Turning Passion into Purpose. Purpose into Impact.

Organizational Strategy

The Big Ideas to Drive you Forward

What is the best way to advance your organization’s mission in the current environment? What big goals will inspire your Board, staff and stakeholders? How can you anticipate and lead change in your field? We help you answer these questions in a way that brings focus and clarity to your work.

Business Models

Realistic Pathways to Your Goals

How does your organization create value? Who will fund your work? Are your revenues and expenses aligned with your goals? We help you use all of your assets and resources to build a sustainable and effective organization.


Smart Ways to Facilitate Your Work

 Are your systems, processes and people aligned to meet your goals? What culture and capacities do you need to build? What can you let go? We provide operational guidance and support to achieve desired outcomes.


Accountability, Learning & Growth

Do you have the information you need to learn and excel? Are you collecting the right data to inform management decisions and demonstrate impact? We help you to track appropriate metrics and use the information to strengthen your organization.

Telling Your Story

Building Strong Relationships

Who are you? What do you believe? Why is this important?  We help you craft stories that express your organization’s vision and contribution in a way that inspires your organization and engages your community.

Comprehensive, Integrated Support

From the big existential questions of mission and purpose down to the nitty gritty of measuring results, we offer the customized support you need to grow the impact of your organization. You can use us to design an initiative from soup to nuts, or access specific skills to compliment your staff’s expertise. Either way, we take a holistic view and develop solutions that fit your goals, identity and resources.


They are creative, enthusiastic, energetic, responsive, and produce excellent results. Whatever your field, they’ll amaze you with how quickly they come up to speed to understand your business and how to help you move ahead.
Mary Tyrrell

Executive Director, Sustaining Family Forests Initiative


Practical, Human-Centered Strategies

We use data to ground our thinking. We use theories and frameworks to organize information. We use our analytical skills and experience to give meaning to what we see and hear. But the most important component of our design process is: People.

People like your staff, Board, stakeholders and constituents. The people whose perceptions and behavior affect the implementation and outcome of your strategy.

We combine rigorous analysis with an understanding of how people think and what drives their behavior. Our inclusive, human-centered design approach yields strategies that are inspiring and ambitious, but also eminently practical and implementable.

Working with CNPS is a joy and a privilege. The organizational strategy that we developed with their help has fundamentally reshaped our work and created a strong future.
Rebecca Wodder

Executive Director, American Rivers

An Experienced Team

All the Center’s projects are led by its two principals, Dr. Purnima Chawla and Mr. Ravi I. Singh . They bring you smart, creative thinking as well as the wisdom they have gained over two decades of advising similar organizations.

Purnima Chawla

Purnima Chawla

Founder and President

About Purnima

Purnima is a recognized expert in developing and implementing strategies that help organizations advance their missions and accomplish their goals. She has provided organizational, programmatic and marketing counsel to a wide variety of nonprofits, foundations, social businesses and government agencies, especially in the areas of health, environment and international development.

Clients value Purnima for her sharp, incisive thinking and her ability to organize large amounts of data to arrive at critical insights and “breakthrough” solutions. Her deep understanding of individual motivation and group dynamics enables her to translate visionary ideas into practical strategies for changing the behavior of organizations, their stakeholders, and their communities. In addition, clients appreciate Purnima’s integrity, commitment and openness to different opinions, qualities that earn her the respect of all stakeholders.

Before starting the Center, Purnima served as Senior Vice President at Equals Three Communications. Earlier, she was Vice President at Porter Novelli. Purnima has a PhD in Psychology from Columbia University, and enjoys hiking, rock climbing and yoga.

Ravi Singh

Ravi Singh


About Ravi

Ravi has over two decades of professional experience as a researcher, evaluator and strategist. His career includes positions at leading research firms like Roper ASW, leading public relations firms such as Weber Shandwick, and nonprofit organizations like the Sesame Workshop and the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT).

Skilled in both quantitative and qualitative research techniques, Ravi has conducted survey research in over 30 countries and has facilitated more than 400 focus groups. His experience enables him to pick up patterns and nuances, detect nuggets of information in vast pools of data, and use this information to address organizational concerns. His research has informed a wide range of organizational initiatives including communication and education programs, program evaluation, brand development, public affairs, business plan ratification, product marketing, and reputation and issue management.

Ravi holds an M.A. in mass communications from Bowling Green State University and has undertaken advanced graduate work in communications at Columbia University. He enjoys a variety of outdoor pastimes including running, hiking, biking and golf.


Our Guarantee

When we take on a project, we are completely invested in your success. We are part of your team. We will give you our best.

So send us all your documents and data. We want to know everything.

