Service Options

Nonprofit Capacity Building Cohorts

A Collaborative Approach to Nonprofit Strategy

Much like the nonprofits that they serve, foundations, associations, and other member-based organizations also seek to increase their impact in a financially viable manner. By convening nonprofit capacity building cohorts around specific strategic challenges and initiatives, conveners and networks can benefit from economies of scale by building nonprofit capacity without requiring consulting services for each nonprofit separately.

Peer Learning

As the demand for this kind of work has increased, Spectrum Nonprofit Services has adapted our consulting model and tools to meet the needs of nonprofit cohorts. We’ve facilitated nearly ten capacity building cohorts in the last several years and can customize the program to meet your strategic goals.

Across these groups, missions often vary drastically. We’ve worked with nonprofits that focus on homelessness, health care, and community development all as members of the same cohort. While the leaders of these organizations possess different content expertise, they are able to problem solve together, and learn from the challenges and solutions of their peers. Feedback from participants indicates that these shared learning opportunities illustrate to leadership that they are not alone in grappling with strategic problems and serve as one of the more robust benefits of this structure.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Cohort Option A

Creating Sustainable Business Models (Matrix Mapping)

Our most frequently delivered cohort deepens understanding of an organization’s business model. Utilizing the matrix map tool, participants analyze how their organization’s mission-specific and fund development programs interact, and determine strategies to strengthen organizational sustainability.

By engaging in the cohort, participants will:

  • write a clear statement of intended impact, which will help guide this strategic direction of the organization. This statement will clarify for staff and the board what the organization is meant to accomplish, thereby guiding mission achievement.
  • create and analyze the matrix map which shows how individual programs contribute collectively to the impact and finances of the organization. Through this effort, they’ll assess the individual mission impact and true costs of delivering all programs.
  • analyze the organization’s market to determine influence on the business model.
  • assess the revenue mix to ensure that its characteristics are supportive of sustainability.
  • articulate strategic priorities.

Nonprofit Capacity Building Cohort Option B

Financial Leadership

nonprofit financial management

Strong nonprofit leaders support their organizations’ missions and also possess the requisite financial knowledge and skills to maintain impact. From not understanding the true costs of delivering their programs, to the complexities of cost allocation associated with public contracts, senior leaders and board members are faced with numerous technical challenges, and can benefit from continuing to develop their financial leadership abilities. As such, our approach provides practical takeaways and templates that participants can implement immediately to strengthen their organization.

Through this program, participants will:

  • Assess and improve the immediate and long-term financial health of their organizations.
  • Determine the true cost and profitability of their organizations’ programs.
  • Analyze their organizations’ revenue strategies and recommend investments to enhance viability.
  • Report and communicate effectively on their organizations’ finances.
  • Understand financial leadership’s role in supporting organizational sustainability.


To further customize the cohort experience for grantees, we offer coaching hours with Spectrum consultants to support their work. From providing technical assistance in allocating costs or completing templates to advising on the most appropriate way to engage stakeholders in the mission impact assessment, coaching helps ensure that we meet the unique needs of each participant. Past cohort members have consistently rated coaching as one of the most useful components of our cohort process.

Capacity Building Cohort Partners

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