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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CFAR Spotlight: Erin Konkle
CFAR Spotlight: Erin Konkle

This week's Spotlight features CFAR Manager Erin Konkle. Erin brings over 10 years of experience in higher education and community organizations. Her research, practice, and teaching are rooted in assets-based organizational development methods, including Appreciative...

CFAR Spotlight: Nancy Drozdow
CFAR Spotlight: Nancy Drozdow

This week's Spotlight features CFAR Founder and Principal Nancy Drozdow. Nancy co-leads CFAR’s Family Enterprise and Owner-Led Business practice and has been instrumental in the development of CFAR’s approach to strategy. Nancy is internationally known for her...

The Power of a Growth Mindset for Culture
The Power of a Growth Mindset for Culture

During a recent client engagement, I was struck by a small moment that gave me a different perspective on the elusive goal of “culture change.” Our team was working with a healthcare client to co-create a new process for handling disagreements within their...

Getting Hybrid Work Right in Higher Education
Getting Hybrid Work Right in Higher Education

One thing that is evident in the world of work — and higher education is no exception — is that hybrid jobs are here to stay. What is not clear, however, is how to harness the opportunities that a hybrid model provides without getting sidetracked by its challenges....

Vital Strategy Conversations
Vital Strategy Conversations

In our work with organizations across sectors and industries, we often see the need to highlight the critical distinction between strategic planning and strategy making. Along similar lines, a company’s strategy development process can often become unduly influenced...

A First-Year Plan for New College and University Presidents
A First-Year Plan for New College and University Presidents

Newly appointed college and university presidents are welcomed enthusiastically and inaugurated ceremoniously amidst excitement, new ideas, and hope for the future. Yet, the term can also begin against a backdrop of pressure points that may include budget constraints,...

The Six Ps of Good Governance for Private Companies
The Six Ps of Good Governance for Private Companies

We have found that great private company governance can be organized and grounded in these principals: purpose, people, practice, procedures, policies, and processes. At CFAR, we call these the Six Ps of Good Governance. If, at a glance, these concepts seem like...


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