Having been both a volunteer and a client of Compass, I would like to commend this nonprofit for the excellent pro-bono strategic and management consulting that it has provided to hundreds of its nonprofit clients in the greater Washington DC/MD/VA region for 15 years. It now serves nearly 50 nonprofit clients annually in the region, and has expanded to Philadelphia and Chicago. It has thrived and grown under the leadership of Suzanne Laporte for the last 9 years, a strong board and advisory board. It serves nonprofits of every background - educational, human rights, cultural. It is a highly efficient, professional organization and provides des a leveraged investment for donors.
I have never seen more commitment from a nonprofit organization than I have seen from Compass. The staff is enthusiastic, determined, and tireless in its efforts to improve other nonprofits in the DC area. In my second year as a volunteer, I am increasingy impressed and inspired by Compass' success in serving such a unique role in the community. This is furthered through the gratitude of our clients, who confirm that Compass allows them be successful in their own missions.
I'm in my 7th consecutive year volunteering for this amazing non-profit. Why? The impact of our work as Compass volunteer/pro-bono strategic business consultants is tremendous. Each year an 8-member volunteer team works with one assigned non-profit between October and June...and we have about 30 teams of 8 volunteers helping about 30 or so non-profits (30 x 8 = about 240 pro-bono consultants)... What do we do? We help non-profits with Funding Strategy, Board Development, Strategic Alignment, and Strategic Planning. Here's one example of impact that I played a big role in... We were doing a Funding Strategy project for the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing (their counselors provide guidance and help folks who have lost loved ones to violence, drug overdose, etc...). We did some surveys of various stakeholders, studied their financial data, built financial models accounting for various funding streams (corporate, foundation, individual, and government) and still weren't seeing a good solution to how we could help them with their funding situation. I noted that they had 4 offices in various areas of DC. They paid a lot of rent. They had a few full-time counselors (who they had to pay benefits to), and some part time counselors (who had full time jobs elsewhere but were just adding some work here to make more $... no benefits needed to be paid to them...) I noticed that the offices could be used more often than they were being used if they just hired more part-time counselors... in essence they were able to double their counseling hours from 2,500 hours per year to 5,000 hours per year, without needing more office space...they just needed to fill a wider range of time-slots for counseling... By doubling their services using non-benefit part time counselors, they actually ended up with a situation where they could not only break even in terms of expenses, but they could make a profit (which they could invest into more programs, etc...) What I'd like to show is that thru the strategic work that Compass does, many non-profits are able to "sharpen the saw" and double or triple their impact. At the end of the day, for non-profits, impact is the name of the game!
I have volunteered through COMPASS now for two years. My experience through them has truly opened my eyes to the wide spectrum of non-profit organizations in the greater DC metropolitan area and the ongoing challenges that they face both strategically and tactically. I am awe inspired by the professionalism and the sheer impact that COMPASS is able to make with a staff of two, the support of a actively engaged Board, and a very dedicated team of volunteers. The opportunities provided by COMPASS to make a direct and long-lasting impact in my community has been truly amazing and very unique. My engagement with them has been very gratifying and fulfilling and I would encourage you to learn more about them and how you can be an important part of their work.