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Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
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2011-2012 Project Leaders
Micro Project Announcement
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Scholarship for Nonprofit Executives
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Vol. 8, No. 4
December 2011



Two recent events have made me think about the issue of timing. First, just a month ago on November 11, Compass celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a wonderful event that brought together volunteers, clients, partners and donors. Planning for the event gave us a lot of time to consider how far the organization has come in 10 years. Shortly after that, I spoke on a panel for MBA students at Georgetown University. Questions came up that I hear often. "How does a nonprofit grow? How do you get past the initial "idea" stage to having paid staff? Then how does that small nonprofit get bigger still? What does the timing look like?"


Most often, growth happens slowly and over time. Compass was lucky enough to have very smart and dedicated volunteers who early on became hard-working board members. Those folks put in a lot of time on the front end, and then realized that continued growth meant it was time to hire a part-time, paid director.


Compass was fortunate to hire Amy Gleklen, who carried Compass through two years of transition. The transition years allowed Compass to establish more formal processes and procedures. The board's determination to fund this part-time position enabled Compass to move from a start-up to an established organization.


Then the Compass board did something really critical. They created the organization's first five-year strategic plan. With agreed-upon growth goals, the board calculated the resources needed to accomplish these goals. I was the result of that process, because the board and Amy decided that the goals could only be accomplished with a full-time director. Thanks to Amy's work, I was fortunate to come in to an organization with potential, not problems. I walked into an organization that didn't have to be re-built or re-thought. The basics worked well, the processes were in place, and the mission and values were clear.


Since joining Compass almost five years ago, I have focused on growing our impact (programs) and growing our funding (to support the programs). With the support of many people along the way, Compass reached the goals set out in the Strategic Plan. So then we did what came next. We turned our focus to the board itself. We began evaluating the processes and procedures of the board, realizing that as organizations evolve, so must their boards.


Compass' story (abbreviated here for space, but actually more nuanced than it sounds) is the story of an organization that has grown from a kitchen table operation to two full-time, paid staff members. From five clients per year to 40. From 30 volunteers per year to almost 300. Interestingly, the things Compass focused on internally - strategy, funding, board - are the areas in which we offer consulting services to other nonprofits. We believe that these are the three legs of the stool for nonprofits. Each is dependent on the other, and all three have to be strong.


But timing isn't always straight-forward. I came to Compass in 2007, a year before the economy took a nose dive. I've been amazed at the resiliency of nonprofits through these past three years, and at the kindness of donors during these difficult times. I am proud that Compass volunteers have been at the forefront of helping nonprofits make the tough choices required to stay on track. Compass has helped nonprofits think about their funding strategies, consider alternate operating structures, and make hard choices among programs. We nonprofit leaders have found ways to continue our mission while being extremely aware of expenses and ever tightening budgets, and all the while, never taking for granted the generosity of donors.


The economy is one of the external elements that affects a nonprofit's timing. We're all looking forward to easier times, when the need isn't quite as dire and days aren't spent in crisis mode. In the meantime, this is the time of year when people who don't work in the nonprofit field, but who appreciate those who do, can step up.


I hope you'll consider your ability to give this year, and know that a gift to Compass is an investment in the vitality of Greater Washington nonprofits and the community itself. I hope you will give generously and stretch far.


I'd like to thank all of the people who support Compass, allowing us to support so many other nonprofits and, in turn, the people that they support. Your generosity makes a difference and is never taken for granted. The donations provided at the end of this year will keep us going well into next year, when hopefully things will start to be a little better. Because after all, timing is everything.


Best wishes for happy holidays!



Donations from individuals, companies, and foundations make it possible for Compass to bring 250 business professionals into the nonprofit sector each year. You can donate to Compass to support and expand our impact by clicking the Donate Now button below, or going to our website at



We're thrilled to have the following talented MBA professionals leading our pro bono consulting teams for 2011-2012:


Gary Friend (George Washington University), Adventure Theatre

Vanessa Chioffi (MIT), Alexandria Seaport Foundation

Donna Berry (Wharton), Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County

Dao Nguyen (UVA, Darden), The Barker Foundation

Rachel Battles (Duke), The Black Student Fund

Jeanne Simon (Wharton), Cesar Chavez Public Charter School

Andre Fowlkes (UVA, Darden), City First Enterprises

Paul Shaw (UVA, Darden), City First Enterprises

Brock Holmes (Stanford), Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center

George Ofori-Boadu (Tuck), Communities in Schools of the Nation's Capital

Harry Knight (Harvard), Dance Exchange

Karen Burkes (Michigan), Elsie Whitlow Stokes Public Charter School

Arif Basha (Duke), FACETS Cares

Natalie Robinson (Chicago), Homestretch

Carl Grossman (Columbia), Howard University School of Communications

Betsy Hanlon (Wharton), Iona Senior Services

Petra Kahn (Chicago), Kid Power

Jim Mayer (Harvard), Kid Power

Tulip Shah (Michigan), Main Street Child Development Center

Jennifer Blasko (Columbia), National History Day

Emil Skodon (Chicago), National Trust for Historic Preservation - President Lincoln's Cottage

