David La Piana

Managing Partner

Alameda, CA
Joined La Piana Consulting
A word that sums me up is
The most interesting thing happening in the social sector today is:
The movement toward creating actively anti-racist organizations. It is long overdue.


David (he/him) helps social sector leaders develop powerful strategies while becoming better partners and mentors for their staffs, boards, and communities. He helps clients quickly home in on their most important strategic issues and begin to develop real, practical solutions.

“My attitude is that organizational problems are solvable and that the key is to help teams step up, pull together, figure it out, and get it done.”

David has authored a number of popular books, including The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution, The Nonprofit Mergers Workbooks I and II, Play to Win, and The Nonprofit Business Plan, plus numerous articles appearing in Stanford Social Innovation Review, including “Merging Wisely,” “The Nonprofit Paradox,” and When Organizational Change Fails.” He created The Next Steps Career Workbook for Senior Executives, and his latest work is Adapt, a primer for creating a more adaptive culture. As an acknowledged expert in the field, David was asked to contribute the entries for Strategic Planning and Business Planning in the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Nonprofit Management, Leadership, and Governance. David has consulted to a wide cross-section of nonprofits including AARP, ACLU, Amnesty International, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Ford Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund, Innocence Project, NAACP, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Unidos US, YMCA USA and YWCA USA.

“I have had the privilege of working with many of the top civil rights groups in the country and, as hard as the work is, I feel I’m doing something really important helping people who do amazing work on all our behalf.”

David’s background includes community organizing as well as nonprofit management and executive leadership. Prior to founding La Piana in 1998, he was CEO of a children’s mental health nonprofit, leading it through an extended period of unprecedented growth driven in part by strategic mergers. He also served as a VISTA volunteer organizing migrant farmworkers and held management roles with food security and refugee organizations. He has an MPA from the University of San Francisco and holds graduate and undergraduate degrees in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. He has also studied at the University of Madrid.

David is available as a speaker and media resource on a variety of topics including nonprofit trends, philanthropy, leadership, and change management.