Nonprofit professionals launch hands-on consultancy > Charleston Business Journal

Calloway Stern Group was co-founded by Katy Calloway and Daniel Stern.  (Photo/Provided)For many non-profit organizations, emerging from the pandemic means recovering from a time when their situation looked dire by reassessing resources and considering the next steps.

Calloway Stern Group has launched a consulting company to assist in this process. The nonprofit project management firm based in Charleston serves small- to medium-sized nonprofits in expanding capacity through a hands-on approach.

While consultants typically play an advisory role, Calloway Stern Group hopes to act as sort of a temporary staff member. Rather than having to hire new employees, which could incur higher expenses when salaries and benefits are factored in, the group functions as an alternative.

Duties that would have been taken on by a new hire can now be delegated to the group — work is still being delivered without the long-term commitment of a budget line-item.

“The consultant model is that you have a seasoned professional come in and tell you what you need to be doing,” said Katy Calloway, co-founder of the group. “Oftentimes, that’s great advice, but smaller organizations just lack the manpower or the hours of the day to do those things.”

With Calloway Stern Group, the team will help clients break things down into manageable increments and then produce and execute the plan for them with a deliverable, Calloway said.

During the process of working with a client, needs will be assessed on a per project basis in a way that will be fiscally responsible for the nonprofit, said co-founder Daniel Stern.

“We’re looking to complete projects for them so that they can focus on their strengths or whatever it is they want to spend time on,” Stern said. “I could get the best advice in the world from consultants, but it wouldn’t increase the hours in my day or my ability to do more. It’s terrific advice, but I couldn’t make it actionable.”

Even though it’s only been a week since the group was launched, the team has projects with two clients in the works.

As they progress, they said they anticipate tight budgets, reduced staff and a need to recover lost revenue as a result of the pandemic.

According to a fall 2020 report (.pdf) from College of Charleston and Together SC, about 76% of nonprofits at the time indicated a slight or significant decrease in funding. One in five organizations also indicated that they had furloughed staff.

“Their budgets were slashed, and they don’t have the people to actually run the programs to raise the money, so we thought this was a great opportunity to offer that temporary solution where it’s almost like outsourcing your development tasks without having to put us out on payroll and provide overhead and benefits,” Calloway said.

According to the team, nonprofits can bounce back by analyzing fundraising methods and diversifying revenue sources. Even though the pandemic canceled large events, many of which were substantial moneymakers for nonprofits, the focus should now be on smaller recurring donations and cultivating those income streams.

As Calloway Stern Group gains reputation, they hope to expand throughout the country, eventually having a network of professionals who can complete jobs for other non-profits, fueling the industry and providing auxiliary income for those in the business.

“These are essentially small businesses. We consider them the lifeblood, the grassroots,” Calloway said. “These people need support because they’re running very tight ships and doing very impactful work.”

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