Board Facilitation & Training

A small board meeting

We help boards advance to the next level with a suite of assessment tools, trainings, coaching and facilitated planning activities.

In most nonprofits, the greatest under-realized potential lies in the Board of Directors.  They set the strategic direction, oversee the executive leadership and represent the broader base of stakeholders in stewarding the mission.  A group of volunteers with passion for the organization can either raise the effort to new heights or drag it down with confusion, pettiness and apathy.

There is little training and education in how to be a board member or how to work with a board. Focusing on a combination of board advancement and recruitment, Fife Consulting has a long track record of developing engaged, well-connected and well-informed boards. Bring us in to run an assessment on your board.  We’ll produce a report that shows the areas of greatest need.  And if you like, we can help build a plan and assist in addressing those priorities.

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Board Development services:
The Washington Bus, Blue Earth Alliance, The Vera Project, Hilltop Artists, eSe Teatro, FEEST


Strategic Planning


Fife Consulting provides stakeholder-engaged strategic planning for all kinds of organizations, adapted to fit the needs and budgetary restrictions of the group.  Generally, we like to see the generation of the plan come from the voices of the group.  That means our role is to help contextualize, facilitate conversation and coordinate the overall process of planning… which means the actual plan comes from you and yours.

Big or small, non-profit or for-profit, new or old, every business, group and organization needs a plan for the future. Sometimes it is because funders or other external stakeholders are asking for it.  Other times it is because the internal team of staff, board and volunteers need to create shared priorities, goals and vision.

Planning is not just writing a document.  It is a chance to better engage constituents, funders and investors.  It is a chance to develop a singular vision out of many voices.  It is a way to introduce change and become more relevant.  And it is a way to ensure that daily operations, tactical management and annual strategy remains aligned with the core purpose.

Our planning work can range from a week to a year depending on your need and budget and may include some of the following:

  • stakeholder assessment and engagement through surveys, interviews and focus groups
  • facilitated board and/or staff retreats and workshops
  • review and/or revision of the primary identity statements (mission, vision, values)
  • examination of program outcomes and impacts
  • analysis of community-served, organizational sustainability and capacity for change
  • synthesis of strategic directions, objectives and priorities
  • construction of an operational action plan, evaluation plan, budget and timeline
  • publication, presentation and distribution of print, web, slideshow and other versions of the plan

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Strategic Planning services:
The Washington Bus, Create Anchorage, Big Medium, Blue Earth Alliance, Teen Tix, Hilltop Artists, FEEST, Austin Creative Alliance


Interim Leadership & Management

Desk with nobody sat at it, against a white background.

With 24 years of experience in founding and managing projects, organizations and initiatives in nonprofit and public arts & culture, Fife Consulting has developed a robust set of tools for keeping a project or organization on course.

Though it isn’t rocket science, management does have a few twists and turns. From financial administration to human resources, from strategic partnerships to board relations, we can provide interim leadership or project management for a short or long period.

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Management services:
Make Anchorage, The Vera Project, Seattle Waterfront, Capitol Hill Cultural Planning


Community & Government Relations


Our services in outreach and engagement help establish better ties to stakeholders and constituents, both in community and in government.  From establishing basic public relations strategies to conducting targeted outreach efforts, we can help craft the story, message and plan that will better connect you to partners, peers, funders, constituents and the general public.

“Public sentiment is everything.  With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” —Abraham Lincoln. 

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Communications & Engagement services:
Make Anchorage, Seattle Waterfront, Capitol Hill Cultural Planning, FEEST


Coaching & Training


Fife Consulting offers coaching sessions and training for small business owners, nonprofit managers and board members.  A training session can help reframe a team.  A package of coaching sessions can transform an individual’s leadership strategy.

Nonprofit and public leadership is difficult.  Leaders are expected to make hard choices with limited information; expected to know many various technical details of management and governance; expected to represent their organization, their issue and their community; expected to speak with confidence and expected to listen with grace.  Many are responsible for everything and actually in charge of nothing. For all the books and classes on leadership out there, the main thing one needs is a guide and a partner to serve as a sounding board and a task-master on the big priorities.

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Coaching & Training services:
Big Medium, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Teen Tix, FEEST, Austin Creative Alliance


Research & Assessment

tape-measureWe offer support and management of research and assessment projects, providing dynamic process and reports that reach beyond the obvious to collect both qualitative and quantitative data in innovative ways.  Gap analysis, market analysis, outcome evaluation, sustainability assessment, evaluation planning, recommendation reports and governance evaluations are all available.

Good decision-making requires a strong understanding of conditions and context… stronger than many organizations and leaders have on-hand.  In order to prepare for planning and better understand the internal and external environment that they operate in, organizations often require well-structured, objective evaluations of their programs, services, marketplace, funding environment, history and/or public profile.

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Research and Assessment services:
Make Anchorage, The Vera Project, Alaska State Council on the Arts, Seattle Waterfront, Capitol Hill Cultural Planning


Policy & Program Planning

Hand draw sketches over grey background. Idea concept

Fife Consulting helps build new initiatives from their stakeholders and their mission, ensuring buy-in, relevance and sustainability.  From brainstorming and partner engagement phase to rolling out a final product, we can help establish a strong and lasting new effort for an agency or organization.

Starting a new program or policy initiative is easy.  But doing it in a way that is going to be sustainable, strategic and relevant is not.  Many institutions completely avoid new initiative development, especially if it requires partnership across sectors, organizations or methodologies. Even worse, many groups undertake new projects just to fit the whims of funders or donors.

New initiative and program development requires a smart process that includes assessment, engagement, modeling, research, planning, piloting, implementation and evaluation.

“I enjoy the freedom of a blank page.”  — Irvine Welsh

Here is a sample of client projects that have included Project and Program Design services:
Make Anchorage, Seattle Waterfront, Capitol Hill Cultural Planning