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Community Consulting Teams – Boston Project Application Project Year 2010-2011

Community Consulting Teams – Boston: Overview
Founded in 1990, Community Consulting Teams – Boston (CCT) is an organization of experienced MBAs whose purpose is to help socially conscious Boston area non-profit organizations address some of the strategic issues they encounter in furthering their missions. CCT recruits business professionals who have earned MBAs from leading business schools and organizes them into volunteer teams of four to six team members and a project manager. These teams are matched against the needs of local non-profit organizations to address a specific problem in a team-based consulting project lasting four to five months. CCT is soliciting applications from non-profits seeking assistance. Approximately 7-8 non-profit organizations with a Metro Boston presence will be selected. Applications from interested non-profits are due October 4, 2010. We encourage applicants to submit applications before the October 4th due date, if possible. Projects will be selected later in the fall, teams will be staffed in December, and projects will begin in January 2011. Services are provided by volunteers and are free of charge to the non-profit organization. Community Consulting Teams has served more than 100 diverse organizations in the Boston area and focuses on the areas of social services, youth, education, environment, and arts. Past clients include: The Boston Rescue Mission, Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Boston Collegiate Charter School, Boys and Girls Club of Middlesex County, Centro Latino, Charles River Conservancy, Community Music Center, Danforth Museum of Art, The Food Project, Friends of Shattuck Shelter, The Learning Center for Deaf Children, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, The Second Step, Springstep, YWCA Boston. To learn more about CCT, please visit our website at

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

Project Selection Criteria
Organization Type and Size:
• • The organization must be a 501(c)3. CCT generally works with mid-sized non-profits. The organization should have a budget between $500k-$5MM, with at least 3FTEs. • The organization must be, as a practical matter, unable to afford paid consulting services. • The organization must be financially and operationally stable enough to benefit from a consulting engagement.

• To accommodate our volunteers and facilitate routine interactions, potential clients should be within the Metro Boston area (generally defined as within the I-495 loop). • However, potential clients do not need to be headquartered in Boston. We will work with the local chapter of a larger organization if that local chapter has significant autonomy.

Project Requirements:
Importance: • The issue to be addressed should be important for the organization’s long-term growth • It should be well defined and bounded, with specific topics to be addressed. • It should focus on a management problem where business professionals with MBAs and varied work backgrounds will be able to make meaningful contributions. Projects requiring external or internal research and analysis are particularly appropriate. Project scope and timing: • The issue(s) should be narrow enough in scope to be addressed within a 4-5 month period by a four-to six-person team of volunteer business professionals, each devoting approximately 12-16 hours per month. • The project should be one that can be started in January 2011 and finished by the end of May/early June 2011. Common project types from successful past applicants have fallen within the following areas: • Marketing strategies • Membership strategies • Growth strategies • Operational effectiveness • Business plan development & feasibility analysis • Organization design and resource usage Important Note: Projects should have narrowly focused scopes, to enable the project team to provide actionable plans and deliverables within the time available. These types of projects have proven to be the most successful in the past. CCT does not undertake projects to develop fundraising strategies, campaigns or activities, or assist with board recruitment or development. (See website for examples.)

Client Requirements:
We have found through experience that the nature of the client organization has a significant impact on the outcome. Accordingly, we tend to look for organizations that have the following characteristics:

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

One or more dynamic leaders who can dedicate time to working with a consulting team and are open to advice from business professionals. • An action-oriented organization seeking to continuously improve its performance. • A Board that is highly engaged, including at least one member who is willing to serve as a project champion.

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

Application Review and Project Selection Process
Major Process Step
• • • • • • Applications submitted Semi-finalists selected and contacted by CCT for phone interview Finalists selected and contacted by CCT for site visit Clients notified of project selection Teams Begin Work with Client Kick-Off Teams complete work Early December 2010 Mid-January 2011 End of May/Early June 2011

Due date: October 4, 2010 Mid-October 2010 Early November 2010

Applicants will be notified of application status via telephone or e-mail at each stage of the selection process.

1. Complete the following application. 2. Please submit your application via e-mail by October 4, 2010, to Laura Ward at and attach a one-page description of your organization’s mission and activities, or an electronic version of a brochure. If you do not have electronic copies of a brochure, please indicate so in your e-mail. 3. Please direct any questions you may have to Laura Ward, via e-mail (above). 4. We encourage applicants to submit applications before the October 4th due date, if possible.

