I envision and implement programs. I have built two high school alternative programs — from scratch. And both have proven successful in helping high needs youth get out of high school with a diploma, GED or a job training prospects. I was the first program manager of a new foundation and designed and built the grantmaking offerings and programs. I was the founding ED of a new foundation, built the board and guided the vision of how their funding and leadership could help the outdoor field address  societal and institutional barriers that keep our children and communities from getting outdoors.
In my consulting, I bring my experiences in the classroom, nonprofits and from a funders point of view, to my work. 
I recognize that many heads thinking together often trumps one person sitting alone in a room. That’s why Thinking Outside has created alliances with other well-known program officers to make sure you get the help you deserve, bringing together years of nonprofit and foundation experience, and available to provide deep and insightful thinking to your organization. Talk to us about how we can help you strengthen your organization. 

Here is how I can help you and your organization solve challenges you may be facing:

Grantmaking and Funding

  • Strategy

Envision, align and develop grantmaking strategies to achieve the funder’s outcomes and return on their social investment. Develop approaches and structures that will take a program from a good idea to a great program.

  • Guidelines

Develop guidelines to align to goals and objectives of the funding strategy. As funders, we all are looking to help our grantseekers spent less time of fruitless searches and applications that don’t have a strong chance of being funded. Clear, well articulated guidelines help strengthen the connection between funders and grantseekers.

  • Grant Review

Review and evaluate grant proposals, make funding recommendations to staff and boards. I have eight years of grant proposal reviews. Call me about helping out in your next round of applications.


Third party, independent review of NGO’s proposals from perspective of a program officer or funder. I frequently talked with Grantseekers who were not awarded a grant. During the conversation, I would discuss how the proposal might be strengthened or improved to meet the goals and objectives of the fund they had applied to. Unfortunately, this advice and insight came AFTER the proposal had already been declined. While most funders won’t read your proposal prior to submission, it is highly recommended that you have a third-party, unaffiliated, reader go over your submission.

Who better than a former program officer to read your proposal, probe for weaknesses, and look for alignment with the funder? Thinking Outside has teamed up with other program officers to offer you a robust and honest appraisal of your proposal,  funder approach, and funding strategy.

Thinking Outside offers different levels of review:

      • single, one-time review of a proposal
      • general review of standard, or boiler plate proposal
      • review of general funder approach and strategy

To Learn More, visit From the Other Side of the Table, or contact us.

  • Strategy and Vision

Vision, design and/or reimagine programs and strategies to align with mission and objectives of an organization, nonprofit or funder. I love to design and envision cool programs with great outcomes. Let’s sit down and brainstorm how to make your program effective and efficient.

Meetings and Facilitation

Meetings and events facilitation, MC or presenter.

I am a former teacher. Standing in front of crowds is in my DNA.

Team Building/Outdoor Staff Development

Staff and team development through the power of outdoor transformation through single day, or multi-day events.

Nothing transforms teams, staff or individuals faster than a real challenge. And there is no better venue to pull a team together than in an outdoor setting.

Lets talk.

Email: stevehagler[at]


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