Not For Profits

Nonprofit organizations play a critical role in our society and economy, and are under increasing stress, pressure, and scrutiny as they work to achieve their missions. The challenges of maintaining strategic focus in a dynamic landscape (and in light of serving many needs), raising funds in a competitive environment, and working across a complex stakeholder system all contribute to these pressures, and have been heightened in light of the current crisis. CFAR has a long history of supporting leading nonprofit organizations across multiple sectors—healthcare and social services; economic and civic development; public policy; education and youth; and media, arts, and culture. In all of our work with organizations where mission and impact are paramount but stakeholder interests may be diverse, CFAR is attuned to structures and processes that will actually make sense on the ground. We bring years of experience and innovative methods to help with strategy, leadership, organizational change and design, and collaboration—all applied to our clients’ unique situations.


Professional associations play a critical role for the professions and members they serve, and for the general public. Associations are complex organizations, balancing the interests of multiple constituencies, and leveraging the efforts and expertise of volunteers, members, and staff. Association leaders must navigate membership expectations, pressures on time and resources, and the need to continually adapt governance structures to changing requirements.

Our work with association leadership guides them to innovate their programs and member relations, improve organizational design and effectiveness, and develop leadership skills. We offer associations support with strategic planning, governance (both board and association-wide), and leadership development.


While the influx of private wealth into foundations continues to grow, the very nature of philanthropy is multi-faceted, requiring innovative organizational solutions that accelerate impact. Foundations need to exercise creativity and sophisticated business strategies to amplify impact and, increasingly, they demand measurable return on their social investments.

CFAR has a long history of consulting to many of the country’s largest and most prominent foundations, understanding what it takes to face a world that is simultaneously filled with opportunity and constraint—and how to translate those opposing forces into action. We helps foundations refresh organizational strategy and structure to respond to changing market needs, develop more effective leadership teams, and amplify impact.

Social Service Organizations

Social service organizations play a critical role in our society. These organizations grapple with forces both internal (competing views on services to provide and constituents to serve, the unique relationship between volunteer boards and professional staff) and external (complex government regulations and oversight, competition for funds)—all while usually operating under limited financial and human resources.

Applying our distinct approaches to strategy, change, board governance, and collaboration, CFAR helps social service organizations address strategic choices about risk, reach, and engagement, and build partnerships within the communities they serve—all in the service of their organization’s mission.


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Balancing the Scales: The Critical Role of Soft Skills in Leadership
Balancing the Scales: The Critical Role of Soft Skills in Leadership

A few years ago, I had the privilege of coaching a sales leader from the tech industry in California. She was stepping into a daunting new role amidst challenging circumstances: over half of her sales team had been laid off. As her executive coach, my goal was to...

CFAR Spotlight: Connor Champigny

This month's CFAR Spotlight features Analyst, Connor Champigny. Connor applies his leadership skills and prior experience supporting both state and federal government offices across CFAR’s market areas. Originally from eastern Massachusetts, Connor graduated from the...

Lessons from a Hospital Chaplain: Nursing, Moral Injury, and Culture 
Lessons from a Hospital Chaplain: Nursing, Moral Injury, and Culture 

You are an ICU nurse, two hours from the end of your shift, when you hear the familiar call of an alarm for a coding patient. As you rush into the room, the whole team gets to work to resuscitate, but to no avail. Time of death is called. Hardly a moment has passed...

Your Strategic Plan at Halftime: How to Pivot and Thrive
Your Strategic Plan at Halftime: How to Pivot and Thrive

Chris discusses the valuable lesson of a “halftime” for organizations that are 2 to 3 years through their five-year strategic plan. Chris offers 6 ways organizations can use a “strategic plan halftime” to their advantage.

CFAR Spotlight: Victoria Nessen
CFAR Spotlight: Victoria Nessen

This month's CFAR Spotlight features Director of Marketing and Growth, Victoria Nessen. Victoria is an accomplished executive who has spent her career driving growth. Before joining CFAR, Victoria spent over 20 years as the dynamic founder of NK&A, a boutique...

All the World’s a Stage
All the World’s a Stage

Our work as advisors to family and owner-led businesses is inherently interdisciplinary in nature. At CFAR, we often call upon best practices in business, strategy, family dynamics, anthropology, organizational design, and more. At this year’s Family Firm Institute...

The Gifts That Keep on Giving from Tom Gilmore
The Gifts That Keep on Giving from Tom Gilmore

A Capstone to the Celebration of Making a Leadership Change. As we conclude 2023 and our celebration of the 35th anniversary of Tom Gilmore’s book, Making a Leadership Change, we are reminded of the many gifts we have received from Tom during his decades as a...


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