Nonprofit Pro Bono Service

New Pro Bono Service: Ask An Expert

Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) and the Stanford Graduate School of Business Alumni Consulting Team (ACT) have teamed up to answer your questions about managing nonprofits.

For almost 20 years, ACT has been providing pro bono management consulting to San Francisco Bay Area nonprofits. Now, seven ACT consultants are offering their expertise and experience to the public through the SSIR Web site.

To pose a question or browse previous questions and answers, visit our Web site’s newest feature Ask An Expert. For additional advice on a range of topics, explore the Ask ACT knowledge base.


Why should nonprofits undertake market analysis when we don’t compete with other organizations?
A few years ago, I worked on a pro bono consulting project for a local nonprofit gym. The gym was having trouble retaining lifeguards and thought that the problem was insufficient compensation. As part of the consulting work, the ACT team called up managers at similar but non-competitive organizations and asked about employee turnover rates and compensation plans. We found that our client … >>Continue reading this post

I’m concerned that no one will read our strategic plan once it is written. Doesn’t that make it a waste of time?
Don’t make the mistake of simply handing out a written plan to your board and your staff, expecting people to read and learn from it. As you write the strategic plan, you need to have a parallel process in place to present your plan to your various audiences. The most effective presentations are rich with stories, images, and analogies … >>Continue reading this post


Sharon L. Richmond will answer questions about mission, vision, and values. She is the founder and principal of Richmond & Associates, a management consulting firm specializing in business-driven change management.

Jan Leeman is our expert on market analysis and strategic planning. He has nearly 20 years of business experience as a management consultant, entrepreneur, and investor. He cofounded ImproveNet (NASDAQ: IMPV) in 1996 and held various executive positions through 2000.

Tony Ramsden will respond to questions about earned income. Tony recently retired from a career in information technology—as a partner of a global consulting firm and in management in the computer industry. Earlier in his career he was a CPA.

Bill Scilacci will consult on replication. He spent 33 years with Mission Furniture, a family-owned retail furniture business in San Jose, Santa Clara, and Cupertino, Calif. He was one of the founders of Bank of Santa Clara in 1972, a director from 1973 to 2000, and president from 1982 to 1992.

Michele Popiel is our expert on organizational development. She is an entrepreneur who provides management consulting services regarding human capital transformation to IT companies and self-sustaining nonprofit enterprises.

Rebecca Zucker will answer questions about executive coaching. Rebecca has coached individuals from the manager through CEO levels across the U.S. and Europe at companies such as Hewlett Packard, Genentech, Bain & Company, McKinsey & Company, VISA, and Mellon Capital.

Ernie Ting will advise on cost analysis. He is a management consultant who assists business, government, and nonprofit organizations with complex cost/economic analysis, business planning, and strategic planning projects.


April 3, 2007, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Stanford University, Calif.
Improve your bottom line through social and environmental practices. Stanford Social Innovation Review magazine subscribers receive a $30 registration discount. Early bird registration ends March 5. Register now


This groundbreaking executive program provides an opportunity to explore cutting-edge ideas in social innovation. It focuses on the strategy and management of grantmaking institutions, with a special emphasis on vision, power, governance, and collaboration.

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