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Strategy and Organizational Development
Management and Program Excellence
Thought Partnership and Coaching
Talent and Transitions
Crisis Management

Strategy and Organizational Development

Onward has a diverse team of nonprofit experts who can help you develop strategy, seize opportunities, and manage change. Our seasoned professionals can help you:

  • Refine your organization’s mission, vision, goals, and values to ensure strategic coherence
  • Create realistic, short- and long-term strategic plans to guide your organization and staff
  • Align plans with job descriptions, work plans, and staff training
  • Help you put work plans into action


As part of our strategic planning process, we will:

  • Analyze strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats to your organization
  • Help you define your goals and the related strategic plan
  • Develop or update your vision and mission statements
  • Interview stakeholders — such as funders, colleagues, clients, board, and staff — and craft a comprehensive report about their perceptions
  • Conduct benchmark studies to determine how your organization compares with other nonprofits
  • Develop strategic and operational action plans with measurable objectives and deadlines
  • Prepare your team to carry out the work ahead

We can focus on your entire organization or a specific project. We can help you launch a new affiliate, coordinate an acquisition, close/open a school or program, reorganize a program, or simply help you understand the stages of organizational evolution and guide your organization forward.

Organizational Development

We can help you hone your mission and values, build an effective board, formalize your organization’s culture, create logic models for a new program or identify measurable outcomes in an accountability plan. Our experts will help you develop the strategic organizational elements to advance your mission. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Theories of change
  • Logic models
  • Accountability plans
  • Defining and formalizing a culture of excellence and equity
  • Revising organizational structure

Click here to read about our strategy and organizational development clients.

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Management and Program Excellence

We help your organization perform efficiently and strategically by highlighting new ways to get the most out of your hard work. Onward helps with the critical elements of managing your organization, including

  • Assessing, refining and developing programs with clear goals, strategies, and assessment metrics
  • Identifying performance metrics and continuous improvement  systems
  • Providing staff with development support

Onward also helps you integrate accountability and excellence by creating a performance management framework that cascades from the strategic plan down into each staff work plan. We can help you create systems to manage more effectively including helping you to identify critical milestones, performance indicators and outcomes and create the systems to track and assess your team’s work.

Click here to read about our management and program excellence clients.

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Onward helps you increase, diversify, and sustain your revenue. We know how important it is to have stable funding. We can:

  • Perform development audits
  • Craft results-based strategic and tactical fundraising plans
  • Compare development strategies & staffing from different organizations
  • Conduct perception audits to understand how people view your organization, both internally and externally
  • Help you develop basic fundraising collateral: case statements, proposals, sample letters, etc.
  • Prospect opportunities
  • Coach, develop, and hire staff

We can help you maximize your resources to accomplish your organization’s goals. We have several expert fundraisers on our team who have all secured six- and seven-figure investments.

Click here to read about our fundraising clients.

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Thought Partnership and Coaching

Thought partnership is a collaboration between Onward and your organization that enables you to find the right opportunities and take advantage of them.  They expand an organization’s intellectual capital helping them to ask better questions, focus on priorities, and advance faster than they thought possible.

Thought partnership is different. Rather than managing a project or conducting research, Onward’s job is to provide insights from diverse industries that challenge leaders and organizations in their thinking and their practice. It can provoke an organization to improve and to innovate. We follow this up by drafting the plans, summaries, or structures, as the client needs.

Onward  thought partnership contracts are low-risk/high benefit contracts because clients only pay for the time they us.  They ensure that your organization has access to the time and resources necessary to meet its objectives.

Onward can help a client to:

  • Identify and develop opportunities
  • Troubleshoot challenges
  • Conceptualize ideas into tangible business concepts
  • Evaluate, validate, or shape an existing business idea or plan
  • Conduct research such as comparison studies, perception audits, or benchmarking to better understand the landscape
  • Develop practical strategies and a clear plan for execution
  • Provide expertise and guidance as needed

Read what our clients think about these contracts here.

Executive Coaching

As former executive directors, we understand the importance of a mentor as a “critical friend.” Onward mentors executive directors and other senior leaders, providing unbiased and strategic counsel. We support every aspect of nonprofit excellence with a robust library of templates and tools for our clients’ use and conduct extensive research so you can make the best decisions.

Click here to read about our thought partnership and coaching clients.

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Talent and Transitions

We are only as good as our team and we know how the right hire can make or break an organization. Through both traditional and innovative talent searches, we will find the best fit for your organization — without the exorbitant fees of most search firms. We conduct searches at all levels of the organization, not just directors.

We don’t just find the right talent. Onward consultants can also step in during a crisis. Each of us has successfully run nonprofit organizations or critical departments. We can provide interim leadership, find you the talent you need, manage the transition to permanent staff, and mentor new executives.

Click here to read about our talent and transitions clients.

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Crisis Management

Sometimes we find ourselves in difficult circumstances. Onward can help you assess the situation and devise a strategy to get your organization to where it needs to be. As experienced executive directors, we have all found ourselves in challenging situations. We can help your organization emerge from crises stronger. We can:

  • Manage sensitive projects, such as coordinating a takeover or closing a school
  • Revamp underperforming departments and reorganize organizations
  • Provide interim leaders
  • Coach leaders
  • Create and execute crisis communications plans
  • Raise emergency funds
  • Recruit and train new boards of directors
  • Conduct media training to put spokespeople out ahead of the issue
  • Put out lots and lots and lots of fires

Click here to read about our crisis management clients.

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