Want a Business Plan? Log on for Free Advice
Resource type: News
The New York Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]
By ALAN KRAUSS
THE Bridgespan Group, which offers management consulting services to philanthropic and nonprofit organizations, has introduced a Web site that will make a broad array of its resources freely available online.
The site, bridgespan.org, is organized into six interactive sections called learning centers. Each learning center focuses on an area of nonprofit organization and management like strategy, recruiting and hiring and financing. The material includes articles, videos, podcasts and question-and-answer series.
There are what Bridgespan calls conversation starters — essays on broad policy questions facing the nonprofit sector. And there is a library of case studies, drawn from consulting work done by Bridgespan since its founding in 2000. At another site, Bridgestar.org, there is a jobs board for those seeking work in nonprofit management.
Bridgespan aims to be a “trusted source of knowledge and best practices,” said Jeff Bradach, its managing partner. To that end, it includes not only its own materials, but also links to management-related content from other groups.
The goal is “a one-stop shop for issues of management and leadership and strategy for organizations in the nonprofit sector and philanthropies,” Mr. Bradach said.
Bridgespan was created by Bain & Company, a Boston consulting firm that wanted to offer its professional employees a way to do work that they regarded as more personally engaging than standard consulting activities. It provides nonprofit management consulting, executive search and philanthropy advisory services at reduced rates.
This year, Bridgespan expects to work with some 59 clients on strategy and philanthropy and 40 on executive search, though Katie Smith Milway, a partner at Bridgespan, said the numbers did not account for “multiple engagements,” or overlapping assignments for the same organization.
Ms. Milway said the costs of developing bridgespan.org were underwritten by grants from foundations including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Atlantic Philanthropies and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. She said the site was expected to draw 30,000 to 50,000 visitors a month initially from among the 85,000 nonprofits that work in education, environment, youth services and Bridgespan’s other areas of concentration.
“The Web site and most importantly the content and research are very useful,” said J. B. Schramm, chief executive of College Summit, which helps school districts in 12 states build college enrollment rates. “This site is going to make that material much more accessible to organizations that don’t have big research functions or direct access to Bridgespan.”
Mr. Bradach said that bridgespan.org would help fill gaps in the availability of management advice for nonprofit groups.
“If you go the business section of Barnes & Noble, you’ll see hundreds of books on management and strategy,” he said. “But if you go to the nonprofit section of the bookstore, you might see one or two books on management strategy. But nonprofit leaders are looking for the same kind of information — information that can drive their organization forward.”