Tell us if we’ve missed something. We’ll gladly go back and explore it thoroughly.

Call us anytime to share your thoughts and ideas, doubts and concerns. We’re good listeners.

Invite us to talk with your stakeholders. We’re happy to address their concerns to help secure their support.

We will do whatever it takes to get the job done right. (p.s. We don’t expect you to pay for any extra time. We usually quote a fixed fee for the project and stick to it unless the scope of the work changes.)

Our experience with the Center for Nonprofit Strategies was a tremendous success. They quickly internalized our mission and organizational culture and led us through a vigorous, thoughtful, and inclusive planning process. The end result is a sharply focused six-year road map to success.
Matt Sicchio

COO, USA Football

Our Clients


FairVote seeks to improve our democracy through two electoral reforms–ranked choice voting and proportional representation. With these reforms gaining momentum and interest, FairVote needed to articulate a more focused role in a rapidly expanding field. We worked with internal and external stakeholders to define FairVote’s contribution and position in the field, and aligned its resources to deliver on clear, ambitious goals.

Graduate Theological Union

The Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of eight independent theological schools, offers a comprehensive and unique program for interreligious graduate studies. We helped this consortium to refine their offering and business operations to ensure program consistency and fiscal savings for the members.

Sunlight Foundation

Founded in 2006, the Sunlight Foundation played a seminal role in establishing the open data movement in the United States. They approached us in 2018, with a request to rethink their strategy and position in light of changes in the field, including new learning, actors and approaches. We worked with staff to develop and present three new organizational models to the Board.


CNPS partners with the USFS Family Forest Research Center to deliver the TELE program, which offers capacity-building and consulting services to conservation organizations. TELE is a research-based and field tested methodology to engage woodland owners and other audiences to be better stewards of the land.

Open Data Watch

Open Data Watch works with national statistical offices worldwide to improve the coverage, openness and usefulness of official statistics. We helped this organization to articulate its value proposition and develop programs and services to deliver on that promise. We also helped to launch their flagship product: the Open Data Inventory. 

Transparency and Accountability Initiative

The Transparency and Accountability initiative is redefining what it means to be a donor collaborative. CNPS helped T/AI develop a new organizational strategy (2017-2019) based on learnings from its first five years in operation.

Open Contracting Partnership

When the Open Contracting Partnership was launched, CNPS worked with the staff and Board to develop its mission, strategy and operational plan. We also advised the organization on its operations and governance structure.

Learning Equality

Learning Equality is a young nonprofit that has developed open-source technology to deliver interactive and dynamic digital learning experiences in classrooms with few resources and little or no internet connectivity. CNPS is helping LE to figure out the best settings and uses for this technology, and develop and market appropriate products and services.


As the premier advocate for closing gender data gaps, Data2X has focused on documenting gaps and biases in global development data and creating partnerships to fill them. CNPS helped Data2X identify growth paths that leverage new opportunities created by the development data revolution, new data collection technologies, and the growing awareness of women’s role in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).


CNPS helped Gooru, an educational technology nonprofit, to scale use of their K-12 educational platform and develop sustainable revenue streams for the organization.

American Forest Foundation

CNPS worked with AFF from 2009 through 2011. Our task was to develop a new path for AFF’s Tree Farm program and provide ongoing operational support during the transition to the new model. As part of this project, we participated in monthly management team meetings, monitored the rollout of new programs, and supported individual members of the management team as requested.

Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa

In 2006, we helped the Partnership to transition from a loose coalition of development experts to a strong advocacy organization with an inspiring agenda and effective staff-led programs. Thanks to a compelling vision and realistic operational plans, the Partnership was able to attract the funds needed to implement the transition and, by 2009, had accomplished the goals laid out in its first strategic plan.

Mental Health America

We re-designed MHA’s flagship public education campaign to reflect the organization’s new focus on wellness and health improvement (rather than managing illness). The campaign was aimed at promoting mental health enhancing strategies for people who are experiencing emotional distress.

San Francisco Theological Seminary

We worked with this Presbyterian seminary over two years, first to implement an inclusive strategy formation process that engaged all members of the SFTS community, and then to assist the School’s  management team in implementation. We also designed a dashboard to help the President and Dean track progress against strategic goals and targets.

Open Government Partnership

This international multi-stakeholder initiative hired CNPS to recommend an organizational structure and funding plan to support its rapidly growing organization and ambitious goals. We also advised the organization on operational and staffing issues, and helped to develop a business plan for the next three years.


CNPS evaluated the first phase of the ONE campaign and recommended an appropriate organizational structure and phase 2 goals to move the campaign forward.

