The Top 10 Business Coaches and Mastermind Groups to Help You Grow Your Nonprofit

Sean Lund-Brown

The business of nonprofit is just that—a business. Too often, people assume that not-for-profit somehow means there’s less “business” involved in running a nonprofit organization. There’s usually more, and it’s much more complex because of the nature of the industry. You'll have to learn all about fundraising rules, grants and donation fund spending, and other important topics to build the successful nonprofit that you want. 

Of course, you’re not here to make profits, so what can a coach provide? A coach can provide several things, and we’ll discuss many of the perks below. However, you’ll be happy to know that there are dedicated coaches for the nonprofit sector, and they know all about how to make organizations as successful as possible. 

Coaches and coaching services can offer training and support for everything from relationship building to organizational structure, and everything in between. Depending on what you need, you’ll find a lot of different options out there today. The important thing will be to choose the solution that works best for you. Before we get into the list of the best coaches to consider, let’s talk about some of the benefits you’ll find. 

Nonprofits are big business, but they’re a tricky business if you’ve never worked in them before. Plus, the changing economy and the nature of the donor world continue to impact how nonprofits find and keep donors on hand. It’s all a giant process that takes a lot of effort, but when you have the right people on your side, it’s easier than you might think. 


What can you gain from hiring a business coach?


While for-profit companies hire coaches and groups to assist them in growing their bottom lines, non-profit organizations have different goals and intentions. Therefore, they might assume that sales-based or profit-focused coaching isn’t right for them. That’s an accurate assumption—that's not the right type of coaching. However, some dedicated nonprofit coaches can teach you everything about fundraising, nonprofit structure, and how to make the most of your grant applications, and more. 

A business coach will provide your nonprofit with:

  • Clarity and Critical Insights: You can’t always see things from the right perspective when you are looking from the inside. When you hire a business coach, they’ll provide clarity and a fresh perspective to help you point your efforts in the right direction. Their expertise will allow them to point out critical elements that can be adjusted or improved to help your nonprofit thrive. 
  • Accountability: A business coach will also hold you accountable for your decisions and your mistakes, as well as anything that could be costing you valuable donations. They aren’t going to worry about hurting your feelings or making you look bad. They just want to help your organization succeed and that means being honest and getting to the root of the issue. 
  • Actionable Goals: Coaches know how to make your goals actionable and keep them on track as things you can actually achieve. They will make sure that you have a solid strategy in place and that your fundraising efforts are accomplishable, not just ideas that sound like they would be nice to achieve. 
  • Direction: Again, coaches will have the expertise to help you point your strategy in the right direction. It can be hard to figure out where to go with fundraising and nonprofits beyond “more”, but with a coach, you can get a plan of attack with a forward-moving list of goals and steps. 
  • Improved Relationships: In this industry, coaches are going to spend a lot of their focus on soft skills like relationship building and thought leadership. Building relationships is critical to the nonprofit because these relationships are what will fuel donations over time. When you work with a coach, they will be able to help you maximize all of your relationships for the benefit of your organization. 
  • Growth: When the rest of these things happen, your nonprofit will in turn see growth like never before. You will be able to fundraise in entirely new ways, reach people like never before, and grow your organization and your donations by leaps and bounds. You’ll find your leaders doing better, as well as your volunteers and everyone in between. 
  • Increased Retention: When you have better fundraising strategies and structural organization in your nonprofit, you’ll find that it’s easier to retain donors and keep people giving throughout the year and over the years. Donors will see your improved operations and respond in kind. 

These are just a handful of the biggest perks that you can expect when working with a business coach or coaching organization. There are several other advantages to consider, but these make the top of the list. And now, let’s take a look at 10 great business coaches and groups for your nonprofit needs. 


The top 10 coaches and coaching groups for nonprofit organizations 


  1. Simon Scriver

Simon Scriver has more than two decades of experience in fundraising consulting, coaching and training, and nonprofit operations. He has won several awards throughout Ireland for his efforts in fundraising and the nonprofit sector, and today is a consultant for some of the biggest charities both nationally and around the world. He offers consulting and coaching to nonprofits around the world who are looking for cost-effective ways to improve their fundraising and grow their organization. He also attends conferences regularly and can offer assistance with digital marketing, online fundraising, and more. 


  1. Shanon Doolittle

Shanon Doolittle is a fundraising coach and is also a co-founder of Gratitude Camp. Her specialization is in creative plans for stewardship and donor campaigns, and she’s obsessed with putting the “fun” back in the world of fundraising. Based in Seattle, WA, Shanon travels regularly and attends conferences, hosts live speaking engagements, and provides one-on-one and group coaching to those who need it. She also has a blog, videos, and online courses available for those who aren’t local or who prefer online learning. 


