If you want to build power & have fun doing it, let's get to work.

What do you need?

Organizational development

To change the world, we need organizations with strategic plans, effective management, and sustainable and supportive workplace practices. Let's talk about how to grow your organization and rally everyone around wins that matter.

Workshops & curriculum

Your people are amazing. Whether it's a one-day workshop on effective meetings, or a 6-week series on social change, together we can build an exciting, personal, and effective program rooted in the methods of Popular Education.

Grant-writing

If you're looking for someone to digest a pile of documents and the endless number of things you do each day into funding applications and other written materials that are clear, results-oriented, and with a hint of personality, let's talk.

My approach

Let’s get coffee. As a community organizer by training, I believe everything starts with our relationship. If you want to work together, I’ll suggest we sit down for 45 minutes, share our stories, talk about what’s exciting and what’s frustrating about your work and where you want to go. Then we get to work, as partners.

I’m a consultant, too. We don’t always have the luxury of coffee date when we begin our work together – a phone call or even an email exchange may suffice – but I’ll never shake that relationship-based approach to my work.

I start from your experience. I believe in the strength of your team and of your work, and see myself more as a facilitator than an expert with wisdom to share. Whatever the context, I’ll help you build your own internal capacity while also offering strategic guidance on the way forward.

I take pride in the details. We’re partners, but I’m here to make things easier for you: I aim to be over-prepared, ahead of schedule, and charming but direct in my communication. I don’t use prefab pricing packages or complex intellectual frameworks in my work. I get to know you and your organization, the problems you want solved, and we design a project that fits you, uniquely.

More about me

All my work – organizing, leadership development, writing, photography – is about building family and sharing stories. My own personal story and interlocking identities have taught me that solidarity has the power to change everything, and that family is what you make it.

I build power alongside working-class immigrants, communities of color, and LGBTQ folks because I believe we are stronger together and want to leverage my privileges as a white cis-man to attack systemic inequalities. I was an organizer on the Living Wage NYC campaign; led organizing, voter mobilization, and leadership development projects at the Center for Popular Democracy and Make the Road New York; and co-directed community relations at the New York City Commission on Human Rights. For my complete CV, check LinkedIn.

Along the way, I fell in love with and married a fierce Danish journalist. We moved back to her native Copenhagen in the fall of 2016.

McFarland Headshot2

What do clients say?

“We love working with Steve! It’s amazing to work with a consultant who can so quickly feel like an organizational insider – he grasps the importance of our work and how to convey it to funders and other audiences in a manner that resonates. He’s also an incredible resource in planning training agendas and problem solving questions about facilitation and leadership development. Most importantly, Steve’s commitment to justice, the dignity of all peoples, and joy come through always – making it an absolute pleasure to collaborate with him.

Maggie WilliamsThe Advocacy Institute

“Steve is smart, thoughtful, dependable, and charming AF — and thus a total delight to work with. He quickly assesses your needs as a client, finds creative solutions, and makes the whole process easy and fun.”

Julia TurnerSlate Magazine

“Steve’s campaign experience and strategic insight have inspired me to rethink our current mobilization plans concerning the upcoming local election here in Denmark. As a meeting facilitator and partner in planning, Steve understands what’s special about the values, needs and ambitions we share in Alternativet. And beside that he is really a smart and kind guy with an enthusiasm that’s infectious. Not bad.”

Uffe ElbækAlternativet

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