Momentum Nonprofit Partners Unveils Major Brand Overhaul

By Don Wade

With a theme of “Everything Changes,” Momentum Nonprofit Partners unveiled numerous changes at a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 7, at Minglewood Hall. The first, most obvious change: the name itself.

Momentum Nonprofit Partners was formerly known as the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence.

Kevin Dean

“We felt like a complete overhaul of the brand was important, almost like sun-setting ‘alliance,’ with this new start-up ‘momentum,’” CEO Kevin Dean told The Daily News. “They’re going to be two very different things.”

Among the other changes: full-time staff has grown from three to 10 employees; Momentum will move from its current location on Lynnfield Road in East Memphis just beyond the I-240 loop, to office space at 630 S. Cooper St., in Midtown; the programing model will be revamped and membership structure altered; and the board will be expanded.

Since Dean joined the organization in February of this year, he and his team have worked to collect data and used focus groups and surveys to help reveal the education and support needs of the nonprofit community in Memphis. The decisions made, Dean says, are a reflection of industry best practices and fit within the recalculated mission: build the momentum of the nonprofit sector to drive equitable, measurable and lasting change.

“The data revealed that the nonprofit community needed additional support that the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence was not offering,” said Carrie Burke, president of Momentum’s board. “So, we got to work. We collaborated, sought wise counsel and built a business plan that we’re incredibly proud to roll out.”

Previously, the alliance required paid-for memberships that averaged around $200 a year, Dean said.

“A lot of small start-up nonprofits are paying for stuff out of their pocket,” Dean said, adding that their research also showed many nonprofits felt disconnected from the larger Memphis nonprofit community. Plus, Dean said they also discovered that the administrative cost of maintaining a paid membership structure was greater than the amount brought in by the memberships.

Changing locations, he said, was an easy decision after building a map that showed they were not close to most of the 5,000 nonprofits they serve.

“If we’re gonna be this hub of big ideas,” Dean said, “we need to be in the middle of things.”

In lieu of membership, Momentum will instead require that organizations have an account on, the comprehensive nonprofit directory that is part of the community information system. Organizations that have not yet acquired their 501(c)3 status will also have the opportunity to join and receive access to Momentum’s full range of services.

To be more efficient, he says they will pay consultants a flat fee and place nonprofits into a cohort for training. Also, they have established partnerships that will allow for such things as business plans and handbooks to be available for little or no cost.

“Our adjusted business model uses data as currency,” he said.

Changes to Momentum’s programing include a three-category model: essential services for organizations, learning for individuals, and learning and action for organizations. Regardless of the category, participants will be encouraged to think and work collaboratively within a group; develop as a professional; create meaningful products to support their organization; and to discuss and work to combat the issues affecting the community.

“At the end of the day, we’re an organization that should grow and support nonprofits, and we believe our new model will allow our organization to live up to its full potential,” Burke said. “When we built this programing model, we put our members front and center. We know their time is limited, that they need tangible results and ways to track successes.”

A critical part of sustaining success, Dean says, is the attraction and retention of talent.

“A lot of times people think because it’s nonprofit they don’t need to spend money on development, and that’s the worst idea ever,” Dean said.

So, count that as an idea that is changing. Along with everything else.