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Finding help for a nonprofit organization (in the U.S.)

There are lots of sources of help with the wide variety of challenges nonprofit organizations encounter in their work. This sort of help is sometimes called "capacity building" or "management support" and using those terms as you look for the help you need may open a wider range of choices to select from.

On Idealist
Use the search box at the top of this screen. Try "nonprofit support" or "management support" and the name of a place, or "board training" or "volunteer recruitment" or whatever words describe the help you are looking to find. Then choose "organizations" from the drop-down list in the gray bar and click on "search". Once your search results open, you can refine the result by choosing options under the word "browse" at the left-hand side of the screen.
State Associations
The National Council of Nonprofits is an umbrella group for associations of nonprofit organizations in many U.S. states. Many statewide associations offer helpful resources—consultation, workshops, conferences, and libraries of materials, etc.—to members and for fees. Use the map at to find the state association that might best offer help in your location.
There are many consultants who specialize in working with nonprofits. Using a search engine (such as Google or Bing) to search for the needed service "near" your location is likely to give you several suggestions. Consultants who specialize in working with nonprofits may belong to the Alliance for Nonprofit Management; there is a search tool at that helps find members in a long list of specialties.
Pro Bono Professional Services
Many nonprofits have started to think in terms of "resource raising," which includes using skilled volunteers to fill resource or knowledge gaps. Because finding and managing skilled volunteers can be difficult, several intermediary organizations are available to assist. NPower, Points of Light, and the Taproot Foundation help nonprofits to design projects and find the right volunteers. Volunteers bring their professional expertise and often engage further as donors, advocates, or board members.
Nonprofits can get pro bono help with various capacity-building needs, including marketing, website development, IT, board recruitment, and strategic planning. Some resources offered by professionals are of frequent use to nonprofits. Lawyers and Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are often called upon to advise and assist nonprofits with legal and financial issues. The technical requirements that apply to nonprofits are often quite different from those that apply to other sorts of organizations, and an advisor who makes a specialty of working with nonprofits may be needed. In many states and cities, the associations of lawyers and of CPAs will assist with making a referral to a member who has the necessary experience. Nonprofits that work with low-income people or in disadvantaged communities may be eligible for free or reduced-fee services. More on legal pro bono services can be found on the American Bar Association website.
Other resources
United Ways, Volunteer Bureaus, university departments, community foundations, and many other organizations help nonprofits. A local way to find resources of this sort is to check in with people who work or volunteer with other local nonprofits and ask for pointers about accessing the services available in your area. You can also use the Idealist search option described above to look for local branches and affiliates of these services; add a place name to the search box to narrow the search right from the start.