Brainstorming Sessions

Need quick advice from an outside party who understands how to solve tough business issues? Brainstorming sessions are 1-2 hour meetings focused on solving a specific issue or generating ideas involving 4-8 HBS alumni with targeted skills and interests who can help the nonprofit organization.

The next application cycle will be for Fall 2022 sessions.

All brainstorming sessions are virtual 90-min Zoom meetings.

  • Opportunity to explore a specific business issue or idea with a group of HBS alumni.
  • Helpful for new organizations still formulating their strategies, as well as established nonprofits needing to address a new opportunity or specific challenge.
  • High-energy approach involving participants with relevant skill sets and experience.
  • 4-8 HBS alumni volunteers committed to a two-hour discussion.
  • Allow alumni to put their skills to use with a limited time commitment.
  • Introduction – 15 minutes (bios will be distributed in advance)
  • Brief Overview of the Organization by the Client – 15 minutes
  • Open Discussion/Brainstorming – 60-90 minutes
  • Applications are accepted three times a year: October 1, March 8, June 15.
  • Step 1: Interested clients must submit a Virtual Brainstorming Application for Nonprofits.
  • Step 2: Once we receive the application, a phone call will be scheduled to explore the project’s fit for a brainstorming session.
Client Criteria:
Our clients are social enterprises who generally have 501(c)3 status, and whose mission benefits the community. Our clients typically focus on improving the social, economic, cultural, health, environmental, or educational conditions in communities, often concentrating on populations who are under-served by other institutions. We do not accept clients or projects that seek to advance a religious or partisan agenda. Our tax-exempt status prohibits us from interference in, or coordination with, political campaigns or any endorsement of a political candidate. The acceptance of a client does not imply any direct endorsement or support of HBS Community Partners for that client’s mission.
Brainstorming Applicants must:
  • Be staffed with at least one full-time employee
  • Have an annual operating budget of at least $100,000
Project Criteria:
  •  Have a concise focus question: a single, clearly-defined challenge or new idea or a group of related issues, not requiring additional research in order to comment or add value. Examples include:
    • Ways to increase the organization’s visibility and reach
    • Articulating the value proposition
    • Feedback on an organization’s “pitch”
    • Tactical marketing ideas
Session Criteria:
  • The client will provide a meeting space at a convenient location.
  • The client will provide a simple meal for the participants.
  • The client will provide some brief background materials at least 2 weeks in advance to help prepare the participants to engage in a discussion focused on the brainstorming topic.



Fast. Focused. Impactful.