First snow of the winter, from Leif Enger's Instagram. Follow his beautiful photos of the north country landscape @leifenger.                                                                                                (For images from prior weeks, visit Pinterest.)

                                  First snow of the winter, from Leif Enger's Instagram. Follow his beautiful photos of the north country landscape @leifenger.
                                                                                               (For images from prior weeks, visit Pinterest.)

Lutman & Associates works with nonprofit clients and independent producers in cultural, media, and philanthropic sectors, and in the intersections among these. We are known for creative, future-facing projects that help organizations explore new initiatives and break new ground. As consultants we are hired to develop strategy; conduct program assessments; collaborate on planning and launching new initiatives; and support and lead planning and evaluation. 

Our distinctive capability comes from having done the work: we’ve been there.

As entrepreneurs we are actively engaged in developing and testing our own ideas. For example, our highly-successful What’s Up Pop Up events are public projects we create to build community capacity for dialogue, debate, and discovery. Pop ups feature the ideas and people that are influencing us, and turn our work inside out to share with you. In 2014, we created Hothouse at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a pop up coworking space involving 35 solo-preneurs, independent producers, small nonprofits, and businesses who worked at the MIA while drawing on the museum's collection for inspiration. (Read about it here.) Stay tuned to learn more about what we have up our sleeves. 

Sarah Lutman is also a widely published author for local, regional, and national publishing platforms.


CURRENT consulting


Current projects include:

+ Continuing evolution of our work with the Philadelphia-based Wyncote Foundation to amplify the ideas and findings in our Like, Link, Share report published in 2015. We're about to launch a free on-line course to help resource-constrained organizations and small business enterprises get started with digital engagement. Watch for the launch in January 2017 just as soon as we finish up with improvements our beta testers suggested for the course.

+ Evaluation and program development: We're working with the Detroit Program of the Kresge Foundation to conduct a formative evaluation of its extensive support for individual artists in Detroit

+Grantmaking: We're supporting the development and launch of the American Orchestras' Futures Fund with the League of American Orchestras.

+Business development: We're helping Minnesota Public Radio with strategy development and business analysis for an emerging public service opportunity.

+Digital content and engagement: We're consulting with the Walker Art Center on the development and evolution of its digital strategy, including work on future editorial and content initiatives.


And more! 

Please be in touch! We’re happy to provide work samples and references.


What's Up?

A Series of Live Events About Ideas and Trends

We produce What’s Up Pop Up events that bring you interesting people and ideas from our work in informal settings. We are building community capacity for dialogue, debate and discovery, and creating forums where people can connect in person.

Follow us on Twitter to hear about the next event. We'll post it here as well.


Latest Writing

Originally published in the November 2016 issue of Twin Cities Business Magazine.

The new federal overtime rule has nonprofits hustling to comply with higher wage costs.

If you run a business or manage people, you probably already know that the Department of Labor announced new rules for employers that update federal overtime regulations and provide expanded protections for workers who put in extra hours at work. The new rules take effect December 1 and are proving to be especially complicated for the nonprofit sector.

The new rule, issued in May, sets a new salary threshold (from $23,660 to $47,476) under which white-collar full-time workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The final rule maintains the federal definition of the kinds of job responsibilities that the government considers “executive, administrative and professional,” and for which an exemption to overtime can apply, and provides for automatic updates to the salary threshold every three years. An estimated 79,000 Minnesota workers (out of a total 4.2 million workers nationally) are affected.

Nonprofits of all sizes are responding to the new rulemaking and its relatively short, six-month implementation period:

  • Service and advocacy organizations like the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, along with consulting, tax, and legal firms with nonprofit clients, are offering a flurry of workshops and creating information resources to help nonprofits understand and comply with the new rules.
  • Nonprofits are analyzing their workforce’s position descriptions, staffing requirements and compensation levels to determine what actions may be required.
  • A field-wide discussion about the low-wage and high-hours nature of nonprofit work is prompting soul searching and debate among nonprofit leaders and policymakers.

Nonprofits have a reason to be wary of the new rules. Unlike businesses that may be able to pass along increased costs to their customers, most nonprofits are in the business of offering services that the market can’t support. While most nonprofits would gladly pay their staffs more, their revenue is often dictated by reimbursement rates on rigid government contracts, or is limited to the philanthropic support they’re able to attract and sustain.

Read the entire column here.