Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
2017-18 Project Application
Prospective Client Info Session- May 5
Service Lines
Join Our List
2016-17 Clients 
Vol. 14, No. 1
March 2017

The house I've rented for the past eight years is being sold. The house is 101 years old. It isn't "done" by modern standards. It wouldn't know a family room, a gourmet kitchen, or a walk-in closet. Yet it has been perfect for raising my three sons. We love the hardwood floors, beautiful windows, and big front porch. Knowing this day would come, I'm reconciled to the move. I thought my high school son was equally resigned until late one night when it became clear that the move was going to be harder on him than either of us thought. In years to come, this is the home he will remember. As someone who has lived longer than him, I know he will be fine. He may never realize this, but this is one of those experiences that will teach him resilience.

As someone who works with a lot of nonprofits, I feel qualified to say that nonprofits know resilience. Nonprofit leaders must be highly attuned to change, because so many things can impact the sector: an economic downturn, instability in the world, a crisis at home, or an election. Nonprofits - doing some of the hardest work in any community - can be as vulnerable as those they serve. Right now, many feel anxious about what the next few years will bring and how their clients may be impacted by changes in funding and programs.

It is at this time when nonprofits are facing change and uncertainty that the Compass Client Application will open for our 2017-18 projects. There couldn't be a better moment to consider working with Compass. To weather uncertain times, nonprofits must be stable and sustainable. We know what contributes to this state: strong governing boards, diversified funding, a strategic plan to keep the organization focused, and a clear alignment of mission, programs and staff. Because these are core to any nonprofit's sustainability, these are the services that Compass offers.

The Compass application opens in mid-April, but now is the perfect time to start thinking about how Compass can help the nonprofit that matters to you. At Compass, we love this time of year, because we get to talk to nonprofit leaders who are considering a project. Together, we can think through their needs and priorities. We listen as nonprofit leaders talk about their fears and worries, as well as their hopes and dreams. We know that Compass teams of business professionals can provide support to nonprofits facing both challenges and opportunities.

This year more than some others, the work we do will be particularly important. All four of our services (see details below) ensure a strong foundation for nonprofits. This foundation creates long-term resilience against the external forces that can impact nonprofits.

Resilience isn't born out of comfort and ease. Resilience happens as a result of making it through hard times and coming out the other side. My son and I will move on from this house we love. He will learn that he will be okay when change happens. Nonprofits will also come through the current challenging times to get to the other side, but don't have to do it on their own. We are here to help. I hope you'll consider a Compass project for 2017-18. Let's talk.

Compass' Client Application for 2017-18 will be available on April 14 for Greater Chicago nonprofits. The deadline for applications is June 12 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 full-time paid staff members and a minimum budget of $750,000
  • Provide services that specifically benefit the Greater Chicago community
  • Not promote a specific religious or political view
  • Have an active board of directors
Compass offers pro bono consulting in the following service lines: Board Development, Funding Strategies, Strategic Alignment, and Strategic Partnerships & Collaborations. See descriptions below.
If you have any questions about which project would be most useful for your organization or about the application process, visit our website or contact Julie Walther, Executive Director, ( ;773-733-9075) to discuss. 

Or plan to attend our Prospective Client Information session on May 5. See details below. 


If you are considering applying for a Compass pro bono consulting project, please join us on May 5 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
Date:  Friday, May 5
Time:  9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 
Location: Forefront, 208 South LaSalle, Suite 1540
Chicago, IL 60604 
Please RSVP by May 2 to Margaret Dodd at

Nonprofits can choose from the following types of projects. 
Board Development  - Board Development projects aim to improve the effectiveness, engagement, and sustainability of nonprofit boards. 
Funding Strategies  - Compass can assess traditional revenue sources and revenue-generation methods, or support Earned Income Ventures.
Strategic Alignment  - Strategic Alignment projects make recommendations for operations based on alignment of mission, programs and resources.
Strategic Partnerships & Collaborations  - Compass will help nonprofits assess the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships or collaborations.
We couldn't put together our talented consulting teams without skilled volunteers. We couldn't recruit the amazing volunteers without the support of the local business school clubs. Thank you to the following alumni clubs that help spread the word about Compass. We are grateful for their support:    
The University of Chicago Booth School of Business  
Harvard Business School   
Michigan Ross School of Business   
Northwestern Kellogg School of Management    
University of Virginia Darden School of Business 
The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania 
This year, Compass is connecting over 50 business professionals with seven nonprofit organizations through our pro bono consulting projects in Chicago. 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 $1 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 2016-17 project year, please donate now.