Richard Brewster has held leading positions in nonprofits for more than 20 years, including eight years as chief executive of one of the UK's largest charities, and five years as executive director of one of the US's leading nonprofit support agencies. He also spent four years talking with and studying a cohort of people in executive positions in around 80 nonprofit organizations:  how, as leaders, they spend their time, how they think, how they make decisions and how they integrate their work and the rest of their lives (see more here.) Richard combines this deep experience and unique insight into the dilemmas of those with leadership responsibilities in nonprofits with a strong reputation as an accomplished consultant, coach and trainer. You can learn more about his career to date here. 

Richard works with nonprofit executive directors and other staff leadership and board chairs and other officers to help them answer these questions: 

  • Strategy: what change does their nonprofit want to bring about and why; what programs and program-related activities can best effect that change; and what business models and sources of revenue can best support and sustain these activities and the nonprofit as a whole? 
  • Organization: what staff with what skills are needed to achieve the nonprofit's goals; how should the staff be structured and organized; what systems and processes are needed to make their work efficient; and what culture and behaviors are most important?
  • Governance: what are the most important roles of the board in their nonprofit in its current situation; how will it relate to the nonprofit's community; what kinds of people does it need as members; how can the board best organize its work; and what policies, procedures and routines will help it do its work effectively?
  • Leadership: how can the Executive Director (ED) best motivate, develop and support members of staff; how can she enable the board to function well; how can he mobilize support? How can the chair and other board officers motivate, develop and support their colleagues? And how can the ED, board chair and other officers work effectively together?

Richard designs his assistance to suit the unique needs of each client, after working closely with the nonprofit's leadership to understand exactly what it needs help with and what the underlying issues are, and sometimes conducting a formal organizational assessment. He then applies whatever processes, tools and techniques are most likely to help get the right result and with which the leaders are comfortable. These include: strategic and business planning, program design, business modeling, staff and board structure design, team building, coaching and facilitation of decision-making. For more on specific services, please see here.

Richard undertakes his work in a wide range of situations: strategic plans coming to an end and the need for a review or a whole new plan; the departure and arrival of a new ED, which creates an opportunity to review how a board wants to work with its ED as well as its strategic direction; a nonprofit winning a grant to build its capacity; challenges in staff efficiency and/or behavior and board functioning; failing financial health; and a need to review and improve how the nonprofit gets its money. Richard generally works with nonprofits with organizations with annual budgets that range from $500,000 to $20 million, though recent clients have included national agencies with budgets considerably larger than this.