The Aspen Institute

In 2005, the Aspen Institute hired us to analyze five successful advocacy campaigns in the area of global development to identify factors that contributed to their success. The resultant report led to the development of an advocacy evaluation framework, which is the basis for the work of the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program.


CNPS developed a new marketing plan for Oxfam’s flagship educational and outreach program: Fast for World Harvest.

American Diabetes Association

In 2006, the American Diabetes Association hired CNPS to help determine how (and how much) the organization should address the growing issue of obesity. Our charge was to objectively lay out viable structures and strategies for venturing into this new area and provide the Board with the information needed to decide amongst these options.

Sustaining Family Forests Initiative

Our first project with SFFI was to design and implement a “Call before you Cut” campaign to persuade private forest owners in six midwestern states to seek professional advice before harvesting trees. Next, we developed a website (www.engaginglandowners.org) and training program to help natural resource professionals engage with woodland owners. We continue to assist SFFI with program delivery and evaluation.

Bread for the World

Over the years, CNPS has executed several projects for Bread, including a dashboard to help the Board and management team track progress, a graphic to “map” Bread’s influence over time, and a long-term vision for what Bread will accomplish and become over the next twenty years.

American Rivers

The leaders of American Rivers asked us to help them marshal and leverage their resources for greater impact and influence. We delivered a bold new strategy that leveraged American Rivers’ national status and staff strengths, and called on the organization to shift from place-based conservation projects to national issue-focused campaigns that support and leverage local campaigns.


CNPS helped this Southern African policy advocate articulate its vision and strategy. We also helped FANRPAN write a proposal for the Gates Foundation, which, when accepted, effectively doubled the organization and its impact.

Graduate Theological Union

This coalition of nine Bay Area seminaries, which offers a joint PhD program in collaboration with University of California, Berkeley, charged us with assessing the viability of the Union in the face of declining enrollment at member seminaries. Our research revealed that member seminaries vary in their ability and willingness to support GTU programs and we designed a tiered membership structure to reflect their interests and motivation.

The American Council on Education

We worked with a coalition of research universities and USAID representatives to develop a strategic plan for Higher Education for Development (HED), a program of ACE that supports the engagement of US colleges and universities in development initiatives worldwide.

The Holmes Partnership

This consortium of 96 universities hired us to facilitate a Board retreat to help the organization clarify its values and principles, set near-term goals, and develop an action plan to be carried out by member organizations.

Refugees International

The focus of Refugees International’s planning process was to identify the areas where it makes the most distinctive and necessary contributions and align its resources accordingly. It also led to the development of three new strategic initiatives that enabled RI to combine advocacy for immediate improvement with a push for long-term structural reforms to prevent future crises.


CNPS facilitated an executive team retreat designed to flesh out NatureServe’s vision for the near future, prioritize areas where additional resources are needed, and develop a strategy for mobilizing needed resources.

CommonHealth Action

The strategic planning process that we conducted for CommonHealth Action revealed that this organization was trying to fill two very different roles and identities. This clarification led to some programs and functions being spun off into a subsidiary Public Health Institute so that the organization could focus on its core health equity agenda.

Healthcare Industry Supply Chain Institute

This association of healthcare providers, group purchasing officers, and vendors hired us to explore their members’ opinions of how the healthcare purchasing function is currently structured and new trends that are likely to shape it in the near future. The results were used to inform HISCI’s programs.

Rutgers Institute for Ethical Leadership

We conducted an evaluation of the Institute’s pilot program designed to provide a year of leadership training to executive directors of local nonprofits.

Education for Peace in Iraq Center

The goal of this engagement was to clarify roles and responsibilities between EPIC’s staff and its highly engaged volunteer Board. We helped EPIC develop consensus around action priorities and assign items to volunteers and staffers as appropriate.

National Committee on North Korea

CNPS helped this diverse coalition of business people, academics, foreign services professionals, North Korean community leaders, and nonprofit organizations develop a unified message platform to promote effective and constructive US engagement with North Korea.

The Wildlife Alliance

We helped this organization, which is headquartered in Washington, DC but has operations in Thailand and Cambodia, set up an organizational structure that would enable management decisions to be made at appropriate locations and levels.

Community Health Charities-National Capital Area

We developed an innovative marketing strategy designed to boost participation in CHC’s workplace giving programs and to distinguish them from similar federations in the healthcare space. The centerpiece of the strategy were newly developed “giving and learning” programs which would be more attractive to younger employees, particularly in DC’s flourishing Tech sector.

The Stanley Foundation

The Stanley Foundation has used the Center’s services to facilitate joint strategy sessions designed to help groups of nonprofits to develop a coordinated response to specific advocacy and media opportunities.

