Better nonprofit leaders making a larger impact

If you’re a growth-minded nonprofit CEO, President, or Executive Director who is looking to take yourself and your nonprofit to the next level through executive coaching, strategic planning or team leadership development then reading this page may be one of the best investments you can make for you and your cause.

“Success isn’t assumed, granted, or even earned. To achieve it – and maintain it – it must be constantly pursued.”

– Joel Kessel, Founder, Nonprofit Executive Club, Principal, Kessel Strategies


Consider these questions for a moment

What if nothing changes within you or your organization a year from now? How will you feel? What will the board think? What impact will it have on staff and volunteers? What impact will it have on your fundraising efforts? Ultimately, what impact will it have on your organization and the people you serve (or are not serving)?

What is the Nonprofit Executive Club?

The Nonprofit Executive Club is about better nonprofit leaders making a larger impact – on themselves, the people they work with, and the people and communities they serve. Being part of the Nonprofit Executive Club means more clarity and confidence, greater influence and impact, more life balance and less stress, and more time to work on yourself and your cause.

How Does the Nonprofit Executive Club Work?

There are three ways you can benefit from and participate in the Nonprofit Executive Club:


Who do you turn to when you need unbiased advice and perspective? It’s lonely at the top, and there are times when a confidential, critical conversation is needed. One that leads to honest perspective for a better – or best – decision and more clarity as a leader. It’s an opportunity for you to share and discuss what you can’t with your board or staff.

Depending on your desire, coaching can be done privately one-on-one, or you can be part of an exclusive, invitation-only group of other leaders responsible for different mission-driven organizations who are experiencing similar challenges, providing a forum for trusted perspective, support, and advice.



Up to 49 percent of nonprofit leaders are operating without a strategic plan, according to The Nonprofit Sector Leadership Report. Are you one of them? And of those who do, oftentimes their strategic plan is nothing more than a strategic “wish” list. Without a written strategy, advancing your mission and vision, meeting your impact goals, and raising needed funds, will continue being a struggle. And without a shared vision and strategy, nonprofits aren’t able to share a compelling vision to unify the board, staff, and donors. This cycle keeps many nonprofit leaders stressed and frustrated.

Leaders and their boards often need critical guidance to chart the strategic vision, mission and values so the critical work of the organization can be clearly defined. This is the essential planning needed to align the work of the organization so it can be properly measured against the agreed upon direction. We facilitate these important sessions to ensure clear, actionable outcomes.



What is not having a strong leadership team costing you – Emotionally? Financially? Culturally? How is it affecting the impact people are relying on you to make? Trust, strong relationships, candid communication, are a few of the characteristics we believe make a strong leadership team. Your staff want you, your leadership team (and board) to drive the organization in the right direction, to make the tough decisions, to admit and learn from past mistakes, and to advance your mission in a way where they know their work is making a difference.

Leadership teams don’t always take the time necessary to develop their leadership skills. Developing together as a team will build the trust, relationships, and communication needed to positively impact the people who are relying on you.




I’m excited you’re interested in the Nonprofit Executive Club.

As a communicator, strategist, and coach, I have spent my entire professional career deeply connected to the nonprofit community. I have worked inside and advocated on behalf of nationally recognized organizations including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ronald McDonald House Charities, AirLifeLine, and the National Runaway Safeline.

I bring unique insights into the inner workings and challenges facing nonprofits because, like you, I have experienced them firsthand. Throughout my career, I have counseled hundreds of leaders, board members, and nonprofit teams on strategic alignment of their mission-critical work – and then guided them through the execution of that work for the good of all involved.

I understand the frustrations, and I also understand the opportunities in front of you – funding, board development and board management, strategy and guidance of your organization, and staff development, to name just a few.

Becoming a better leader who makes a larger impact is what the Nonprofit Executive Club aims to do for every member. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and helping you make a larger impact.

Contact me today so we can begin a meaningful conversation about you and your organization.


