In the early 1990s, a meeting of nonprofit organizational leaders and consultants to nonprofits was convened in Boston. The purpose of this meeting was to identify the consulting needs of nonprofits, to bring nonprofit consulting talent to the fore, and to identify mutually beneficial opportunities for collaboration.

This pivotal meeting laid the foundation for ongoing meetings of a group of independent consultants, which came to be known as the Consultants Network for Excellence in Nonprofits (CNEN). The group initially met every few months to promote information exchange, professional development, networking and a sense of community among individuals with a common perspective and shared independent consulting experience. These opportunities proved invaluable to the participants.

The group organizes public meetings with topics of interest to individuals working in, and serving, the nonprofit sector. Past presenters have included senior executives of nonprofits, foundation directors, Massachusetts government officials and experts in business and management issues for consultants.

In 2002, the group engaged in a strategic planning process, which led to CNEN's becoming a more formalized and structured organization. Following the strategic planning process, the group decided to hire a facilitator to organize and lead monthly meetings of the membership; the facilitator also played a key role in the development of the initial CNEN website.

In 2007, CNEN announced its name change to the Nonprofit Consultants Network (NCN). With an ongoing commitment to the organization's Code of Ethics, the membership continues to meet on a monthly basis in downtown Boston and to organize programs of interest to the nonprofit community to this day.

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