Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
Client Application for 2014-15
Prospective Client Info Session April 30
Booz Allen Leadership Program
2014 Micro Projects
Donate to Compass
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
2013-14 CLIENTS
DC Classic Clients

CASA for Children of DC


The Center for Nonprofit Advancement


Chelsea School


Community Crisis Services


DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative




Easter Seals 


Home Care Partners


Horton's Kids


Housing Unlimited




Insight Memory Care Center


Iona Senior Services


LAMB Public Charter School


Leadership Greater Washington


Levine School of Music


Linden Resources


The Literacy Lab


Maryland Youth Ballet


Mental Health Association of Montgomery County


National Center for Children and Families


National Trust for Historic Preservation


Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program


Prince George's Child Resource Center


Rebuilding Together Alexandria


Sasha Bruce Youthworks


United Planning Organization


Washington Area Bicyclist Association


Wonders Child Care Center


YouthBuild Public Charter School


DC Micro Clients

Chess Challenge in DC


Coalition for Smarter Growth


DC Lawyers for Youth


Empowered Women



Girls on the Run


The Father McKenna Center


Horizons Greater Washington


Life Asset


Live It Learn It


Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities




National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts


New Futures


The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington


The PEN/FAULKNER Foundation 


Rachael's Women's Center


Southeast Ministry


Stone Soup Films 


Thrive DC


Turning the Page


Voices for a Second Chance


Washington Literacy Center


Words Beats & Life


Philadelphia Classic Clients


American Red Cross


Chester County OIC


Diversified Community Services


Women's Center of Montgomery County

Vol. 11, No. 1
April 2014





I love sports. Well, mainly, I love football and baseball, which means there is a long period between the Super Bowl and baseball's Opening Day when I don't have anything to watch, follow, or complain about. I've found a small solution in the month of March in the form of  March Madness. I don't enjoy professional basketball, but I've come to appreciate watching the best college teams vie for the national title. During the Wisconsin-Arizona game this past weekend, I was struck when one of the announcers kept referring to one of the teams as "quick, but not fast." I thought that was an interesting phrase. It made me stop what I was doing, think about it, and enjoy the play on words.


It also made me think about Compass and the nonprofits that we assist every year. For me, "quick, but not fast" means being careful, while still maintaining quality. It means precision over speed, but also being nimble in the moment. In the nonprofit sector, I don't know anyone who isn't running 100 miles per hour. Fast isn't the problem. There is always so much to do. Programs to administer, evaluate or change... Funds to raise... Donors to cultivate... Staff to monitor, mentor, and move forward.


No, fast isn't the problem. I think the challenge is being quick. How do nonprofits find the time or the presence of mind in the middle of all the fast happenings to think strategically? When can nonprofits plan ahead so they are ready to act quickly when opportunities arise? That's where Compass comes in. Compass volunteers give nonprofits time for the strategic planning and big picture thinking that nonprofit leaders rarely have on their own. Compass volunteers have extensive business experience that they bring to local nonprofits. They use that experience, plus their time, to do careful research and analysis so they can provide the best recommendations back to nonprofits. In just five months, one current Compass team conducted 42 interviews for their client. They interviewed board members, staff members, program participants, local competitors, national peer organizations, and finally, national thought leaders in the field.  Nonprofits don't have the time to do this extensive information gathering, yet having this information makes decision-making more sound and gives nonprofits the luxury of being quick, but not fast.


Compass' Client Application for 2014-15 projects will open on April 15. We'll be looking for 25-30 nonprofits to help with their most strategic challenges in the following service lines: Board Development, Funding Strategies, Strategic Alignment, Strategic Planning, Marketing Strategies, Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations, and Strategic Mergers. If you are a nonprofit leader or board member, this is a great time to consider whether Compass could help your organization. We're always available to talk about your ideas and challenges and to help you determine if this is the right time to apply for a Compass project. Or if you have a good sense for what you need, feel free to apply as soon as you are ready. The Client Application deadline is June 16. We will post the link to the online application on our website on April 15 (


Compass' pro bono consulting projects benefit local nonprofits because the combination of nonprofit passion and business expertise can create wonderful outcomes. Let Compass help you slow down so you can be quick when you need to be.


Happy spring!




Compass' Client Application for 2014-15 will be available on April 15 for Greater Washington area nonprofits. The deadline for applications is June 16 at 5:00 p.m. Clients will be selected in August, and projects will begin in September.


Compass clients must meet the following criteria:

  • Have 501(c)3 status
  • Have a minimum of three paid staff members and a minimum budget of $750,000
  • Provide services that specifically benefit the Greater Washington community
  • Not promote a specific religion, or religious or political beliefs
  • Have an active board of directors

Compass offers consulting services in the following service lines: Board Development, Funding Strategies, Strategic Alignment, Strategic Planning (two-year projects), Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations, and Strategic Mergers. (See descriptions below.)


