The staff and executives of nonprofits are often wearing multiple hats and working at full capacity. Opportunities can be missed simply because there is no one to do the work. From finance to change management, complexity reduction, contingency planning, HR, operations, publicity and development projects, Amp Up can provide temporary bandwidth and/or project management that deliver results.
The world is filled with consultants to help boards and management with strategic planning. What sets Amp Up apart? An absolute laser focus on discovering core purpose, establishing priorities and developing compelling objectives in keeping with our philosophy. Additionally, Amp Up will develop implementation strategies and help with execution as needed.
Due to funding shifts, inertia, a leadership change or a host of other reasons, a nonprofit organization sometimes requires a comprehensive assessment of all aspects of their business. Amp Up has experience in total organizational assessment, change management, program/mission alignment and financial stabilization.
Words we intensely dislike? "That's the way we've always done it." Today, there is a fierce urgency to do more with less (and in doing so, position the organization for more). Starting with a blank slate, we work with you to redesign business processes to greatly improve productivity, quality and value delivery - a key ingredient of future success.
A tremendous number of social impact organizations lack the data needed to drive value-add decision making, fund raise and tell a compelling story. The acquisition, use and reporting of data is absolutely critical to future success in the nonprofit sector. Amp Up will help identify data points, processes, CRM systems and other infrastructure needed to compete at the highest levels.
Market forces that drive efficiency and maximize return-on-investment through mergers and acquisitions have largely failed in the nonprofit sector. The increased pressure for outcomes will compel M&A and strategic partnerships activity. Amp Up has experience with identification, negotiation, due diligence and post merger integration.
Funding organizations want assurances that their donations are used wisely and recipient organization efficiency is a critical measure. Grants can be blunt instruments. Amp Up will magnify a foundation's due diligence process with site visits, financial, quality and business process assessments, customer journey analysis, technological sophistication and other desired attributes.
Post-grant reporting by nonprofit organizations is the primary tool to evaluate the level of impact created by grant funding. However, much like a financial audit, a third-party grant audit provides an independent voice in the evaluation process. Verified and captured data provides ongoing information for a foundation's future giving models.
Increasingly, high net worth individuals are seeking to make a positive impact on society beyond generous donations to nonprofits. Seeking the highest social return on investments for a specific cause is challenging. Working with financial and tax advisors, Amp Up identifies the philanthropic passions of its clients and delivers a portfolio of funding opportunities. Much like a market analyst, Amp Up follows investments and delivers ongoing impact reports, making new recommendations as needed. This service turns the donor from a passive funding source into an active social change agent.
Amp Up provides research services for foundations, governmental organizations and philanthropists on a project basis.
Specific services include but are not limited to program evaluation, needs assessments, surveys, focus groups, interviews and general data gathering.
The Amp Up philosophy rests upon a set of unfortunate and accelerating macroeconomic factors. First and most obvious is that fewer Americans are donating to nonprofits. Nonprofit companies are ever more reliant on the wealthy for funding, however, wealth is increasingly concentrated in a smaller number of individuals and families. With over 1 million public charities in the United States seeking support for their efforts, there are an enormous number of hands reaching out for a decreasing number of dollars and donors.
Second, the Federal Government is over $20 trillion in debt, an amount that exceeds the entire gross domestic product of the United States. This number, already projected to grow, will rise even faster because of the 2017 tax reform bill. Goldman Sachs has, based on comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, publicly warned that US debt is on track to hit unsustainable levels in the coming years. The consequences of these ever-increasing debt levels include higher interest payments within annual federal budgets, greatly reducing available funds for social sector support and thus spending cuts. It is also reasonable to assume that taxes will be higher in the future, particularly if there is not a national consensus on reductions of entitlement spending.
Third, the 2017 tax reform legislation will raise the price of charitable giving and place downward pressure on individual, estate and corporate cash donations. One estimate projects a $21 billion drop in charitable donations.
These factors indicate a future where there is a significant and sustained funding deterioration for nonprofit organizations. Simultaneously, the need for services provided by nonprofit organizations will never be higher as governments, including state and local, reduce programs as a part of austerity measures. Amp Up believes that it is an absolute imperative that nonprofits improve their businesses and position themselves to be the most effective at providing social return on investment in order to compete for available dollars.
On the funding side, there will be increased pressure to find high-quality investment targets that can deliver the highest and best use of a philanthropic dollar. Because funders want assurance that their donations are used wisely, efficiency is a critical measure. Extensive academic research has described a basic situation where funders are unable to effectively distinguish between efficient and inefficient organizations and that report-based funding methods, in fact, do not facilitate efficient allocation of funds.
Amp Up will seek to work with foundations and philanthropists to research, appraise and strategize on the best ways to leverage the social impact they seek to create and to evaluate and audit operational and program efficiency (transparency) to inform further investment.
Lastly, Amp Up believes that “rational” market forces that drive efficiency and maximize return-on-investment through mergers and acquisitions have largely failed in the nonprofit sector. Mergers hold far more potential to create value in the nonprofit sector than most people realize. The same financial and market forces that provide the clarion call for nonprofit operational efficiency will force the sector to reevaluate merger activity as a method of increasing social return on investment. By working with both nonprofit organizations and funders, Amp Up will be well positioned to help identify, facilitate and execute nonprofit merger and formal partnership activity.
In summary, Amp Up seeks to help nonprofits become the preferred destination for charitable giving and social impact investment. Additionally, the firm will assist funders to target and leverage their investments for the highest social return possible. Through these activities, Amp Up will positively impact the nonprofit sector and in doing so, create positive change for society.
 Natalie Privett, Feryal Erhun; Efficient Funding: Auditing in the Nonprofit Sector; M&SOM Vol. 13, No. 4, Fall 2011, pp. 471-488
Nonprofit consulting St. Louis