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Our Process

Following our proven model for success

Guiding Principle: Amplifying Strengths

501 Commons offers a wide variety of customized services and programs to help your organization extend the reach of its mission. We strive to amplify the strengths of individual leaders and organizations so all people and communities flourish.

  • We respect each nonprofit's unique culture and history.
  • We honor the expertise in your organization, as well as the expertise of our staff and Executive Service Corps members.
  • We customize our services to fit your needs.
  • We share best practices and collaborate with other service providers in order to better serve nonprofits.

For more on the research-based practices that underlie the programs and services of 501 Commons, please visit our Theory of Practice page.

Here's how our process works for both management assistance and technology consulting services.

Getting started is easy! To learn more about our services or set up a project, simply fill out the Request for Assistance form. A project manager will review your request and get back to you. Completing a request form does not obligate you to use our services. If you would like to speak with someone about services before completing the request form, please email and tell us what you need.

Management Assistance

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  • This process begins with a phone call from a project manager, who will call you to find out more about your organization's needs.
  • The project manager will give you the hourly rate or project fee and explain our process in detail. Some 501 Commons services are free, while those that involve service corps members are offered on a sliding scale with a service grant. The rest are offered at market rate or better.
  • The project manager will identify a consultant, coach, or staff member for your project. Depending on the scope of your project, we may put together a team of people.

Assess buttonAssess

  • The project manager will facilitate an introductory meeting for you and the members of your 501 Commons project team. At this meeting we will review the current situation and go over the outcomes that you want to achieve. This meeting will also give you a chance to interview the consultants, coach, or staff member selected for your project. Our project managers are pretty good at picking out the best people for a particular project, but if you feel that a person isn't a good fit for your organization, just let us know.
  • The project manager will prepare a contract for your review that details the scope of work, project deliverables, timeline, and cost.
  • Once the contract is signed, project work begins.

work buttonProject Work

  • Your project manager will check in with you about halfway through the project to see how things are going. They will also be in touch with the 501 Commons consultant, coach, or staff member working on your project.
  • If problems arise, bring them up directly with your project team. Let the project manager know immediately if problems are not resolved.
  • Most projects will involve a few meetings or phone/video conferencing calls between the project team and you or your staff. It is the joint responsibility of the project team and your organization to arrange meetings at mutually convenient times.

evaluation buttonEvaluation

  • All of our contracts include a post-project evaluation. Once your project is completed, our staff will send you instructions on completing the evaluation form.
  • The evaluation will ask you to rate the success of the overall project, your experience working with 501 Commons in general, and the performance of each consultant, coach, or staff member on your team.

Technology Consulting Services

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  • Over the course of our work with you, we hope to become experts on your organization. This process begins with a phone call between your staff and our intake coordinator.
  • We’ll learn about your mission, where you are currently, what you have planned for the future, and how technology can help you get to where you’re going.
  • Our staff will let you know the options for meeting your technological needs and give you an idea of how the process will work. When you’re ready to move ahead, we’ll schedule an initial design meeting with the specific team members who will oversee your project.

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  • During this phase, the most important part of any project, we'll ask lots of questions and conduct a full analysis of your current technology. By the end of this phase, we'll know your organization well enough to make technical recommendations to help you reach your goals.
  • Deliverables for this phase might include diagrams of proposed architecture, site maps, process diagrams, recommendations documentation, or an implementation scope of work with a project plan.
  • By the end of this phase, you'll have learned more about your own organization and played an active role in determining the best path to move forward.

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  • We’ll take what we learned in the design phase about your organization’s requirements and implement the agreed upon solutions, collaborating with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are met.
  • We rely heavily upon open, two-way communication throughout the entire planning and implementation process for successful project management. We'll articulate a clear timeline with benchmarks to help us stay on track and complete the project on time and within budget.
  • We’ll meet with project leads and organizational leadership for a formal wrap-up meeting to assess goals and outcomes, review the budget, and discuss next steps.

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  • We want to be there to ensure that your project is successful in the long-term. Whatever the next steps are, 501 Commons will be there to help support you and plan for the future.
  • This begins with a post-implementation review and evaluation of the project.
  • We’ll determine next steps and establish a roadmap for successful adoption of the new systems, tools, and processes. With many projects, this will begin with ongoing support and maintenance.
  • We’re also happy to work with you to prep for any future project phases, including the implementation of additional functionality and features, or evolution of existing capabilities to keep things current.