Katheryn Ellis (Chicago), Perry School Community Services Center

Pete Godston (Harvard), Rosemount Center

Jeff Kass (Harvard), Signature Theatre

Brett Crawford (Tuck), Volunteers of America Chesapeake

Nowell Rush (Harvard), The Washington Ballet

Michelle Coyle Edwards (Tuck), WEAVE (Washington Empowered Against Violence)

Victoria Pierce (Harvard), The Women's Collective

Kristalee Overdahl (Chicago), Wonders Child Care


In an effort to provide services to nonprofits that are smaller than our traditional clients, last year Compass launched six Micro Projects in January. Micro Projects are for nonprofits with revenues between $400,000 and $750,000. Compared to our classic projects, Micro Projects are more focused, shorter (January - May), and use smaller teams (four to five people). Micro Projects help smaller nonprofits that don't qualify for full-length projects, offer shorter projects for volunteers who can't commit to a full-length project, provide a mid-year starting time for volunteers who weren't available or selected in the fall, and allow Compass to help more nonprofits each year.


In January 2012, Compass will announce this year's Micro Project clients. We expect to have at least 10 Micro Projects. For more information on Micro Project clients and the volunteer application, please check the Compass website in early January at


FACEBOOK. Compass is on Facebook! Please "like" us and watch for fun announcements, pictures and videos on our page.  


Compass on Facebook 


TWITTER. Compass is also a Tweeter! We have a Twitter page, where we send messages about our clients and their programs, trends in the nonprofit sector and other relevant news. Follow us @Compassprobono.


LINKEDIN. Please join Compass' group page on LinkedIn called "Compass Volunteer Network." This is a great way to stay connected to Compass' many volunteers.


Compass also has a company page on LinkedIn called "Compass DC." If you are involved with Compass, feel free to add "Consultant Volunteer for the __________ Project at Compass DC" or "Nonprofit Client at Compass DC" to your LinkedIn profile!


COMPASS BLOG. In celebration of Compass' 10th anniversary, we launched a new Compass blog  this year. This online community will tell Compass' story from a variety of different perspectives, sharing insights, videos and photos from Compass community members - both past and present. Please check out our blog and feel free to add your comments!  


Compass Blog  

We hope you will join one or all of these online communities and contribute your reflections and revelations as our story unfolds this year.


We gratefully thank the following corporate sponsors for supporting our 10th Anniversary Celebration and Benefit.


Platinum Sponsor

Booz Allen Hamilton


Gold Sponsor
Capital One  


Silver Sponsor  

Arnold & Porter


Bronze Sponsor 

Gelman Rosenberg & Freedman


Corporate Contributors

Howard University

Cassidy Turley

Avalere Health

Raymond James



We couldn't put together out talented consulting teams without skilled volunteers. We couldn't recruit the amazing volunteers without the support of the local business schools clubs.  


The following local business school clubs helped announce this year's volunteer opportunities. We are grateful for their continued support.    


Columbia Graduate School of Business
Cornell University

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Fuqua School of Business at Duke University
Harvard Business School  

Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
Yale School of Management 




The Harvard Business School Club of Washington, D.C. is pleased to announce it is offering two scholarships to the 2012 Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) Executive Education course, to be held on the HBS campus in Boston, MA July 15-21, 2012.  


The Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management (SPNM) course is an intensive six-day program designed to strengthen the capacity of nonprofit CEOs and executive directors to lead their organizations effectively. SPNM provides a conceptual approach to shape the direction, mission, policies, and major programs of nonprofit organizations. Participants explore strategic concepts in mission focus, market sensitivity, organizational structure, and performance management and control.  


Completed applications must be emailed no later than 5pm on Friday, January 6, 2012 to The winners will be notified by February 13, 2012.


The link to the application and additional information may be found below and on the Club's website. Learn more about the program here. 


The HBS Club of Washington, D.C. Scholarship Covers:


Program fees of $5,000 + reimbursement for up to $500 in travel expenses


HBS Program and Scholarship Qualifications:

  • Candidates should be nonprofit CEOs, Presidents or Executive Directors, and should be responsible for shaping the direction, mission, policies and major programs of their organizations.
  • HBS will not consider applications from management support organizations or consulting firms. In a limited number of cases, representatives from industry/trade associations may be considered for admission.
  • Candidates' organizations should have an annual operating budget of at least $500,000 (preferably over $1 million) and have been fully operational (with full-time staff) for at least one year.
  • The activities and focus of the organization should meet the needs of people in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan community
  • All candidates should have at least one year of experience working in their current role.
  • Finalists will need to make themselves available for a one-hour in-person interview in February.



Please direct all questions to  


Important Note:

The HBS Club of Washington, D.C. will only forward the application of the scholarship winners to HBS.  If an applicant would like to be considered for admission to the SPNM program and use his/her own source of funding, please apply directly: