CompassPoint Highlights

Rethinking and Expanding Concepts of Leadership

How can we dismantle and deconstruct traditional notions and oppressive structures of leadership to find new ways to organize ourselves and work from a place of equity and purpose? Below are some of the recent ways we’re deepening our own practice and programs to answer this call.


Opening Up Leadership Inside CompassPoint

Our late 2015 adoption of Holacracy as a management system is a response to CompassPoint’s struggles and efforts to more fully live out our values of racial equity and shared leadership within our organization. In Holacracy, organizational authority and decision-making are carried out through self-organizing teams – a major shift away from traditional management. For us, it’s an opportunity to try a new way of lifting up other voices of leadership within our system – and to share what we’re learning along the way. One year in, what has it meant to our organization?

We see how Holacracy can contribute to decentralizing power, giving staff on different levels more access to make decisions from the roles they hold in a way that is fully transparent. And with its bias toward action, iteration, and evaluation, it’s giving staff more options to take timely action and introduce change.

Learn more about our Holacracy experience.

Cohort Leadership Programs

Developing Powerful and Resilient Leaders

Our cohort leadership programs continue to provide exceptional and transformative learning experiences for leaders seeking to grow their impact and contributions to social justice. This past year has seen the sun setting on one key program and partnership on a new initiative in Louisiana.

Strong Field Project Leadership Development Program

The fourth (and final) cohort of the Strong Field Project came to a close in June 2016. Over the past 6 years, 79 leaders and 60 organizations working to end domestic violence have participated in Strong Field. CompassPoint led the leadership development component of the program, which empowered participants in their roles and in the DV movement. The result? A stronger, more connected network of providers who are ready to lead the way in the movement to end domestic violence. We’ve been honored to partner with the Blue Shield of California Foundation on this initiative and to learn together with so many smart, dedicated, and creative changemakers.

HIVE Project Reproductive Health Leadership Development Program

From late 2016 through 2017, CompassPoint’s HIVE Project will support the leadership development of emerging leaders in Louisiana who work in reproductive health, rights, and justice. Funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, this 18-month-long initiative will strengthen relationships among providers across the state, deepen their skills and expertise, and offer a nourishing and expansive environment that heals, inspires, builds voice, and promotes equity.

Influencing the Sector

Expanding Concepts of Leadership

Rethinking Executive Transitions

Over the last five years, our deepening work in shared leadership and our commitment to a racial justice agenda has brought to the fore for us a dissonance between these evolving approaches to leadership and the more traditional practice of executive transition and search. Thanks to the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we’re pausing to reflect, learn with other practitioners, and rethink our work and future role in executive transitions. These questions are guiding our exploration:

How has executive transitions evolved?
How has it struggled with and adapted to a shifting leadership environment?
How has it considered other leadership constructs, like shared leadership?

What have these conversations garnered? Stay tuned for essays and blogs on our emerging thinking in early 2017.

Fundraising Bright Spots Report and Program Launch

Our 2016 Fundraising Bright Spots Report delves into the experiences of 16 social change organizations that have established successful individual fundraising efforts to answer the question of how an organizational “culture of philanthropy” can help break the chronic fundraising challenges facing small- to mid-sized nonprofits. Written in partnership with Klein & Roth Consulting and spurred by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund’s Resetting Development Work Group, Bright Spots is a call to action to shift long-siloed development departments toward new thinking that makes fundraising the responsibility of staff on multiple levels and departments.

Inspired by the report, CompassPoint has adapted the lessons and learnings of Bright Spots and integrated them with our successful leadership development model to launch the Fundraising Bright Spots Program.

Through this eight-month-long intensive, participants are getting support and grounding to reset their organizational fundraising expectations through a shared leadership approach to raising money, building relationships, and engaging communities to move their missions forward.