Capacity Building

We partner with social change groups to design capacity building services that are customized to fit the specific needs and realities of each organization.

We begin by conducting a thorough organizational assessment to better understand each organization’s strengths, challenges, context and culture.  Our investment allows for deeper levels of trust and organizational insight, enabling us to co-design better strategies and solutions to advance organizational goals. Our seasoned capacity building team provides a comprehensive menu of services.

Strategic Planning

We introduce innovative tools and techniques that help organizations to think and act strategically, articulate a powerful and cogent vision for the future and develop proactive strategies to achieve their goals. The process includes examining organizational strengths and weaknesses, designing stakeholder engagement strategies, conducting best practices research and a sophisticated analysis of environmental trends and opportunities. See the new Strategic Planning page with examples of Strategic Plan Executive Summaries we’ve facilitated.

Leadership Transition Planning

Finding a new Executive Director or Co-Director for your organization is a critically important task and it can seem daunting. We take a comprehensive approach, helping organizations articulate the skills and attributes needed in the next leader and design a recruitment, selection and onboarding strategy that’s right for the organization.

Leadership Skills Training

We believe the growth and development of our social change leaders has to be an essential strategy to grow and strengthen our movements. We develop curricula and conduct a range of training programs for emerging and experienced leaders encompassing topics such as developing a reflective leadership practice, building emotional intelligence skills and managing major change initiatives. See our training services section.

Organizational Culture Change

We design strategies to help groups become learning organizations with the ability to effectively navigate challenges related to rapid growth and changes in strategic direction. We help organizations become innovation laboratories, testing new ideas and strategies that can achieve greater impact. We’ve pioneered exciting new approaches that build transparent and democratic institutions and advance leadership at all levels of the organization.

Feasibility Studies

In this complex and rapidly changing world, social change groups must be able to practice strategic foresight. Organizations need to continually evaluate their strategies, anticipate strategic opportunities and threats, and continue to adapt and innovate in order to achieve increasingly higher levels of impact. We help organizations design feasibility studies and other strategies to test new ideas and approaches that can amplify impact.

Organizational Restructuring and Strategic Positioning

Changes in the movement landscape, organizational growth and expansion, and unanticipated shifts in policy and funding are just a few of the factors that may signal the need for organizational adaptation. We help organizations to assess the need for strategic repositioning and develop a plan for organizational restructuring that optimizes its unique strengths, issue or field expertise, and it’s people talent.

Needs Assessment and Impact Evaluation

We help organizations conduct a comprehensive analysis to determine community needs and evaluate program effectiveness. We utilize methods such as: surveys, focus groups, best practices research, discussion forums and key stakeholder interviews with community members, staff, network leaders and funders, among others.

Program Planning

We help staff to design innovative and impactful programs, improve teamwork, articulate success indicators and scale up programs that can amplify impact. We work to ensure programs are well aligned with the organization’s theory of change and overall strategic objectives.

Board Development

We focus our efforts on building strong, healthy board and staff partnerships. We help organizations to develop board recruitment strategies, increase board diversity, create effective board orientation and training programs and foster vision and strategy alignment.

Meeting Facilitation

We apply human centered design principles to plan and facilitate special meetings that maximize the generation of new ideas and foster full participant engagement. Meetings are designed to ensure participants leave with clear action steps for achieving their objectives and strategies for maintaining critical momentum.

Lotus for Ignit

Ideas that
Ignite Change

“Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

— César Chávez

“If you look up ‘herding cats’ in the dictionary, you'll find a picture of Elsa working her strategic planning magic on our diverse group of public-interest attorneys, community activists, and others who are on our Board of Directors and staff.”

— Douglas Meiklejohn, Esq.

Executive Director, New Mexico Environmental Law Center