ESC Consulting

Nonprofit Consulting through ESC

The Executive Service Corps uses the skills of experienced, knowledgeable, and dedicated volunteer professionals to help nonprofits design targeted solutions to their challenges and opportunities. All of our volunteers are committed to nonprofit success and value the challenging, indispensable work of the sector. Whether currently working or retired, all volunteers are experienced and are trained to work alongside nonprofits of any size.

Case Studies

Take an inside look at a few of organizations' challenges and how we helped them overcome them.  Although these case studies are based on our real ESC consulting engagements, we have changed names and identifying details to preserve our clients' confidential information.

HR Improvement for a Faith-based Organization

The client needed a rational and up-to-date salary scale without triggering fear and resistance.  The Bayer Center delivered on both objectives!

The Client

This faith-based organization, providing largely residential-based services with a staff of approximately 100, found itself facing a problem that had been building up gradually over time.  Staff throughout the system had been hired at different pay rates and then had been given different percentages in their annual raises – meaning there was very little remaining connection between job descriptions and salaries.  Senior staff realized that this had the potential to create increasing problems not merely with morale, but also equity.  However, compensation adjustment is a sensitive matter.  Leadership realized it would be useful to have external compensation data and third party support to create logic for resolving the problem and implementing changes, and they approached the Bayer Center for help.

Our Work

The Bayer Center’s Executive Service Corps (ESC) program connects nonprofits to professionals with deep experience in human resources management.  The ESC consultant for this project not only researched and provided a report of salary ranges for comparable jobs in comparable institutions (with help from the Bayer Center’s annual Wage and Benefits Survey), he also created a plan and a timeline for phasing in the necessary changes. 

The Result

The organization’s project lead was nervous about the compensation study’s potential for generating conflict.  She reported, however, that the ESC consultant’s thoughtful listening immediately put everyone at ease, and there was very little resistance to the recommendations that ultimately emerged.  Delighted with the result, the same client immediately asked for a new contract with the same ESC consultant to overhaul their performance evaluation system, which was followed by work on board governance. She recently called the Bayer Center again indicating she was “trying to figure out some way to get that ESC consultant back!

501c3 Launch for a Youth-Serving Organization

The founders needed a long term way to sustain their mission.  The Bayer Center helped them turn their program into an organization. 

The Client

Two men, motivated by the large number of youth at risk in their neighborhood, began a program where adolescents could find options for healthy activity as well as a critical sense of home and belonging.  Twenty years later they believed even more in the importance of this work – continuing to carve out approximately 30 hours every week from other commitments to keep it going - but knew something had to change before they burned out.  Previously-attempted partnerships had left them without funding or credit for their successes, and they had decided they wanted to become an independent organization.  

The founders had taken some initial steps, including successfully applying for 501c3 status.  However, the intricacies of complying with rules and regulations, creating computer systems for managing money and data, and creating compelling communications felt overwhelming.  They approached the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE) which provides grants for capacity building for organizations with African-American leadership, and successfully applied for funding to support consulting through this transition.  PACE matched the group with the Bayer Center. 

Our Work

As well as salaried staff, the Bayer Center’s Executive Service Corps (ESC) program gives nonprofits access to professionals with particular talents.  The Bayer Center mobilized an ESC-based team for this project with a complementary set of skills – one consultant who had deep knowledge of planning, support services and the African-American community and another with business planning and financial management systems expertise.  

The client needed more than a plan – they needed people who would be part of the team through the implementation phase, wrestling collaboratively with questions that emerged every step of the way.  Over the next 9 months, the team worked through everything from budgeting to outcome tracking to donor messaging.   Later, another ESC consultant provided technical assistance in QuickBooks and creating a chart of accounts.

The Result

The founders had created a program that was making a significant impact in children’s lives.  What they needed was confidence and language that could communicate that value to others – a case for support with the kind of structure and rigor that funders use for decision-making.  They also needed fundamental systems for their new independent organization.  By the end of the consulting engagement, they were able to communicate and prove the full value of what they were doing for the youth, including not only the well-known central program but the mentoring and life skills that accompanied it.

While their initial application for program funding was disappointing, they proved in the next two years that they were indeed able to manage money carefully and deliver results, and were subsequently rewarded with a much larger grant from another funder.  The organization successfully completed its ramp up to supporting a staff of three, and continues to meet a critical community need.

Project Engagement Fees

Fees are based on the scope of the project and are designed to be affordable to smaller organizations with contracts ranging from one-time engagements to six-month processes. Interested in learning more? Contact Carrie Richards at

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