Founded in 1993, Community Action Partners (CAP) operates under the aegis of the HBS Association of Boston. CAP’s mission is to increase the impact of mission-driven organizations by strengthening their ability to address our community’s greatest challenges. CAP’s pro bono consulting services connect experienced Harvard Business and Kennedy School alumni with mission-driven organizations in Eastern Massachusetts and beyond. It is our vision that a thriving mission-driven sector can create a more equitable community.
To this end, CAP recruits more than 100 alumni volunteers to staff consulting projects for up to 18 nonprofits each year. Since inception, more than 1,100 CAP volunteers have served over 300 nonprofit clients in areas such as strategic planning, market research and marketing strategy, financial planning and analysis, board development and governance, and organizational development. CAP projects must meet certain criteria described below and have a focus of strategic importance to the client.
CAP has made some key changes to the 2022-23 consulting cycle, so please review these instructions carefully. Any questions should be addressed to CAP Executive Director, Kathy Le, at email@example.com.
Project Duration: CAP Consulting projects are tailored to each client's specific needs and typically take between four and eight months to complete. During the vetting process we will work with the applicant to estimate project duration, which will be finalized in an engagement letter after projects launch in October, 2022.
Volunteer time: On average, each CAP team volunteer spends about four hours per week on project work. Volunteer time investment typically varies throughout the project based on project needs.
Client time: Members of the client teams working directly with the CAP team can expect to put in an average of four total hours per week during the project. Some members of the client team will spend more or less time depending on their role within the project. Client time investment can vary throughout the project. In general, stronger collaboration between CAP volunteers and clients correlates with more meaningful project outcomes.
COVID precautions: Like everyone, CAP remains flexible and continues to monitor public health guidelines and will provide further guidance about COVID precautions in the fall before projects launch. CAP has successfully operated over Zoom during the pandemic, however in-person project work will be considered when advisable and mutually agreeable between all parties involved. No project will include in-person meetings without the expressed consent of the client and the CAP volunteers. You may indicate in the application if a virtual project is preferred.
Charitable nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status or other mission-driven organizations with a primary goal of achieving a clearly defined social benefit
Operating or headquartered in Eastern Massachusetts
Providing a social benefit to the Eastern Massachusetts community
Employing a minimum of five paid full-time staff and governed by an active 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
All potential projects must meet the following criteria:
Primarily focused on business or management-related issues, such as strategic planning, operations, organizational development, finance, or marketing
Have goals which are well-defined and achievable by a volunteer team staffed according to the project overview above.
Have the sponsorship of the organization's leadership, including both staff and the board
A note on fundraising projects: Please note that while CAP does not provide direct fundraising expertise or support, we recognize the central importance of fundraising to organizational sustainability. CAP projects often address issues related to fundraising such as general fundraising communication strategy, earned income strategy, and market messaging strategy. However, we do not take on projects that focus on direct solicitation or capital strategies and implementation. We are happy to discuss how we can support your needs; please reach out to CAP at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Examples of CAP consulting projects (not an exhaustive list):
Strategic or business plans development
Marketing/communications strategy and plan development
Replication or scaling plans development
Board development and governance
Market opportunity assessment
June 3, 2022: Client application due date (at 11:59 pm)
June and July 2022: Project vetting discussions between CAP board members and
applications (likely via Zoom). Semi-finalist projects selected.
August - September 2022: Volunteers select from semi-finalist projects
September 30, 2022: Volunteers and clients matched, project awards finalized
October 2022: Teams begin project work
February - June 2023: Teams complete work
CAP will notify clients regarding the status of their application by email or phone at each stage of the process. CAP continues to monitor the COVID situation and vetting meetings will be conducted in-person or via Zoom in accordance with public health guidance and with the agreement of the applicant organization.
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