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Learn More About 501 Commons

Nonprofit support, management and technology consulting and free information and referral services

Who We Are

Our Mission

We all rise when nonprofits thrive. At 501 Commons we serve nonprofits as experts, innovators, and partners. Our passion is to amplify the strengths of nonprofits—so ALL people and communities flourish.

The values that guide our work are:

  • Respect
  • Integrity and transparency
  • Inclusion
  • Accessibility
  • Partnership
  • Results
501 Commons has a multiracial and multicultural staff, volunteer corps, and board of directors. Our clients are also very diverse with many based in and focused on specific ethnic or racial communities. This diversity is a strength and provides opportunities to foster inclusiveness and to approach our work with an anti-racist and anti-oppression framework. Read about how we’ve built diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into our work with clients and into our internal practices.

How we accomplish our mission

501 Commons provides expertise and innovation to nonprofits through a full range of management consulting; technology consulting (IT planning and database development); outsourced HR, accounting, IT infrastructure, and database management services; professional development and board training; and free advice, information, and referral services.

501 Commons' services strengthen leaders, build healthy organizations, and fosters community engagement.

STRONG LEADERS
We amplify the strengths of leaders:

  • Leadership coaching
  • Executive advising & convenings
  • Learning programs, fundraising training, & Staff Development Coalition
  • Free informational resources, advice, & referrals


HEALTHY ORGANIZATIONS
We build capacity through consulting and stable back-office support:

  • Finance & tax services
  • Management, including governance & planning
  • Technology, data systems, & collaboration tools
  • HR services informed by the principles of DEIA (diversity, equity, inclusion & access) & guided by feedback from staff engagement surveys


ENGAGED COMMUNITIES
Cultivate & deepen community impact:

  • Advocacy training for staff & boards
  • Executive Service Corps members delivering services valued at $1 million
  • Volunteer program development & training for volunteer managers
  • Washington Gives year-round giving platform, including the GiveBIG & Giving Tuesday generosity campaigns, generating $20 million for 1,700+ Washington organizations

As a nonprofit ourselves, we are grateful for the support we receive from individual donors and dozens of philanthropic partners. This support allows us to keep services affordable to nonprofits of all sizes. Annually, our services strengthen more than 2,000 nonprofits, improving the quality of life for people and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

COVID Response

The pandemic required nonprofits to pivot their services and internal processes. Great strength, skill, and balance were needed to adapt their missions to the ever-changing situation and most received no government support to help them implemented these changes. 501 Commons rose to bolster these nonprofits and help them to move fundraising online, deploy technology for remote work and services, take financial systems virtual, and tap into federal programs. Our Human Resources team helps our partners support and supervise remote employees, keep their team safe, and access new family leave benefits. Service corps members, including many former nonprofit executives, advise nonprofit leaders facing new issues daily.

We are awed by the the grace and skill of nonprofits as they serve our communities during one of the greatest crises in our nation's history. Whatever challenges our communities face, 501 Commons will be here to step up and solve problems.

As a nonprofit ourselves, we are grateful for the support we receive from individual donors and dozens of philanthropic partners. This support allows us to keep services affordable to nonprofits of all sizes. Annually, our services strengthen more than 2,000 nonprofits, improving the quality of life for people and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Our Story

501 Commons was founded in 1989 as Executive Service Corps of Washington. In 2010, we changed our name to 501 Commons, reflecting a changing role and broader range of services. In 2012, we absorbed some of the programs and services of the Alliance for Nonprofits and the technology services of NPower Northwest. Most of our clients are in the Pacific Northwest, but many of our services are available to nonprofits in other geographic areas. 

Our name is based on the principle of the "the commons." The commons can be characterized as having five distinct attributes:

  1. Free and uncoerced participation
  2. A shared purpose
  3. Jointly held resources
  4. A sense of mutuality
  5. Relationships that are characterized by justice and fairness

Our Theory of Practice describes how we approach our work and our Team Charter describes how our team of 45+ work together to serve our clients.

501 Commons is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible, nonprofit, charitable organization and is a member of the Executive Service Corps - United States. By making a donation or volunteering your time to 501 Commons, you are impacting the success of over 2,000 organizations each year. Join us!

Our Clients

Each year, we work with 2,000+ nonprofits in the Pacific Northwest and around the United States. We provide services to all types and sizes of nonprofits organizations.

View the List

Our Theory of Practice

At 501 Commons, everything we do is based on a "theory of practice" framework drawn from research on nonprofit capacity building and our nonprofit experience. Through this, we have identified "Five Elements of a Healthy Nonprofit."

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Our Partnerships & Collaborations

We believe in the power of collaboration. Working together with other organizations gets us further faster. Here are some of our connections to other capacity builders doing good in Washington state.

Explore Connections

Strengthening Our Sector

We work to unleash the potential of nonprofits in our state by providing access to affordable services, so they can achieve their mission.

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