American Planning Association

CNPS conducted research with business and civic leaders and APA members to develop messages designed to help APA communicate the benefits and value of membership in the association.


The College of William and Mary charged us with finding a sustainable funding and management model for AidData, a transparency-promoting database that was developed jointly with Brigham Young University and Development Gateway. We developed a financial, governance and management structure that allowed for smoother collaboration among these organizations and has enabled AidData to grow and thrive.

Citizens for Global Solutions

CGS was formed in 2003 from the merger of two membership organizations. CNPS was engaged to facilitate the transition, in particular the adoption of the new name, which had to be approved by majority vote of the memberships of both organizations. We implemented an inclusive process to develop the new name and logo, and initiated an effective internal communication program to generate buy-in for the change. Later, in 2010, we helped CGS plan for the next phase of its growth.

USA Football

Originally funded through philanthropic grants, USA Football was seeking to become more sustainable by diversifying its revenue base. We developed a 6-year plan, which included the launching of marketable programs and services, expansion of the donor base and cultivation of corporate sponsorships, to help USA Football become stronger and more self-reliant.

Community Bridges

This community-based provider of leadership and empowerment programs for young girls asked us to help it find a path to financial sustainability. We presented the Board with two strategies, one that required a repositioning of Community Bridges to attract local philanthropic funds and the other which called for it to charge service fees to supplement philanthropic funds.

Fair Labor Association

CNPS supported FLA’s international and external communications in 2009 and 2010. Our role was primarily strategic, including helping FLA make critical decisions such as the viability of launching a consumer-faced certification label. When needed we also provided writing and design support to the communications team.

Hewlett Foundation

The Hewlett Foundation used the Center to facilitate a meeting of foreign policy advocacy organizations. The meeting was designed to facilitate mutual learning of advocacy strategies and to help these organizations work collaboratively to accomplish shared goals. We have also provided management counsel to several organizations that have received organizational effectiveness grants from Hewlett.

Southern Environmental Law Center

We facilitated a process designed to articulate the mission, values and identity of SELC and to get its leadership aligned behind the themes and ideals that guide its work. The process was designed to bring coherence and focus to this rapidly growing organization with offices in six states.

Institute for Science and International Security

This project was focused on clarifying ISIS’s contribution and developing a sustainable competitive advantage for the organization. We identified ISIS’s most unique strength–independent technical analysis of nuclear threats–and developed a strategy designed to sustain its ability to conduct these analyses and disseminate results for maximum impact.

Gray Ghost Ventures

With financial assistance from Grey Ghost Ventures and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, we helped a Bangalore-based nonprofit, The Teacher Foundation scale up its programs while lowering costs and switching to a hybrid model that used service fees to supplement grant income.

Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

With financial assistance from Grey Ghost Ventures and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, we helped a Bangalore-based nonprofit, The Teacher Foundation scale up its programs while lowering costs and switching to a hybrid model that used service fees to supplement grant income.

The Teacher Foundation

With financial assistance from Grey Ghost Ventures and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, we helped a Bangalore-based nonprofit, The Teacher Foundation scale up its programs while lowering costs and switching to a hybrid model that used service fees to supplement grant income.

The Stanley Foundation

The Stanley Foundation has used the Center’s services to facilitate joint strategy sessions designed to help groups of advocates develop a coordinated response to specific events in the political and policy landscape.

Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute

CNPS helped to “birth” the IRRC Institute. When its parent organization, IRRC, was sold, the Board hired us to determine the best way to use the proceeds from the sale to promote socially responsible investing practices. Through a careful exploration of how the corporate responsibility sector is currently organized and where it is headed, we developed a complete blueprint for the IRRC institute, including mission and programs, governance, staffing and financial plans.

Our strategic planning process was very consuming, enriching and transformative beyond our expectations.
Julie Howard

Executive Director, Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa

Our expanded work and focus is creating substantial results and a renewed commitment and sense of mission and excellence throughout the organization. … You deserve a big piece of the credit for doing such an excellent job, both of understanding SELC quickly and getting the best thinking on the table focused and organized.
Rick Middleton

Executive Director, Southern Environmental Law Center

Working with the Center for Nonprofit Strategies ranks as one of the most valuable professional experiences I’ve  had yet in 20 years as a public policy communicator.
Andy Ware

Assistant Chief, Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Center for Nonprofit Strategies was granted the “Best of Alameda” Award in the Business Management Consultant category for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. This award honors companies that enhance the positive image of small businesses through services to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies make Alameda a great area to live, work and play.
Alameda Awards Program

Contact Us

9 + 4 =