In the nonprofit sector, we know just how important it is to work collaboratively. This includes working with stakeholders, other nonprofits, and, in some cases, partners like a strategic consultancy.
So, what is a strategic consultancy and what do they do?
Similar to management consultants, strategy consultants learn the ins and outs of an organization before advising on how to improve issues such as team efficiency, messaging, branding, impact measurement and more. They assist with creating, prioritizing and managing the goals of a nonprofit, but often leave the execution and implementation to the organization by giving them a roadmap for success.
Nonprofits might need an unbiased partner who has experience with a broad range of other similar organizations to help them drive their mission forward. At Prosper Strategies, we’ve served as strategic partners to a wide range of nonprofits and foundations including McCormick Foundation, Feeding America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, United Way of Metro Chicago, VOA Illinois, iMentor and many more.
Here’s how a strategic consultancy like ours helps organizations increase their effectiveness and impact.
A strategic consultancy can refine a nonprofit’s focus
It can be hard to stand out in a space as crowded as the nonprofit sector. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, more than 1.5 million nonprofit organizations are registered in the U.S. So, how do you get the attention of potential donors, clients and other stakeholders? You need razor-sharp focus. A strategic consultancy will get you there. We can help:
- Sharpen your nonprofit’s purpose – Your Reason for Being, mission, vision and values are central to everything you do. We use research and stakeholder engagement to discover and refine yours.
- Consult on a merger or acquisition – At Prosper Strategies, we believe if you cannot find a Reason for Being that is unique to your area of focus, it may be time to merge with or acquire another organization. We’ll help you find the right partners and structure mutually beneficial relationships.
- Reshape a brand identity – Think of your brand as your organization’s first impression. On top of messaging, we’ll help you construct a name, visual identity and messaging that will position you to advance your goals.
As an example of refining a nonprofit’s Focus, Ignite (formerly Teen Living Programs) worked with Prosper Strategies to reimagine their mission, vision and brand identity to accurately showcase their life-transforming work with youth. This began with an organization assessment where we reviewed their strategic plan, website, marketing collateral, social media channels, and conducted a media audit. Then, we conducted an ecosystem assessment where we looked at comparator organizations serving youth experiencing homelessness. Lastly, we conducted a stakeholder assessment where we examined Ignite’s research on youth experiencing homeslessness and conducted interviews with key stakeholders. These three assessments informed a new Reason for Being and strategic rebranding recommendations. You can learn more about Ignite’s work with us in their case study.
A strategic consultancy can build out a nonprofit’s strategy
Strategic consultancies can help your organization with optimizing, evaluating or building the strategies essential for effectiveness and impact. There are four main areas in which your nonprofit should put strategy to work:
- Strategic Planning – Your nonprofits need strategic plans that are agile, actionable and aligned with an organization’s top priorities.
- Programmatic Strategy – Your nonprofit can work with a strategic consultancy to help analyze the viability of new and existing programs, and then build a plan for how the program or service will advance the goals in the strategic pan.
- Marketing Strategy – At Prosper Strategies, we believe that marketing cannot be treated as overhead — it’s essential to your organization’s success. Read The Nonprofit Marketing Manifesto to understand why. Nonprofits can work with a strategic consultancy to build a marketing plan that aligns with their strategic plan and moves their goals forward.
- Fundraising Strategy – Often closely aligned with a marketing strategy, your nonprofit needs an efficient fundraising strategy to succeed in a landscape where the competition or donor dollars is fierce. A strategic consultancy can help you build one. that is often competing for donor dollars.
Understanding how each of these strategies fit together or build off of each other is no easy task. Working with a strategic consultancy will help your nonprofit prioritize and align its strategies.
A strategic consultancy can cultivate and optimize relationships with stakeholders
One of the biggest pain points for any organization is stakeholder prioritization and engagement. Whether you need to deepen your engagement with your board, your donors or the beneficiaries of your services, a strategic consultancy can help. When it comes to the “people” aspect of a nonprofit’s work, we often help with:
- Team optimization – Ensure everyone within your team is working at its highest capacity through team planning, improved meeting cadence and strategic touchpoints.
- Board optimization – Determine the roles each board member should play and ensure that the right board governance practices are in place.
- Stakeholder engagement – Strengthen the relationships with your program participants, community members and other stakeholders through the development of an advisory board, a more inclusive governing board and focus groups.
In your personal life, you’re told to surround yourself with the people who will help you become the best version of yourself. Your organization should be no different. Think through the stakeholders, including your team, board and those you serve, you need to engage to drive your nonprofit’s mission forward.
A strategic consultancy can help your nonprofit measure its progress
Tracking your organization’s impact and goals is no small task. And it doesn’t work without buy-in from your team and the right processes in place. You can work with a strategic consultancy to sharpen your:
- Systems and processes – Build and document your meeting cadence and get things done with weekly work sessions, monthly mission meetings, quarterly checkups and annual planning processes.
- Change management – From a new CEO to a rebrand, nonprofits need change management strategies in place to ensure smooth transitions. A strategic consultancy can help manage and measure the impact of these changes.
- Measurement and evaluation – If you’re not strategically measuring the outcomes of your nonprofit’s programs and refining to improve them, you could use support from a strategic consultancy to get those processes in place.
Closely watching your organization’s progress and growth are key to making a bigger impact. Find a strategic consultancy that can help.
Strategic consultancies assist nonprofits like yours with all facets of their operation. From a marketing strategy to impact measurement, a consultancy can help your organization focus on the big picture. Get in touch with us at hello@prosper-strategies, if you are interested in learning more.