Joel Kessel
Founder, Nonprofit Executive Club

Principal, Kessel Strategies


“I’ve worked with a variety of different consultants. Joel Kessel was a standout. He listened. He questioned. He clarified. He challenged me to see problems from different perspectives. He worked with me to develop multiple solutions and then determine the best choice for the current situation.”

Katy Walsh

Director of Grants Management and Development (2019-present) at AllianceChicago; Director of Development and Communications (2004-2018) at National Runaway Safeline

“Ask any board member and there was a sense of apathy setting in within our organization, and we felt we needed to set a path for the future. Joel came in and quickly understood where the organization was and got us to where we needed to go. He has a unique ability to ask needed questions, to listen and understand, and then pull the group back in to get to a conclusion.

As a result, we have a solid plan and direction over the next several years that is clear, concise and with actions and priorities to keep us on track. The board and staff are now very excited and engaged in our mission and direction. And because of our experience and the leadership Joel brought to us through this process, we’re bringing him in on an ongoing basis to further guide our strategic growth and impact in the community. You cannot go wrong with choosing Joel to help your organization.”

Mag Baker
Former CEO, Butler County United Way

“Our board lacked strategic direction and had fallen into a slump as far as doing the same old thing in our board meetings.  We were going through the motions without a plan, which made it difficult to get everyone on the same page and focused on how to reach our goals.

Joel came in and immediately got us talking as a group about our hopes and dreams for a life without violence. His ability to genuinely engage a group, and ask pointed relevant questions, sparked a lot of passion in folks and led to some great conversations about how we would and could reach our goals.

We now have a clear path into the future, I feel less stressed, and I’m already proud of the accomplishments we’re going to make in the future.” 

Kathy Ezawa
Executive Director, The Domestic Violence Shelter, Inc.

I first met Joel and was introduced to Kessel Strategies through the Richland County Foundation Osborne Meese Academy. After spending a career as an executive in corporate America, I found that transitioning to a small nonprofit art center was indeed a challenge. No blueprint to follow, not very many connections, and a small staff.

My biggest concern was that I would fail as the new Marketing and Development Director, which is exactly why I started searching for reliable resources, networking, and figuring out exactly who could point me in the right direction.

Thankfully, I met Joel. He’s the nonprofit business advisor I needed and still work with today. He asks the right questions to help me identify priorities, and what it will take to successfully develop and execute a plan that is focused, timely and identifies the true needs of our organization. He takes the time to know what our organization is capable of, what I am capable of, and is honest about what can and cannot be done unless change happens. Other consultants may come up with a plan that may be doable, but not particularly meaningful and lasting for that specific organization.

It is a WOW to have a clear direction that has translated to so many areas that are positive for the art center – larger community involvement as we focus on our outreach initiatives, a truly diverse board, and how to build trust.

As a result of working with Joel, the amount of unrestricted income has almost doubled from the year before, and my confidence has increased significantly around where we are going as an organization, what we need to do and how we are going to get there.

We are not finished yet. We have made huge progress since working with Joel these past two years. The best thing is, we can now identify what those areas are that we need to improve on – if we stick to the plan.

Susan Gentille
Former Marketing & Development Director, Mansfield Art Center


  • Growth minded – You understand that you don’t have everything figured out and you’re okay with that. You’re always looking for ways to get better.
  • Vulnerable – I believe the more comfortable you are being vulnerable, open and transparent, the more you will grow. According to Professor and Author, Brené Brown, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”
  • Good people – Simply put, no jerks are allowed in the Nonprofit Executive Club. We’re here to help, challenge, lift up, see the unseen, support, guide and encourage everyone to be their very best. We’re truth-tellers who are also looking to make a larger impact.

  • Curious – You’re eager to learn, open to trying different approaches and ideas, and wonder what the “what ifs” would do for you and others.
  • Committed – You show up filled up to every meeting and session ready to improve yourself and those around you.