Guide to Managing Nonprofits
CORPORATION FOR NATIONAL AND COMMUNI T Y SERVICE
Placing highly skilled, older volunteers with charities has paid big benefits for nonprofit groups,
according to results from a project by the National Council on Aging. See Page M-2.
As the Consulting Field Expands,
Nonprofits Face a Wealth of Options
By Maureen West
IT HAPPENED FAST. Groups like the Center for Non- profit Management, in Nashville, were among the first to see the consulting business crash in late
By April of 2009, the center, which pairs up consultants with charities, saw its revenues fall by more
than 40 percent in a year. Lisa Pote, director of consulting, gave her boss the bottom line.
“I don’t think you can afford to keep me,” she said.
Her boss suggested a little patience. That turned
out to be wise counsel: Just a few months after her
business hit bottom, Ms. Pote says, she was busy
“In early 2010, S.O.S. calls started coming in from
charity leaders needing quick help finding more money and managing smaller staffs,” she says. Government funds were being cut and demand for charities’
services were exploding.
Groups needed expert help, says Ms. Pote. They
needed assistance in improving financial health,
building teams, and alleviating stress the recession
was causing for employees. They weren’t looking for
the kind of traditional consulting that involved long-
range planning and three-day retreats, she says:
“They wanted specialists.”
In spite of the economic swoon of 2008-9, the con-
sultants who serve charities and foundations have
seen a huge boom in demand for their services over
the past decade, in part because of the accompanying
boom in new nonprofit or-
ing pressure from donors,
government, and the pub-
lic to show results in ex-
change for support.
The sheer number of U.S. nonprofit organizations
increased to 1. 2 million charities and foundations by
2009, spurring a remarkable expansion of clients for
consulting groups. All told, organizations classified
under Section 501(c)( 3) of the federal tax code rose by
nearly 90 percent since 1996, when the Internal Revenue Service counted 654,186 of them.
Nonprofit groups have “grown dramatically fast-
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