  1. Center for Non-Profit Coaching

The Center for Non-Profit Coaching (CNPC) offers services to those who serve others. They offer training and coaching solutions to help nonprofits improve their organizations and their leadership. Its focus is to forge relationships with organizations that are passionate about changing the world at the root cause. They offer a variety of online and in-person training solutions, including one-on-one, organizational, and small group coaching sessions to ensure that you get everything that you need. The nonprofit coaching world is limited for those on a budget, and CNPC understands that you still deserve the best coaching even if you don’t have a lot to spend and they have programs available to help. 


  1. Fundraising Leadership

Fundraising Leadership offers a host of coaching services and resources, including information on the benefits of coaching and insight on fundraising and the nonprofit industry. There’s a blog full of information and you can subscribe to get even more insight and information. They have a 7-week, three-month, and six-month coaching package available or they can help you create a custom strategy that suits the needs of your nonprofit. They can also conduct leadership assessments, help define your goals and actionable steps to get there, and help discover and clarify what the organization is doing so that you can make the right moves and get the best results. 


  1. Joan Garry Consulting

Joan Garry works with all of the top-level folks involved in fundraising and nonprofit organizations, including CEOs, senior managers, board chairs, and foundation owners and trustees. Joan has been in the nonprofit industry for decades and knows how to get results. Each client is given a six-month contract with 90-minute coaching sessions to ensure that all the work gets done and that it gets done right. Joan helps build competencies and deepen your understanding of the nonprofit world and even offers custom coaching solutions for those who don’t think the six-month standard package works for them. 


  1. CompassPoint

CompassPoint offers leadership development and organizational coaching with executive coaches on staff that can connect with individuals and organizations to create better fundraising and donation efforts, as well as better operations overall. There are online resources, books and blogs, peer coaching services, and even one-on-one and group coaching options. The organization works by creating a custom strategy based on your needs and teaching the value-added soft and hard skills of nonprofit management to ensure that everyone gets the results that they deserve. Anyone interested can simply contact the organization and they will be matched with the best coach for their needs. 


  1. NonprofitCoach

At NonprofitCoach, you can find leadership coaching for nonprofit organizations that includes soft skills training in leadership and self-awareness, along with confidence and other supportive training. You'll also find support for creating your own goals, marketing and donor strategy, and more. They tell everyone that the process will be difficult, but rewarding, and they will work with you to create a custom strategy for your coaching needs. You will be challenged like never before and they will focus on helping you rewire your business brain to embrace the new way of thinking for nonprofit and fundraising. By leveraging passion and performance, they help you expand your nonprofit in every way imaginable. 


  1. Envision Consulting

Envision Consulting offers nonprofit coaching that focuses on strategy and helping organizations fundraise better by creating a better structure from the start. They have webinars, a podcast, and plenty of insight and information on their website and blog. They also offer one-on-one consulting and coaching solutions, working with you to create a custom solution that fits your needs. They focus on leadership and strategy, but they also understand the need for an unbiased approach to business that will allow the nonprofit to thrive. They offer inspired leadership programs to help organizations and individuals from all backgrounds in their nonprofit efforts. 


  1. Pamela Grow

Pamela Grow is an impressive coach that offers several different services. She's a copywriter, published author, and development professional that created Simple Development Systems to help provide online coaching for the one-person fundraising and marketing department. She is a marketing consultant for nonprofits and also a big follower of politics and she knows her way around grants, authoring the well-known “Five Days to Foundation Grants”. In addition to her online course program, she also offers one-on-one consulting and coaching services, as well as other assistance and coaching solutions. 


  1. Janet Cobb Consulting

Janet Cobb has years of experience in strategic planning and fundraising and has spent her entire life (personal and professional) helping others through non-profit fundraising and education. She offers actionable steps and innovative ideas to create vision from reality and vice versa. She offers communications planning, fundraising roadmaps, succession planning, organizational structure assistance, and more. You'll find resources on her website, including a blog and videos, and you can also enlist her services on a one-on-one basis. 


Give your nonprofit a professional face with the assistance of Smith.ai 


You’re already running on a shoestring budget, no doubt. You hardly have the time or resources to hire a full administrative staff, customer service team, and others to field all of the inquiries that come your way. Fortunately, you don’t have to. When you enlist the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai to handle it for you, we’ll field every message, call, and live chat like it’s our own and make sure that your clients, donors, and others get what they need. 

We know you’re busy and you have a lot of admin tasks on your plate—fortunately, that’s also our specialty. Let us handle everything from calls and chats to payment collection, intake and scheduling, and so much more. Plus, we’ll even collaborate with you to create the ideal strategy to manage it all, no matter what your nonprofit needs. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what our 24/7 virtual receptionists can do for your nonprofit, from after-hours phone answering and donor intake to live chat, Facebook and SMS message answering, and more. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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