New Covenant Community Development CorporationEvaluation, Strategic Planning
This case study shows PIE’s ability to help a small, community-based organization identify and work towards achievable growth and sustainability.
A small nonprofit wanted to solidify its brand in the community to prepare for and execute on growth. They needed to engage an expanded and increasingly sophisticated group of funders, and therefore needed a plan that spoke to wide variety of audiences. The plan also needed to build momentum for operational and program change and growth. A key staff member who acted as long-term institutional knowledge left without notice in the middle of planning, so the process had to adapt to ensure there were no implementation gaps. The strategic plan process had to also act as capacity building process in order to set New Covenant up for success.
Initial learning required we speak with key capacity building funders, the Executive Director, key staff and the Board of Directors. We set up a Strategic Planning team of key stakeholders to act as the decision-making body for the process. In collaboration with this team, we conducted interviews’ of community partners, current and former clients, and key Board members to learn how the organization could improve. We conducted case studies of similar organizations and a literature review of best practices for similar organizations and settings. We reviewed current data collection systems and practices, and specifically planned to leverage the planning process to increase stakeholder attachment to the organization. We also developed a group of stakeholders – community partners, key Board members, funders and alumni – to act as a consultation team, providing feedback and improvements to the plan as it developed. This was also a key way to build buy in and engagement early on.
We facilitated an organizational analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) from different perspectives, as well as a logic model map of organization, its programs, and its outcomes. We did extensive organizational capacity mapping and compared current state to best practice and success factors identified in our literature review. We conducted market access analysis to determine organizational reach into desired clientele. Using all these inputs, we then helped New Covenant set specific goals that would define a successful growth trajectory. We also identified operational and program strategies that would be necessary to achieve those goals. We developed measures of success, so the organization would know if they were making progress towards their goals.
Defining all these components allowed us to identify key program improvements, infrastructure gaps, and data systems development that would be needed to gradually achieve goals. We were able to map an action plan for those steps, as well as a mid-term Fundraising plan to ensure necessary resources would be available.
Throughout this process, we intentionally built the capacity of the organization through article reviews, data reviews and analytic thinking. We introduced and reinforced the critical importance of limiting your change to what can be done at currently; small successes build to bigger ones! We also worked with the Board of Directors to expand their perspective on how to best support the organization, and we leveraged the advisory board to ensure a strong group of colleagues were invested in the long term success of the organization.
Our client achieved a significant 2022 budget increase, including a collaborative project that will build their new home! They are supported by a 5-year plan with program growth models, a fund development plan, a board development plan and an implementation plan with an initial one-year implementation timeline. Through structuring all decisions around a set of 6 key goals, our client continues to experience a significantly more engaged Board with increased commitment to the organization – and to fundraising. They have also developed deeper stakeholder relationships and continue to gather regularly for collaboration.
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