Strategy, development & support for coalitions, associations, organizations and initiatives

Our Approach

WNA was formed by Sam Woollard and Kelly Nichols in 2013 as a consulting firm focused on supporting cross-sector collaboration and building the capacity of the social sector. We work with coalitions and other collaborative initiatives as well as with individual organizations in the social sector.

Core Values

  • Integrity – We are honored to be entrusted with our clients’ work, and we take that trust very seriously and do what we say we are going to do.
  • Fiscal Responsibility – We understand that non-profit executives and government administrators have a responsibility to be good financial stewards, and we reflect this value in our pricing and our products.
  • Diversity – Commitment to hiring persons who represent a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, and who have lived experience in issues related to our work.
  • Philanthropy – Commitment to dedicating 10 percent of all profits to community causes. Our philanthropic focus is on supporting organizations and collaborations that develop and sustain capacity for the social sector in Austin and Pittsburgh.
  • Leadership – Commitment to building the capacity of the social sector through strengths-based leadership development.

Guiding Principles

Team-Based and Multi-Sector: We don’t have all the answers, but we know the right questions to ask to help coalitions and groups determine the right answers for their own communities, and then we help them develop a plan of action to get there. We listen to the folks in leadership and on the front lines before forming opinions or making conclusions about the issue at hand. We engage people with different skill sets, including different associates and staff, to meet the unique needs of each client. We have deep knowledge of the local social sector ecosystems and can help organizations “connect the dots” with other efforts going on in the community.

Sound and Ethical Research Methods: Whether it is conducting listening sessions, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, or surveys, we utilize general principles of qualitative research informed from our backgrounds in social work and public policy, including informed consent, confidentiality and/or anonymity, and methods to reduce bias. Above all, our approach to engaging in qualitative research is based on a fundamental respect for research participants and their autonomy. We supplement qualitative data with quantitative analysis that includes demographic profiles, best practice analysis, and community scans.

Oriented Around Community Assets: We aim to identify the natural assets of the communities with which we work through a strengths-based approach to assist them in building upon those strengths to achieve their goals. We focus on what is going well while recognizing that there are often structural or other challenges that need to be addressed. This often leads us to advocate for processes that engage not just professional experts, but also those who have lived experience in the issues that we are helping to tackle, such as reentry from incarceration and recovery from substance abuse.

Focused on Social Impact: One of the core values of our firm is results for the clients we take on, and we take that responsibility seriously. Our intent is always to produce products that are actionable and realistic. We often continue to provide implementation support after a product is completed so that leaders are able to focus on their objectives while we can help keep everyone on task.

Trust: We recognize that it is a privilege to support work that results in positive social outcomes, and that trust and relationships are at the heart of most of the work we do. We are committed to and are highly focused on meeting individual client needs, as well as being accountable to the broader communities that we serve in our work.

"The team at Woollard Nichols & Associates was amazing! They had a clear, deliberative process and were extremely open and communicative. I can’t wait for the next opportunity to work with them!"
Lara George, Executive Director, The Christi Center

"The work that WNA provided to our executive staff team allowed us to focus on our strategic priorities for this fiscal year. We now have clearly defined, measurable strategic initiatives that will guide and inform our work this year. I have every confidence that WNA's work with us will help make this year our best yet! Thank you for your tremendous support!"
Tamara Atkinson, Chief Executive Officer
Workforce Solutions Capital Area

"Woollard Nichols & Associates is my go-to consulting firm not only because they do excellent, quality work on a timely basis but also because they commit to learning the client’s business, both the nuances of our agency and the non-profit world in which we operate. I have no hesitation recommending them to anyone serious about succeeding and making a positive impact in our community."
Adam Hauser, President & CEO, Meals on Wheels Central Texas

"Kelly Nichols is a brilliant focus group facilitator - thoughtful and diplomatic - and also highly organized, easy to work with, and very responsive to client needs."
Heidi Aggeler, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Root Policy Research