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Richard O’Sullivan
Civil Society Economist / Business Environment Specialist

Richard O’Sullivan is the principal and founder of Change Management Solutions, an international consulting firm he formed in 2006 dedicated to helping organizations identify, understand, and harness the forces of profound market, economic, and social change.

An economist and business environment analyst with 30 years’ experience in harnessing market forces to help civil society organizations achieve social goals; he has worked with associations and other nonprofit organizations in transitional, conflict, and post-conflict environments to become self-sustaining and independent of donor support. Many of the organizations he has helped have reduced their donor dependence from over 90% to less than 30% in two years.

After numerous assignments in the waning months of 3- to 4-year projects to "make local partners sustainable," Mr. O’Sullivan created new tools to help CSOs develop self-sustaining business models based on the experiences of CSOs that have succeeded in breaking donor dependency. These tools have been combined into a course on self-sustaining CSO business models, which has been adopted by the Catholic University of Eastern Africa.

He is a recognized expert in demand-driven strategies to address social and economic structural gaps. O'Sullivan has authored several articles on the role and design of market-driven civil society business models including the chapter, “Sustainability – Associations as Agents of Change in the Collaborative Economy” in Professional Practices in Association Management, the required textbook for American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) professional certification. He has served as a keynote speaker on the subject at numerous international conferences including the Global Association Summit in London. Rick founded the SID-Washington’s Civil Society Workgroup in 2010 and served as its chair through 2016.

From 2004 to 2006, while serving as the Competitiveness Advisor to a USAID project in Kosovo O'Sullivan developed Demand Network Mapping, an innovative technique to determine why market signals failed and how civil society organizations can build cross-sector stakeholder partnerships to promote free and competitive business environments.

From 2002 to 2004, O'Sullivan served as Assistant Director at the internationally renowned Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies where he led a multi-million dollar research project to identify the drivers of innovation and sustainability within nonprofit organizations.

O'Sullivan holds a BA in Foreign Affairs from Assumption College (Worcester, Massachusetts, USA) and an MA in Economics from George Mason University (Fairfax, Virginia, USA).
An avid bicyclist, Rick combined his passions for the sport and public policy as a co-founder of One Less Car (now Bike Maryland), the leading pedestrian and bicycle advocacy organization in Maryland.

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