Supporting Boston Area Nonprofits with Pro Bono Consulting and Brainstorming Sessions

Community Action Partners

Harvard Business School and Kennedy School Alumni
Partnering with Boston Area Nonprofits on Critical Business Challenges

Harvard Business School and Kennedy School Alumni Partnering with Boston Area Nonprofits on Critical Business Challenges

Alumni Volunteers

Are you a graduate of HBS or HKS who wants to transfer your skills into community service?

Nonprofit Inquiries

Are you a Boston nonprofit or social enterprise looking for pro bono business consulting help?

Support CAP

We do not receive funding from Harvard. We rely on the support of alumni and sponsors.

Over 1,000 HBS and HKS Alumni have Volunteered Their Time and Expertise

More than 350 Pro Bono Consulting Projects with Boston Area Nonprofits

25 Years of Supporting our Community through Pro Bono Consulting Service

CAP Consulting

Eight-Month Pro Bono Consulting Projects with 5-6 Alumni Volunteers
Focused on Specific Business Challenges with Clearly Defined Goals

Eight-Month Pro Bono Consulting Projects with 5‑6 Alumni Volunteers Focused on Specific Business Challenges with Clearly Defined Goals

Eight-Month Pro Bono Consulting Projects with 5-6 Alumni Volunteers Focused on Specific Business Challenges with Clearly Defined Goals

Consulting Overview
  • Typical project team consists of five or six alumni working between two and four hours per week for up to eight months
  • We leverage each team’s unique intellectual capital and business talent, customizing every project to meet client needs
  • The result is a mutually rewarding experience — for alumni who want to impact the social good, and for our nonprofit clients who need professional help
Application Process
  • Applications for Pro Bono Business Consulting Services are accepted in early June for work beginning in October
  • CAP matches selected Boston area nonprofits with an alumni team tailored to the client and project focus

Consulting Project Interest Form

Consulting Client Criteria
  • Charitable nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status or other officially designated social enterprise
  • Headquartered in Greater Boston
  • A mission which provides the Greater Boston/New England community with a social benefit
  • A minimum of five paid full-time staff, as well as a board of directors
  • Stable leadership in the organization (ED tenure exceeds one year)
  • Administrative capacity and commitment to oversee and support the consulting work
  • Not currently in a crisis situation which would require more urgent assistance
Consulting Project Criteria
  • Deal with business or management-related issues in the organization, such as strategic planning,
    organizational development, finance, or marketing
  • Not focused primarily on development / fundraising strategy or implementation
  • Have goals which are well-defined and achievable by a volunteer team of about six consultants working two to four hours per week each for approximately six months
  • Have the sponsorship of the organization’s leadership, including both staff and the board
Project Implementation Guidelines
  • Each project is defined and agreed upon with the client organization in a written project commitment letter
  • A project team leader is designated prior to start-up with responsibility for guiding the project to completion
  • Each project has a liaison to the CAP board to track progress and provide assistance when necessary
  • A final report (oral and/or written) is made to client management and/or the board of directors
About Our Volunteers
  • CAP volunteers spend about four hours per week between October and May on each engagement, working in teams of approximately six alumni per client
  • Volunteers range in age from their late twenties to their seventies and have experience in many different industries and functional areas
  • HBS and HKS alumni volunteers derive personal satisfaction from making an impact on an area nonprofit
  • They also benefit from interacting with other alumni from diverse backgrounds
  • The positive experience of CAP teams contributes to a high repeat rate of volunteers — typically, more than 50 percent of the volunteers have experience with prior CAP projects

Recent Consulting Projects

CAP Brainstorming

A Three-Hour, Facilitated Meeting with 5-7 Alumni
Focused on Solving a Clearly Defined Business Challenge

A Three-Hour, Facilitated Meeting with 5-7 Alumni Focused on Solving a Clearly Defined Business Challenge

