One Client’s Nonprofit Capacity Building Story
The Client: A small social service nonprofit organization providing a variety of safety net services to its community.
The Challenge: When the founder who served as the executive director for 20 years suddenly died, the Board was at a loss as to how to keep the organization running. The Board was made up of well-meaning local residents with little or no other experience serving on boards. Their basic role had been to “rubber-stamp” whatever the trusted founder put in front of them, and they had very limited knowledge of the overall operation. They did not really understand that many of their critical areas were still in the “start-up” lifecycle stage.
The Process: We were engaged to help the Board grapple with their current situation and determine next steps for ensuring the agency did not go under. Our work included educating them on the lifecycle of non-profits and supporting their assessment of their lifecycle stage in each of the five critical areas. We also provided training on Board roles and responsibilities. They embraced these new concepts and committed to stabilizing the organization. The board developed a short-term transition plan.
Results after Six Months
- Programs–Developed community needs assessment and began eliminating non-essential programs
- Management–Drafted job descriptions for leadership, staff, and volunteers and hired interim executive director
- Governance–Updated bylaws and put committee structure in place
- Resources–Created financial reporting procedures and drafted a development plan to help ensure greater financial sustainability
- Systems–Began documenting improved personnel and communication procedures