Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting from HERE to THERE in NonProfit Sector

In an article I wrote in December 2011 I talked about how non profits become good at what they do, then great, and how they need to stay great for many years to have an impact on young people and communities.

In this part of the Links Library I point to articles that illustrate challenges non profits have in growing from good to great.

I've created a number of graphics to illustrate this thinking which I hope are used in leadership circles throughout the country to engage others in thinking of what actions they need to take on an on-going basis to help all of the youth serving organizations in their community become world class at what they do to help kids become thriving adults.

Here's one I'd like to share:

In my own efforts I've been trying to help constantly-improving non-school tutor/mentor programs grow in high poverty areas of Chicago. I use maps like this one to show where poverty is concentrated which I feel is where resources need to focus in order for a wide range or mentor-rich youth programs to form.

I've never had more than $150,000 a year to do this work which is far too few dollars to collect all of the information needed to support decisions that need to be made in many leadership sectors. Nor have I had money for advertising, training and promotions that would draw volunteers and donors to this information on a consistent basis, and at key times of the year, such as now when school is starting and all tutor/mentor programs are looking for volunteers. For the past year I've had almost not money to support this effort.

Thus, I keep looking for others who are doing some of the intelligence gathering that needs to be taking place. Here are some questions that I hope someone is asking:

* What is the "combat readiness" of each of the organizations working with youth in the Chicago region?

* What is their financial health? Do they have a consistent flow of resources to carry them through this year and into next year and beyond?

* What is their leadership strategy? Do they have experienced people devekioubg abd leading the organization's strategies?

* Who do they want to emulate? When you look at the web site (if they have one) of each youth organization do they post a list of 4-6 other youth organizations that they feel are "best in class" and that they are trying to emulate?

* What is their mission? Where would the organization's strategies fit on this graphic? How do they compare to others who do this work?

Is anyone doing the market research needed to understand how well youth organizations in the Chicago region (or in other cities) are prepared to help youth move through school and into adult lives?

I'm not looking for "generalizations" or "aggregations" of information. We should be able to put icons on maps showing the different readiness of each organization shown on the map. And leaders should be able to use this information in resource-mobilization effort that help strengthen existing organizations and fill in voids with new organizations where more are needed.

Is anyone interested in putting their name on a Think Tank or Research Institute focused on collecting and sharing this information?

Share the links in the comment section if you can answer these questions.

No comments: