Consulting and Advising

I primarily serve donor families and donor groups, grantmakers, and the associations and advisors that serve them. I’ve staffed, consulted with, and volunteered for a wide variety of philanthropy efforts, helping them answer four essential questions:  

1. For What Purpose?

All philanthropy is rooted in human values and beliefs, even philanthropy based on multi-layered strategies and outcome measures. It helps to re-examine those values and beliefs over time. They define a culture of giving, and as Peter Drucker noted, culture eats strategy for breakfast. I help clients:

  • Clarify values, beliefs, and assumptions about the best levers for getting things done.
  • Balance differing purposes of legacy, vision, stakeholder involvement, and changing community needs and opportunities.
  • Develop shared statements of values, vision, mission, and desired impact.
  • Research and frame issues.

2. With Which Resources and Tools?

I help clients explore how they might use all their capitals – financial, human, intellectual, and social – to make a difference. Those capitals can be deployed through an ever-evolving box of philanthropic tools. I have experience with the pros and cons of community foundations, donor-advised funds, giving circles, private foundations, supporting organizations, awards and scholarships, grassroots grantmaking programs, and some gift planning instruments.

3. With What Plan of Action?

I use a variety of design and planning tools to help clients develop, test, implement, and engage others in roadmaps for success. Example projects have included:

  • Strategy and value proposition roadmaps – for specific programs/projects or whole organizations.
  • Family philanthropy models – strategies, policies, and programs to govern a family’s philanthropy, engage members in meaningful ways, and plan for future generations.
  • Grantmaking programs – internal priorities, external guidelines, application and RFP language, site visit and due diligence processes, committee review and evaluation tools.
  • Initiatives and collaboratives – combining tools such as grants, investments, convening, communications, donor engagement, and public policy.

4. For What Results and Learning?

Every generous person and organization wants to have an impact and to improve over time. Simple evaluation and learning frameworks that can be implemented well often go a long way. I help clients:

  • Learn from many existing tools and philosophies for assessing the quality, effectiveness, and impact of organizations, collaboratives and networks, and socially-minded investments.
  • Develop internal measures for quality and performance for philanthropy programs.
  • Develop and facilitate site visits, retreats, learning circles, webinars, workshops, and more.

Consulting Affiliations

I’m a specialist in some philanthropic, nonprofit, and social impact topics, and a synthesizing generalist in many others. To best serve a client, I can easily call on trusted collaborators through those affiliations and through my memberships in the Purposeful Planning Institute and National Network of Consultants to Grantmakers.