization’s current capacity, and develop specific and realistic action plans to move the organization forward. We advise and facilitate strategy discussions about all aspects of an organization including:
Effective boards and good governance are essential to every nonprofit, especially as organizations grow and become more complex. Sutherland~Edwards can review governance structures, policies and processes, and recommend changes to reflect current best practices in the field. We offer in-depth Board training and facilitation services, and can provide coaching for both Board leaders and nonprofit executives to improve participation, communications, recruitment and retention.
In addition to longer-range engagements and in-depth planning work, Sutherland~Edwards regularly works with organizations to plan and facilitate annual Board and staff retreats, as well as other key meetings and focus groups. We are skilled facilitators and help groups navigate issues with respectful and purposeful dialogue. We work with clients to set clear meeting goals, and work hard to ensure that all voices are part of the conversation.
We also have extensive experience designing and facilitating multi-year learning collaboratives. We bring leaders together to learn from one another and improve their practices, while also introducing them to panels of experts in the field who offer advice and provide coaching.