red-icon-4A local nonprofit agency in New Jersey had been serving its community for decades, providing preschool and afterschool, fitness, enrichment and recreation programs for all members of the family.

Recent concern about the organization’s future sustainability was raised when the city initiated full-day kindergarten programming.  In addition, the community had experienced a marked increase in alternate opportunities for fitness programs.

OMG was engaged to assess the challenges and clarify goals and opportunities in supporting sustainability.

Process:

A recently prepared SWOT analysis provided a range of areas in which to focus.

The organization’s vision and mission were reviewed to ensure that the strategic plan would maintain the appropriate focus.

One-on-one confidential interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholders: Board members, staff, volunteers, members and non-members of the Center, donors and funders; and community leaders and business owners.

Current trends in educational and wellness programming were reviewed.

The Nonprofit Sustainability Matrix for Financial Viability Method (Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability: Bell, Masaoka and Zimmerman: 2010) was used to help Board members evaluate programs that should grow and those that should be reviewed further based on their comparative impact and profitability.

Result:

Opportunities to engage a larger target audience were identified and marketing efforts became focused on highlighting the positive experiences of participants in its successful programs.

Short and longer term plans were developed for establishing new, innovative revenue-generating programs such as after-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activities.

The strategic planning process

  • brought together staff and board to work collaboratively on the challenge of sustainability and
  • invigorated staff and Board members to become more actively involved in fundraising and leadership activities.

The Board’s strategic planning committee became committed to monitoring and supporting the follow through and implementation of the strategic plan.