If you have any questions about which project would be most useful for your organization or about the application process, please contact Kristalee Overdahl ([email protected]; 202-864-6492) or Suzanne Laporte ([email protected]; 202-864-6549) to discuss. Or plan to attend our prospective client information session on Wednesday, April 30. See details below. 


If you are considering applying for a Compass pro bono consulting project, please join us on April 30 to hear about Compass' Client Application Process.  At this optional Information Session for prospective clients, you'll find out:

  • How the Compass program works
  • What kind of project would be best for your organization
  • How to apply for a Compass project and get selected

Wednesday, April 30

9:00 a.m. Coffee; 9:30 a.m. Program

At The Meyer Foundation, 1250 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036


Please RSVP by April 25 to Elizabeth Elliott at [email protected].


Compass will offer the following consulting services in 2014-2015:


Board Development - Board Development projects aim to improve the effectiveness, engagement, and sustainability of nonprofit boards by reviewing governance, recruitment, training, committee structures, and meeting and committee practices.


Funding Strategies - Compass can assess traditional revenue sources and revenue-generation methods, or provide analysis and recommendations to support Earned Income Ventures.


Strategic Alignment - Compass helps nonprofits understand options for achieving the greatest impact. Strategic Alignment projects make recommendations for operations based on alignment of mission, programs and resources.


Strategic Planning (2-year projects) - Strategic Planning projects help nonprofits create a 3-5 year Strategic Plan, ensuring that board and staff leadership are aligned around key choices. (Note: These projects are most effective for organizations with budgets above $2 million.)


Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations - Compass will help nonprofits assess the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships or collaborations.


Strategic Mergers - Compass will help two nonprofits conduct assessments and outline recommendations to prepare the organizations for a formal merger.


Compass has just kicked off 10 pro bono consulting projects staffed exclusively by volunteers from Booz Allen Hamilton. The projects are part of a multi-month leadership development program for Booz Allen's top Senior Associates. This Leadership Excellence Program provides a powerful mix of education, exposure, and experience for the Senior Associates. Compass is engaging 60 Booz Allen consultants on Leadership Excellence Projects for the following organizations:


The ALS Association

American Red Cross

Children's Inn at NIH

Girls Inc.

Give an Hour

Johns Hopkins Children's Center

Meridian International Center

Mount Vernon

Paralyzed Veterans of America

Thurgood Marshall College Fund


We're thrilled to announce our 2014 Micro Project clients. Compass' Micro Projects began in January and will run until June.


Chess Challenge in DC

Coalition for Smarter Growth

DC Lawyers for Youth

Empowered Women International

Girls on the Run

Horizons Greater Washington

Life Asset

Live It Learn It

Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities


National Conservatory for Dramatic Arts

New Futures

Rachael's Women's Center

Southeast Ministry

Stone Soup Films

The Father McKenna Center

The Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington

The PEN/ FAULKNER Foundation

Thrive DC

Turning the Page

Voices for a Second Chance

Washington Literacy Center

Words Beats & Life


This year, Compass is connecting over 300 business professionals with 64 nonprofit organizations through our pro bono consulting projects. Like our nonprofit clients, Compass is a nonprofit that relies on contributions to ensure we can continue bringing business talent to the nonprofit sector to help individual nonprofits. 


Every dollar donated to Compass provides $14 of consulting services back to local nonprofits. Compass doesn't charge nonprofits for services, so we rely on funding from generous supporters. If you haven't donated to Compass during this 2013-14 project year, please donate now.





Please join one or all of these online communities and share your reflections and experiences.


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


TWITTER. Follow us on Twitter, where we tweet messages about our clients and their programs, trends in the nonprofit sector, and other relevant news. Follow us at @Compassprobono.


LINKEDIN. Volunteers can join Compass' group page on LinkedIn called "Compass Volunteer Network." 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 also has a company page on LinkedIn called "Compass DC."


BLOG. Through Compass' blog, our online community tells Compass' story from a variety of different perspectives, sharing insights, videos, and photos.


Booz Allen  


Capital One  


Business School Clubs

We couldn't put together our talented consulting teams without skilled volunteers, and we couldn't recruit our amazing volunteers without the support of the local business schools clubs. Thank you to the following clubs that help spread the word about Compass. We are grateful for your continued support!    


Columbia Business School
Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Harvard Business School

University of Michigan Ross School of Business

MIT Sloan School of Management

New York University Stern School of Business

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

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


Our Top Priorities

  • Geographic Expansion
  • Community of Volunteers
  • Intellectual Quality
  • Long-Term Engagement
  • Sustainable Funding
  • Organizational Structure