Organizations and their funders come to Bernuth & Williamson for help navigating the complex world of nonprofit management, growth, funding and impact. We support our clients all the way, from envisioning new organizations to evaluating impact.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace for ideas and solutions, no organization can afford to just “make do.” A strong strategy can make the difference between success and obscurity. We focus first on institutional positioning – where our client stands in relation to other organizations who deliver similar services and with whom they compete for resources. By evaluating relative strengths and weakness, trends in the sector, competitive context and the client’s unique value proposition, we define a common-sense vision for the organization and develop strategic options. We place particular emphasis on helping our clients include all key stakeholders in developing strategy.
- Stakeholder research and analysis
- Competitor benchmarking
- Strategic option development
- Facilitated planning processes
- Board engagement
- Sustainability planning
Effective, engaged governing boards are critical to the success of every nonprofit. Unfortunately, truly high-performing boards are rare, and the risks of having an under-performing board are high. Members of governing boards take on fiduciary responsibility for the organization, and the risks of failing to uphold that fiduciary duty also are are high — both for the organization and the individual board members. After all, D&O insurance doesn’t matter if the board is deemed not to have acted responsibly or in good faith. Even more important: In a nonprofit, if the mission is not achieved, everyone loses.
- Board composition
- Governance processes
- Board assessments
- Leadership training
A strategic planning process is no small undertaking, and its three-to-five year cycle can allow for a certain drift. How does an organization that is moving forward make sure it is staying on the right track? An organizational assessment may be just the right size. Assembling a team with the right types of expertise, we come in to evaluate how your organization’s structures, systems and staff are working together to advance your mission. We use a diagnostic tool for building nonprofit capacity that was originally pioneered by a team from McKinsey & Co.’s nonprofit practice that included B&W managing partner David Williamson.
- Research and analysis
- Function-by-function assessments
- Pragmatic recommendations
- Gap analysis
- Structures, staff and systems alignment
- Implementation roadmaps
Implementation and Change Management
Having articulated a vision and strategic plan, many nonprofits struggle with the “execution gap” – how does the plan become reality? Our clients seek guidance in refining and quantifying objectives so they can look at performance in a strategic, three-to-five year context – as well as from budget to budget. Implementation planning must be followed by intentional management of change. It is a new day in the workplace: Managing and communicating change thoughtfully is not just good practice, it is vital to building strong organizational culture that reflects and respects a diverse, multi-generational workforce.
- Three-to-five year implementation/action plans
- Management reporting & information systems
- Financial projection models
- Change-management roadmaps
- Revenue diversification strategies
- New venture plans
Now more than ever, an organization has to understand and manage its brand. We begin by developing an understanding of audiences and stakeholders along with organizational goals, ultimately building out a brand strategy with our clients. All appropriate approaches are on the table – everything from major gift and planned giving programs to digital marketing, membership or supporter programs, media relations, publications, merchandise and social media initiatives. Ultimately, we work closely with staff to craft approaches that utilize and integrate the best of old and new, aligning strategy and structure for maximum impact.
- Brand assessment and strategy
- Communications and marketing audits
- Integrated marketing and communications strategies
- Organizational positioning and concepts
- Facilitated planning processes
- Campaign strategy
Monitoring and Evaluation
Organizations have to both show and tell impact. Funders at all levels want to know what their dollars have done. Our clients – be they the funders or their grantees – come to us to assess the long-term impact of programs, policies and organizations.
- Benchmark development
- Initial assessments
- Year-over-year review and analysis
- Stakeholder review and analysis
- Grant evaluations
- Theory of change development