Brainstorming Overview
  • Brainstorming allows CAP to serve a wide variety of nonprofit clients, especially those who are small or whose issues don’t fit with the CAP Consulting eight-month pro bono consulting engagements
  • Brainstorming allows alumni to put their skills to use in service of local nonprofits with a limited time commitment
  • Examples of recent brainstorming session topics include: succession planning; board governance; impact measurement and reporting; ways to increase an organization’s visibility and reach; and staffing structures for continued growth
Application Process
  • Client applications are accepted on a rolling basis
  • A phone interview will be conducted if nonprofit applicant is selected to move to the next step in the process

Brainstorming Project Interest Form

Brainstorming Client Criteria
  • Charitable nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status or other officially designated social enterprise
  • Located in Greater Boston
  • A mission which benefits the community
  • An engaged board of directors
  • Stable leadership in the organization
  • Capacity/resources to act on ideas generated during Brainstorming Session
Brainstorming Project Criteria
  • Deal with business or management-related issues in the organization, such as strategic planning, organizational development, finance, or marketing
  • Not focus on development / fundraising strategy or implementation
  • Have goals which are well defined and achievable by a volunteer team of five to seven consultants during a three-hour brainstorming session
  • Have the sponsorship of the organization’s leadership
Procedural Guidelines
  • A mutually agreeable brainstorming session date and location will be determined by CAP and client Executive Director if the application is accepted
  • The client provides some brief background materials at least 2 weeks in advance to help prepare the participants to engage in a discussion focused on the brainstorming topic
  • The client provides refreshments for the participants

Recent Brainstorming Projects

Why CAP?

Let Our Nonprofit Partners Tell You

We greatly benefitted from the contributions of our CAP team.

The CAP team provided invaluable recommendations that we have been able to implement.

We are very grateful to CAP for their outstanding service to our organization.

~ Lynn Margherio, Founder/CEO

  Cradles To Crayons

Completing this project with our CAP team was a turning point in our organization.

We have already seen positive results by following their plan.

It was an amazing experience for our board and staff.

Thank you for everything!

~ Erica Young, Executive Director

  Waltham Boys and Girls Club

We greatly benefitted from the business skills of our CAP team.

The CAP team jumped in with enthusiasm, energy, focus, and invaluable skills to deliver practical recommendations that have moved our programs forward.

We truly value CAP's outstanding work.

~ Diane Viera, EVP and COO

  Historic New England

Our work with CAP was invaluable.

The quantity and quality of the data analysis was extraordinary.

The deep dives into each benchmark organization provided lessons and insights that will help us shape our organization for years to come.

It was a great experience!

~Susan Randazzo, Executive Director

  Indian Hill Music

Our evening with the CAP volunteers has been the gift that keeps on giving.

We still talk about it often, and it has truly catalyzed our work over the past six months.

Certainly it will have a big impact on our ability to grow and realize our strategic goals for 2018 and beyond!

~ Blair Demers, Executive Director

  Education for All Children

We greatly benefitted from the contributions of our CAP team.

The CAP team provided invaluable recommendations that we have been able to implement.

We are very grateful to CAP for their outstanding service to our organization.

~ Lynn Margherio, Founder/CEO

  Cradles To Crayons

Completing this project with our CAP team was a turning point in our organization.

We have already seen positive results by following their plan.

It was an amazing experience for our board and staff.

Thank you for everything!

~ Erica Young, Executive Director

  Waltham Boys and Girls Club

We greatly benefitted from the business skills of our CAP team.

The CAP team jumped in with enthusiasm, energy, focus, and invaluable skills to deliver practical recommendations that have moved our programs forward.

We truly value CAP's outstanding work.

~ Diane Viera, EVP and COO

  Historic New England

Our work with CAP was invaluable.

The quantity and quality of the data analysis was extraordinary.

The deep dives into each benchmark organization provided lessons and insights that will help us shape our organization for years to come.

It was a great experience!

~Susan Randazzo, Executive Director

  Indian Hill Music

Our evening with the CAP volunteers has been the gift that keeps on giving.

We still talk about it often, and it has truly catalyzed our work over the past six months.

Certainly it will have a big impact on our ability to grow and realize our strategic goals for 2018 and beyond!

~ Blair Demers, Executive Director

  Education for All Children

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