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Serving Professional Service Firm: Bridgestar & the Nonprofit Sector

The Challenge

Bridgestar, now part of The Bridgespan Group, a global nonprofit consultancy, was designed to help attract, connect and support leadership for the nonprofit sector. Each month, Bridgestar issued "Leadership Matters," which picked a different theme designed as a conversation about how to build and sustain effective nonprofit organizations; topics included: the comprehensive "Guide to Navigating the Hiring Process," and have focused on topics such as the role of the nonprofit COO, improving nonprofit accountability as well as best practices in compensation and performance evaluations.

"Leadership Matters" was Bridgestar's main marketing initiative, and the organization asked us to raise awareness of its newsletter and the content of information offered and produced by Bridgestar's experts.

Also, while a free service, Bridgestar sought to increase the number of members who could serve as a network of executives who might be looking to jump from the private sector over to nonprofit jobs.

Strategic Execution At Work

As a nonprofit, Bridgestar needed a cost-effective way to expand its reach. We focused on leveraging the content in "Leadership Matters" as well as the growing content library available on its site to its members. The PR efforts directed people to Bridgestar's thought leadership, which in turn directed them to membership.

Each month, we would promote the contents of "Leadership Matters" to HR and nonprofit trade media, which included securing media coverage and placing bylined articles. We also leveraged key findings from its parent organization, The Bridgespan Group, such as a report that the nonprofit sector would face a leadership deficit by 2016, if the sector could not attract enough senior leaders from the business world.

We also supported new hires, key milestones and new offerings.

The Results

Before our program, the idea of a trend in which business executives would jump to join nonprofit leadership team was rarely considered. We were able to raise awareness of Bridgestar and get people talking about the issues related to changing from the private sector to the nonprofit sector.

Our PR and thought leadership efforts helped Bridgestar exceed its membership totals, growing to more than 20,000 members in three years. According to our client, "The PR was enormously helpful in boosting membership...since (as a nonprofit) we spent almost no money on advertising."

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