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2018 Annual Reflection

An Adaptive Strategy Approach

Solving Strategic Challenges | Strengthening Nonprofit Business Models | Building Adaptive Skills & Capacities

Message from Our Team

Strong leaders and nonprofits constantly learn and adapt. Facing an array of changes from dynamic markets to shifting revenue sources, these people and organizations understand that to be relevant and sustainable, they will have to evolve. But who will we listen to and include in decisions that change the way organizations do business? Are we actively seeking input from those we serve or relying on what we think our constituents need? Are we depending on an executive director to have all the answers or are we distributing ownership of the organization beyond the C-suite? Are we only willing to think strategically when our last plan ran out, or do our systems and practices support the ongoing adaptation of our strategy?


We’ve had the pleasure of partnering with many innovative leaders, listening to their concerns, and attempting to design and facilitate customized strategy processes that strengthen the organizations that they represent. Thank you for inviting us in. We look forward to continuing to face and solve challenges with you in 2019.

Best Blogs of 2018

Why Understanding Nonprofit Markets Matters

The environment in which nonprofit organizations operate is constantly in flux. Shifting political landscapes and funder priorities have led to calls for more collaboration…Add to this the changing needs of constituents and…donors, and it is easy to see how nonprofit leadership can feel overwhelmed when thinking about their community.

Nonprofit Revenue Strategy: More Isn’t Always Right

Nonprofit organizations should work hard to secure as many revenue sources as possible….right? The answer is, not necessarily! While this principle has been tossed around for decades, research shows that nonprofits should seek the RIGHT revenue to carry out their missions; and not all sources are right for all nonprofits.

Centering on Leadership for Organizational Sustainability

If we were going to achieve our mission of providing support and visibility to our members, as well as deliver on our intended outcome of building a social and environmental change movement, it was critical to focus more broadly on sustainability.

Market Analysis & Your Business Model

As leadership adjusts the organization’s strategy over time, it must consider how external factors exert influence on the nonprofit’s business model – which encompasses both programs and finances – to enhance sound decision making.

Community Influences:

Understanding Nonprofit Markets

A practical guide for completing nonprofit market analysis

White Paper

Nonprofit organizations are vehicles for community engagement – groups of individuals coming together to make their community a better place. However, when it comes to setting strategy, nonprofit leaders often don’t consider all the aspects of the community that influence their ability to achieve the mission. Nonprofit markets are more complex than for-profit markets because the payers for programs are typically different than the consumers of the programs or services. A strategic imperative of leadership is to be continuously ready to adapt to changes in the market. To do so, leaders must understand not only how their own programs deliver impact and financial viability, but also how the market is influencing their programs ability to do so.

Read the Nonprofit Quarterly Article


A complex network of beneficiaries, funders, competitors, and collaborators surround nonprofits and foster their success or lead to their decline. We invite you to download templates to guide your own analysis of your community. We also offer market analysis training, workshops and consulting engagements if interested.

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What Our Clients Say

We have the pleasure of working with some incredible nonprofits. Hear some of their leaders reflect on their experience partnering with us.

Sheila Bravo

President and Chief Executive Director, Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement

Steve Zimmerman provided an engaging key note presentation to Delaware nonprofits at our annual conference this year. What made it so impactful was his willingness to work with me and our other speakers to ensure alignment with the other topics being presented. Our conference attendees commented on the cohesion of the messaging across the different breakout sessions and the key note. Steve’s afternoon workshop on the sustainability matrix was sold out. DANA has continued to reference the Sustainability Matrix as a means for Delaware nonprofits to explore program mission impact and profitability.

Brenda Coley

Co-Executive Director, Milwaukee Water Commons

Milwaukee Water Commons executive staff have worked with Steve Zimmerman at Spectrum for well over a year now. He has assisted us through our organizational, staff, and executive transitions. Steve has asked us the right questions at the right time, and often they are thought provoking questions that lead us to make very solid decisions. He has helped us to better focus and prioritize our work to be in alignment with our mission. With his help we have been better able to look at issues in different ways and find more meaningful and impactful solutions.

Emily Benham

CEO, Nonprofit Leadership Center (Tampa, FL)

We worked with Steve Zimmerman and his Spectrum team to present a six month cohort based training to develop the Matrix Map tool. We were also lucky enough to participate in the cohort. The Matrix Map and suite of tools developed in the process brings unparalleled clarity to our work and our ability to communicate our strategic direction to diverse audiences, including board members, funders and customers. Steve himself has a deep background in and heart for nonprofit work. We experienced many "light bulb moments" working with him. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the years ahead.

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