Our Services

    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 Strategic planning is our specialty.

    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. 

    Organizational Development & Capacity Building

    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:

      Community Leadership
      Asset Development
      Organizational and Structural Assessments

    Clients may contract with us for a small issue-specific project, or to provide comprehensive organizational development services.


    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. 

    Facilitation and Learning Community Design

    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.


    "Sutherland Strategies helped the Community Foundation of Greater Flint develop an equity-focused strategic plan by engaging the hearts and minds of trustees and other stakeholders. Their work is exemplary, executed with a wealth of understanding and foresight regarding the field of philanthropy. 

    Isaiah M. Oliver, President and CEO | George Wilkinson, Board Chair

    Community Foundation of Greater Flint

    "The depth and breadth of community foundation knowledge that the team at Sutherland Strategies demonstrates is unparalleled in my experience. Not only do they know the community foundation field well, they are highly skilled in organizational development and deliver on objectives with professionalism, expertise and warmth."

    Shelley Hoss

    President, Orange County Community Foundation

    "The Sutherland Strategies team did a superb job in guiding the strategic planning process for our community foundation. The fact that they have deep experience with community foundations made all the difference."

    Deborah Onslow

    Former Board Chair, Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region

    "Both my board and the Women's Foundation board think you walk on water. Last night we had the Board Invitational and EVERYONE was talking about what a great job you did and how excited they are and loved your knowledge of trends in the field. I think this could result in an annual visit to us! THANK YOU for helping to move both boards forward.”

    Eileen Connolly-Keesler

    President/CEO, Community Foundation of Collier County