Women for Women International was in the midst of change: A new CEO, process revisions for planning, budgeting, grant development and management, along with a fresh look at programs to ensure they address organizational mission and emerging needs. The upcoming three-day annual meeting of Country Directors from eight nations and Headquarters (DC) staff could help align key leaders of the organization and boost their willingness to champion and implement change. Yet the proposed shift to Results Based Management (RBM) would require reorganizing work flow and mindset. The meeting would need to orient people to RBM, reflect RBM, and give people practical experience with key concepts and skills without sinking into the minutia that can often derail planning and change. And fast-the meeting was in three weeks!
The Sierra Club, a national environmental organization, has 65 chapters covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico and more than 100 years of history. With a shift in policy focus from the a predominant federal agenda to one that focuses at the federal and state levels simultaneously, the national organization and chapters set out to redefine the appropriate division of labor, coordination of “turf”, and agenda setting.
The Club leadership knew it needed a chapter/national relationship that was both mutually respectful and mutually beneficial– that also supported governance, management, fundraising, and ability to deliver program, maintain quality, engage volunteers/donors, and create a culture of continuous learning and improvement. And the answers had to be developed through a transparent process that built trust and united focus. At the same time, any revised relationship would need to account for the differences in capacity among chapters, create opportunity and incentive to build at the national and local levels.
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is one of the largest unions in the country. Yet its size and political impact needed to expand to achieve success on issues of concern to its members, such as health care. Its Power to Win program calls for all parts of the union to expand organizing, focus on politics, and build the skills and organizations for sustained success. A key feature of the union’s change program is ongoing leadership development for leadership teams from state affiliates.
Center for Community Change (CCC) is a living monument to Robert Kennedy’s vision and philosophy to alleviate poverty in the United States. Its mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and public policies for the better A shift in strategy from being a technical assistance provider to local community organizations and an incubator of local projects to a movement builder for economic and social justice required reshaping programs, refocusing resources, redeploying staff, and restructuring the organization.
Advocates for Youth needed to promote a new organizational culture that stressed integration, transparency, better connection between operational and strategic planning, youth involvement within the organization, and a set or core values that would guide how people would work together Although it had established an enviable reputation for championing efforts to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health, its programs and offices were operating almost independently. How to bring them together into a unified and even more successful whole?
Increasing racial diversity in the nonprofit sectorIn 2008, a group of nonprofit leaders, funders, and consultants from across the country came together to explore progress, barriers and possible next steps in increasing racial diversity in nonprofit sector leadership. Approximately 40 interested and committed people came together though many did not know each other. There were several, and sometimes contradictory, views of underlying issues, desired outcomes, potential benefits, and best strategies. At least as important as the ultimate goal of expanding the leadership presence of people of color in nonprofits was the desire to connect people who had an interest in the topic.
In spring of 2005, issues of race and diversity were becoming evident at Miriam’s House (MH), a Washington, DC, “caring residential community for homeless women living with HIV disease that empowers recovery from homelessness, disease, and addictions in an environment of compassion, integrity, and accountability.” Fifteen staff, including several interns, provide direct care, counseling, social services.