Knight Consulting


For Boards of Trustees: Board Development

Boards have the ultimate responsibility for the nonprofits they oversee. Strengthening the board will always strengthen the capacity of its nonprofit. Each board is different in its strengths and weaknesses.

Board development can include one or more of the following:

* fundraising
* focusing the board on policy level issues, and avoiding micromanaging
* strategic board recruitment
* how the board works with the CEO
*  the chairing skills of the board committee chairs and the board chair
* how the chair of the board and the CEO work together
 proving the chairing skills of the committee chairs and the board chair
* board-driven strategic planning
* board retreats that produce results

For Program Staff of Foundations and Nonprofits

Program staff do a great deal of planning and evaluation. They are often asked to identify goals and theories of change. Knight Consulting can assist with all of these tasks. Areas of focus include:

* assistance in developing or revising a program's theory of change
* facilitating goal-setting discussions to insure that outcome goals are identified when relevant and the timeframes for their achievement are clear.
* assistance in developing an annual plan derived from one year outcome and process goals, rather than only activities, and which can be evaluated.
* training in outcome goal setting and outcome evaluation.

For Anyone

Often a group discussion can be more productive if a third party facilitates it. I have facilitated many planning sessions, often using a flipchart pad or white board, for foundation and nonprofit staff, for boards, and others. My goal is for the group to achieve clarity about what it has agreed upon, or about which it agrees, as well as next steps (with responsibilities assigned). Typically, I will provide summary notes of the meeting.

What is Outcome Evaluation?

Outcome evaluation is a phrase that is variously defined. My approach is compatible with the United Way/logic model/theory of change approaches with two additional emphases.

1.When a change is sought, iIt is important to also state the problem to be solved in terms of who or what will change (the target) and the dimensions of change involved (i.e., attitudes, knowledge, behavior, condition or status).

2. Outcome and process objectives are formal statements that contain measurable indicators, numerical targets, and timeframes.

Both of these are often neglected in the usual approaches.

My approach:

Knight Consulting does not collect data or write up evaluation reports. We will, however, help staff design surveys (a data collection tool), and design the data collection plan (using various data collection tools).  We can also advise staff on how to analyze the data collected. The goal is to build the organization's capacity to do the evaluation itself. Another goal is to keep the evaluation tightly focused on achievable goals with meaningful indicators. It is always best to have as few indicators as possible and to collect data that while rich in meaning is not burdensome to collect.