Strategic Guidance. Stronger Nonprofits.
In This Issue
Client Application - Deadline June 12
Compass Thanks our Volunteers
Join Our List
2016-17 Clients 
Vol. 14, No. 2
June 2017


On the drive home after picking up my oldest son from college, my son reminded me of a Dallas Cowboys playoff game last January. We (the Cowboys) desperately needed a score, so the coach sent in all of the receivers. As the opposing team covered the receivers who were running all over the field, the Cowboys' quarterback calmly ran the ball up the middle. It was a GREAT play. As my son reminded me of it, I smiled just remembering the play's surprise and success. That day in the car, my son told me that he liked to remind me of this play when I am having a tough day, because he knows it makes me happy. He then told me about a poster he had seen at school that he thought I would like. The poster showed a mouse that was wearing a football helmet looking at a mousetrap with cheese in the middle. The caption read, "Never give up!" As my son described the poster to me, I grinned and said, "I LOVE that!" He said in response, and also with a big smile, "I knew you would."

This was a rare moment of feeling completely known by another person. This feeling resonates with me for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is at the core of the Compass mission and program, which I also love. Our tailored consulting program for nonprofits uniquely meets the needs of our clients, because our volunteers truly come to know the nonprofits with whom they work. Through either nine- or five-month projects, the business professionals who volunteer with Compass listen and learn. At the end of projects, Compass clients often say to us about their volunteers: "They listened to us," or "They understood what we want to do," or "They saw our potential," or "They know us and believe we can do this."

In a world that seems to be operating more virtually every day, Compass proves that "personal" and "in-person" still matter. There is nothing like sitting down with someone and talking for hours. There is nothing like observing people in action and coming to know them as a result. There is nothing like understanding someone after investing time in them. There is nothing quite like knowing someone or being known.

Compass teams are currently wrapping up 72 consulting projects. Between Greater Washington DC, Philadelphia and Chicago, 509 business professionals have spent countless hours as Compass volunteers getting to know their nonprofit client. These volunteers have seen the realities and the possibilities that the nonprofits face and know what makes these organizations tick. As a result, many of our volunteers will stay engaged with their Compass client once their project ends. One client recently told me that she had asked a Compass volunteer to join her board. "Someone who already knows us!" she said happily.

This is the time of year when the Compass client application is open to nonprofits that might benefit from the strategic consulting we provide. (See details below.) I am happy to remind you that anyone who volunteers with your organization through Compass will live in your community. They will care about your organization and the people you help, because this is their home, too. They will come visit your organization personally. They will listen to you, and come to know you. Only then will they provide you with recommendations designed just for your organization. At the end of the Compass project, you will likely be told that you have incredible potential and that, like a mouse looking at cheese, you should never give up.

I hope you consider applying for a Compass project. Maybe it's time to be known. Have a wonderful and relaxing summer. We'll see you in the fall.
There's still time to submit a nonprofit client application for pro bono consulting services for 2017-18 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.

The application is available on our website: Client Application
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, ( ) to discuss. 


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 with respect to mission, programs and resources.
Strategic Partnerships & Collaborations  - Compass will help nonprofits assess the value and appropriateness of strategic partnerships or collaborations.
Compass would like to thank our 2016-17 volunteers for their hard work and dedication this project year in support of the Greater Chicago community. This year, our 49 volunteers provided over 3,600 pro bono hours resulting in over $770,000 of services, helping to strengthen organizations that provide essential services to our community.

Like our 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.

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 schools clubs. Thank you to the following clubs that help spread the word about Compass. We are grateful for your continued support! 

University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Harvard Business School
Michigan Ross School of Business
MIT Sloan School of Management
Northwestern Kellogg School of Management
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Stanford Graduate School of Business