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

Project Application Form
All application information will be treated confidentially. Feel free to use additional pages or to type additional lines beyond the space provided for each question.

Contact Information
Organization name: Address: Phone: Web site: Initial contact name: Contact title: Contact phone (if different from above): Contact email: Project liaison name (if different): Liaison title: Liaison phone: Liaison email: Board member “champion” for proposed project:
(not required for initial application; required prior to final selection)

Organization Overview
Are you a 501(c)3 organization? How many employees do you have? Have you had any recent changes or additions to your staff? When and where were you founded? What are your annual budgets for 2010 (actual), and 2011 (projected or actual)? 2010: 2011: What is your organization’s mission?

Applicants should feel free to include additional pages or electronic copies of brochures with the application. Please e-mail applications along with a one page description of your organization or brochure to Laura Ward at by October 4th 2010. Please direct any questions to Laura Ward, via e-mail.

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

What are the major challenges your organization faces at this time? ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ ☐ Awareness/Marketing Membership strategies Operational Human Resources Organizational structure Financial Growth Plans Other (please explain) _____________________________________

What are your primary sources of funding? Have they changed significantly in the past two years? Have you previously used outside consultants? What was your experience?

Project Overview
Be sure to consider the “Project Selection Criteria” described earlier in this document, in particular the issues of project scope and timing.

What question or issue would you like to have Community Consulting Teams address with you? Please provide any additional information that will help CCT understand the issue or question in the context of your organization today. (See attached for successful project statements from past years.)

Describe briefly the significance of this issue to the future of your organization and why you are interested in having a consulting team help your organization tackle it:

Applicants should feel free to include additional pages or electronic copies of brochures with the application. Please e-mail applications along with a one page description of your organization or brochure to Laura Ward at by October 4th 2010. Please direct any questions to Laura Ward, via e-mail.

Community Consulting Teams — Boston 2010/2011 Project Application

Sample Project Statements
The following are examples of successful project statements from prior years’ applications, with specific information deleted to ensure client confidentiality. Note that while the types of problems described in the statements vary widely, each statement begins with a specific issue (organizational design and resource usage; technical development plan; increasing visibility). Each also outlines specific constraints or other obstacles that make the issue difficult to resolve internally. Organization 1’s statement is strengthened through a brief “technical” analysis of the impact of the problem on the organization, and obstacles associated with solving it. Organizations 2 and 3 provide simpler project statements that are also clear in defining a problem and its significance to the organization.

Organization 1:
What is the best organizational design and resource usage to create greater operational effectiveness? [Org] is a unique organization in terms of its structure; we combine [educational, professional, and outreach] programs (grant funded). There are very few organizations like us in the entire country. As an organization, our growth in programming has outpaced our growth in infrastructure (both financial and systems) to support it. We have accumulated debt approaching [$X] as well as a projected [$Y] operating budget deficit and must solve this problem. Our limited benchmarking of partially similar organizations has shown that our staffing for marketing and development is a much higher percentage of revenues, but it is only [X] FTE in marketing and [X] FTE in development (in addition to the Executive Director). In a deficit situation, we hesitate to reduce the very resources that are focused on bringing in revenue and contributions. We are searching for greater operational effectiveness through organizational design/resource use so that we can accomplish this goal while continuing to fulfill our mission and maintain our level of programming. Utilizing benchmarking and best practices continues to be a challenge, for example: What earned/contributed income ratio is appropriate for our organization? Nationally, [for comparable educational organizations, the] ratio is 80/20. [Comparable professional organizations] generally have a ratio of about 40/60. Where should we be and how can we best achieve this and with what staffing levels? How should we use benchmarking information?

Organization 2:
One element of the strategic plan that has yet to be addressed is the technical development plan. [Org] has come to a crossroads where it must decide how to invest in and improve its current technology. Essentially, we need to embark on a project to determine what we have in place currently, what we want our systems to look like in the future, and how we are going to get from where we are to where we want to be. We will need to find capital to build the infrastructure, the resources to implement it and equipment to utilize it. To manage this process, however, we need a project management team, and [Org] does not have additional capacity to allocate someone to that role. It is our goal that your team would manage this process in order to help us address our technical development goals.

Organization 3:
We would like [CCT] to take on the task of increasing our visibility to our core constituency. We continue to have difficulty spreading the word that we are here and have so much to offer. We don’t have a staff member in charge of PR and there is not a budget in place for PR. [The end result would be] a specific plan for ensuring that the average family knows [Org name] throughout the metro Boston area.