Non-Profit Organization Development Consulting

The Oregon Organizational Development Network (OODN), is an organization of professionals interested in Organization Development (OD), a planned systemic process which applies behavioral science principles and practices to help ongoing organizations increase individual and organizational effectiveness. 

The Community Consulting Project (CCP) is an outreach program sponsored by OODN to provide pro bono consulting services to non-profits in the Portland, Oregon area. Twice a year, teams of two to four volunteer consultants are formed, led by a Senior Consultant, to undertake four – month projects to help non-profits grow and improve.

These projects (over 100 completed to date) were uniformly praised by the client non-profits, and the projects became sought after in the consultant community as an exceptional learning experience.

Dr. Robertson served on the CCP Core Team, bringing into the program over 40 consultants though his intake and orientation activities. As Senior Consultant he also led several CCP projects. Here are some project summaries and comments from clients and consultant teammates:

Since 2000, Pendulum Aerial Arts has developed character and community through performance and training that mixes dance, acrobatics, theater, and storytelling with contemporary circus arts. The growing organization needed to develop a more active board, able to take over responsibilities that had traditionally been assumed by the executive director/founder and her staff.

The Community Consulting Project (CCP) consultants listened to the perspectives of the board members and executive staff, and worked with them to develop a new way to assign roles and responsibilities, better suited to their growing activity. The CCP consultants facilitated a retreat, during which the board and executive staff were able to practice these new roles and gain experience working as a team.

I was incredibly impressed at how the team was quickly able to isolate the issues we were having and create a plan with concrete steps to address these issues. We have emerged from this project with an invigorated and empowered board!

Managing Director, Pendulum Aerial Arta

SCRAP collects and recycles a wide range of articles to provide educational programs and affordable materials to the community. As the organization had grown to include locations in multiple cities, the formerly tight-knit collaborative team suffered from a gulf of misunderstanding and mistrust between the senior managers and the rest of the team.

Through in-depth interviews and a survey, the Community Consulting Project consultants surfaced key areas where communication had broken down, and coached the team on ways to improve the situation through new approaches to leadership and communication. The consultants also facilitated a retreat that reinforced the group’s shared passion for SCRAP’s mission.

Your analyses and interventions helped steer us to a much improved management paradigm. … It set us on a new course that will benefit the entire organization infrastructure.

Executive Director, SCRAP USA

They made the staff feel heard … able to bring issues to light … and leave staff and management in a position to actually work through them. Thank you so much!

SCRAP Staff Member

I had the opportunity to work on a team with Tom through the Community Consulting Project. His leadership style is a unique blend of clear vision and flexibility. Tom creates a team environment of open feedback, total engagement, and unwavering focus on the client’s needs. Tom is a leader people follow because they want to, not because they have to. A rare gift in today’s business world.

Founder, TurningPoint Strategy

Tom and I worked together as part of the Community Consulting Project (CCP), a pro bono consulting initiative whereby we assisted a local nonprofit organization in developing a three year strategic plan. Tom was our team lead for the project, and fulfilled his role par excellence. His analytical prowess and ability to engage the client set a tremendous standard for our team, and his skills in organizational development were principally responsible for our team’s ability to collaborate successfully with the nonprofit client. Tom is inordinately detail-oriented and intelligent, and he has the capacity to distill disparate elements into a cohesive, logical structure. He is also a talented facilitator, endowed with an intuitive sense of when to step back and when to lean in to help guide a group towards its goals. Working with Tom has been an invaluable experience of growth and development, and I will seek to cultivate qualities he exhibits in future professional endeavors.

Senior Analyst, Innovative Genomics Institute, UC Berkely
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