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NCN Consulting Services Menu

The Nonprofit Centers Network has been providing consulting services for quality nonprofit workspace since 2002. Whether you are interested in creating a multi-tenant nonprofit center, community-serving meeting and event space, or other mixed-use social purpose real estate project, we offer a variety of services, from visioning to execution. NCN is also here to support existing social purpose real estate operators in their efforts to improve services and create efficiencies, in order to achieve greater community impact.

Our consulting services are outlined in the below menu. Please use our consulting intake form to let us know how we can be of service. We will respond to your form within 5 business days. If you have any questions, please reach out to David Schrayer, NCN’s Executive Director at dschrayer@nonprofitcenters.orgYou can also see how we have supported nonprofits and their communities across the country on our client page.

Mankato shared space

Creating Spaces

Creating a Vision and Building Buy-In
(Meeting Facilitation & Consensus Building)

What is your vision for a shared space program? How might you build momentum for your project among existing or potential stakeholders? NCN will design and facilitate a Town Hall and Advisory Committee session for key stakeholders, including representatives from anchor tenants, steering committee members, public officials and/or community members at large. This session will educate participants about shared space, provide clarity around the purpose for the space/program, as well as develop strategic goals. Results from this meeting will help to guide the project, create consistent messaging about the project’s purpose, and establish buy-in and consensus about the project’s intention and objectives. Findings from the meeting will be documented in a brief memorandum which will include recommended next steps. The client is responsible for the invitations to attendees and the logistics of the meeting (venue, supplies, refreshments, etc.).

Understanding Demand and Determining Cost
(Data Collection & Analysis)

Using the established vision for the shared space program, NCN will adapt and execute its proprietary needs assessment with potential or existing partners to assess interest, need, and ability to financially participate. NCN will follow up with a select number (to be determined with the client) of survey participants or other key stakeholders for interviews. Once the data are collected, NCN will analyze the results to quantify demand, name key challenges or barriers to participation, and provide the client with potential lease rates for the project. NCN will share results through a memorandum and a call with an Advisory Committee or key stakeholders. The client is responsible for providing contact information for survey respondents and assisting with survey distribution.

Understanding Expenses/Revenue (Financial Modeling & Analysis)

Successful shared spaces need to cover their expenses through rent/program fees or understand how philanthropy might be leveraged temporarily or permanently to create sustainability.  NCN will develop a revenue model that your team can use to inform space and program design, tenant/participant selection, staffing, and more. NCN will share the model via a 60-minute presentation with key stakeholders and a pro forma tool that can be internally customized as your project develops.

Building Governance and Decision-Making Structures (Meeting Facilitation & Consensus Building)

Who is assuming liability for the project? Should a new entity be created? How will decisions be made about tenants/participants, programming/culture, and pricing? NCN will design and facilitate a 60-minute session (delivered either remotely or in-person) to review options for governance through a lens of equity, collaboration, risk management, and financial obligation. This will include a discussion of the different options for ownership. A summary of governance options will be documented in a memorandum OR included in the final report of a full feasibility study, and/or presented to key stake holders.

Any building project is a large undertaking. Beyond construction (hard) costs there are many associated (soft) costs to consider. NCN will provide templates and help you draft a development budget for your project to understand the full costs. NCN will help you determine what financial resources might be available to support your project. The operating budget will determine how feasible the project is and what level of debt the project can support. Having these tools at your disposal will be critical to conversations with funders and lenders.

Assembling the team to carry out your vision is of critical importance to your project. NCN will assist you in vetting potential planners, architects, engineers, project managers, developers, contractors, lenders and others who will help you deliver a mission-aligned project. NCN will help you understand your organizational strengths and weaknesses and how to improve your capacity to manage a building project successfully.

NCN will offer guidance on leasing vs. licensing decisions with access to examples used by other nonprofit centers across North America. This information can be used by center leadership and local counsel to develop documents specific to the center.
Please note: the opinions of The Nonprofit Centers Network do not constitute legal advice, so an attorney with experience in local real estate law and practice will need to be consulted for the drafting of leases and license agreements.

NCN will review plans (blueprints) for alignment with the client’s vision, strategic and operating goals, and uses of the space. NCN will work with the client and client’s architect to review plans especially at the schematic and design development stages. Shared space is not typical for what architects are most used to. We will help you think through issues that will ensure flexibility for the future and ease of use for the different types of building occupants.

What are the expectations you have of your tenants and their guests? Are there any spaces within your building that will be open to the public and how should those spaces be programmed/managed? How will your tenants communicate with you, and with one another? How will tenants and/or outside community members reserve conference/meeting space for their own use? How do you use technology to stretch your onsite staff? NCN will provide recommendations for policies and systems to manage and operate shared resources and spaces.

The consulting team expects the needs of the client to change over the course of the consulting engagement. As such, the consulting team is prepared to provide support in other targeted areas if needed. Sample services could include:

  • Strategies to increase tenant and/or community engagement
  • Tenant selection policy
  • Strategies for marketing the space to potential tenants and other users
  • Development of conference and event space rental program policies and procedures, including revenue model, pricing and usage, software and hardware guidance
  • Review of fundraising and/or capital campaign materials
  • Executive coaching for project manager to support start-up after assessment is completed
  • Vendor RFP development and process management
  • Building Policy Manual development
  • Network mapping
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