Group Consulting

Bridgespan’s Group Consulting services engage a group of nonprofits in a rigorous, collaborative yet customized process in order to solve a particular strategic challenge, such as developing a business plan or determining a funding strategy. Participants directly execute on individual projects following a structure and process that builds their internal capacity with experienced Bridgespan staff providing organization-specific coaching and feedback, along with tools, guides, and templates.


Bridgespan Group Consulting offerings cover a wide range of critical issues facing nonprofit organizations.

Why Group Consulting?

Group consulting distills Bridgespan’s decade of experience about the types of analysis and discussions that help nonprofit organizations answer some of the most common strategic questions. Participants will end the process with a plan that articulates the desired change for their organization, key priorities to achieve that change, and a roadmap of action steps needed to achieve that change. Each process is also designed to build internal alignment around priorities and to increase the capacity of the senior team for engaging in rigorous, data-driven thinking.

This was an incredibly helpful process. It has helped to build capacity on [our] staff and board and has provided a clear plan for our future direction. (2009 Group Business Planning participant)

This is an extraordinary tool and process. Thank you.
(2011 Organizational Effectiveness Planning participant)

Great reflection and great advice.
(2011 Organizational Effectiveness Planning participant)

How Does Group Consulting Work?

Each type of Group Consulting consists of distinct phases of work, each of which helps an organization answer the critical questions needed to solve the particular strategic challenge at hand. Each phase begins with a full-group session where all participating organizations learn in a hands-on way about the key concepts and work for the next phase.

As the participating organizations work thorough the stages of the process at the same time, Bridgespan provides clear instructions and supporting materials, including "how-to" guides, data collection and analysis tools, and presentation templates. Throughout each phase of work, Bridgespan staff check-in weekly with each organization to provide feedback on work in process and collaborate in solving specific problems.

Which Organizations Should Participate?

Group Consulting has been an effective process for nonprofit organizations across a broad range of sizes, types, and areas of focus. Organizations that are interested in participating should have a senior leadership team that recognizes the strategic challenge the organization is facing and is willing to make changes as a result of the outcomes of the process. Group Consulting is also best for organizations that are in a solid financial position, with no immediate fiscal crisis looming.

We have worked with single- and multi-service organizations; direct-service, advocacy, and intermediary groups; and organizations that are working in human service, education, workforce development, environmental, civic engagement, and social justice fields, among many others.

Group Consulting can be particularly powerful when applied in a network setting—when a set of affiliates of a network go through a planning process together. This allows each organization to not only clarify its individual approach and priorities, but to more deeply understand and align with the approach of other affiliates and of the network overall.

Hear and read about the Public Education Network’s experience with Group Business Planning.

How Can I Learn More?

For more information, please contact Samantha Levine at groupconsulting@bridgespan.org or call 617-572-2336.