Archive for October, 2012

The Monmouth County Historical Association is seeking a new Director

The Monmouth County Historical Association is seeking a new Director.  Based in New Jersey, the Association collects, preserves, and interprets its extensive museum, library, and archival collections relating to the County’s history and culture and makes these resources available to the widest possible audience.

Click here for the full position description and to apply.  Application deadline, November 16.

The Association retained the Support Center to provide Executive Search and Transition Management services.


Embracing the Power and Practical Benefits of an Organizational Assessment

“The future ain’t what it used to be!”

– Yogi Berra

In the nonprofit world, we are often so busy doing our important work that we never stop to see where we are and how we are doing.  We may have been able to get away with this when the economy was booming, but things are different today and taking an objective look at where you are in the life cycle has real, practical benefits to the health and sustainability of your organization.  Assessing the current environment you are working within, and understanding what’s working, what’s not, and what needs re-working is a key component to securing your organization’s future.

A well-conducted Organizational Assessment (OA) can become your tool for powering ahead to an impact-full and energized “next stage” in the organization’s life.  For the healthy organization it can function as a tune-up, building on prior progress and identifying additional areas for meeting future challenges. It is often a first step in a strategy planning process or in the planning for an executive transition. And for nonprofits in the midst of challenges or crises, it can set the stage to turning the organization around.  Most importantly, it can help the organization’s leaders and other stakeholders to get behind the organization to support successful adaptation to an ever-changing environment.  Some important keys to the effectiveness of an OA include:

  1. Commitment and buy-in from the organization’s leadership
  2. Clear expectations regarding the sharing and use of the findings
  3. Confidentiality and ownership of findings
  4. Utilization of a  well-tested assessment framework
  5. Gathering of accurate and complete information

In this today’s E-News we profile Support Center client Reach Prep—to demonstrate how an organizational assessment helped them not only see “what had to be done” but also to “build total consensus” among the organizations leaders and other stakeholders

What We Do—An Organizational Assessment can be done as a stand alone project and is often conducted at the start of any Change Consulting assignment. Support Center consultants, themselves veteran professionals of the nonprofit sector, typically spend three to four months assessing a client’s organizational capacity: interviewing stakeholders, reviewing documents, conducting focus groups, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses, and issuing a comprehensive report. We evaluate such markers as organizational governance and structure, program impact, fundraising procedures, and financial stability. The results help guide the organization’s next steps: formulating and implementing strategies for altering practices, dealing with executive or board transitions, refreshing office esprit de corps, or even expanding their missions. An OA can also assess opportunities for restructuring, including alliances, consolidations, and/or mergers.

There is almost no bad time to undertake an assessment.  When done properly, in conjunction with organizational leaders and important stakeholders, it can open a new lens from which you can imagine and pursue a successful future for your organization. To talk about your organization’s needs or to learn more, call or email our Julia Lu, Director of Consulting: or 917-522-8308.

Categories: Uncategorized

REACH Prep: How an Organizational Assessment Helped One Organization

REACH Prep, was founded in 1994 to prepare and motivate youth Black and Latino students from low- and moderate- income families for success in their secondary school and college careers.

REACH Prep had accomplished much in the cause of its mission. But two years ago, in the face of external and internal changes-scholarships affected by economic recession, more stringent expectations among funders, and staff and board turnovers-the organization needed to assess its strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan for the future. Accordingly, the Lone Pine Foundation underwrote the cost of an organizational assessment, leading to a formula for moving forward. Under the leadership of Gilles Mesrobian, Senior Associate at the Support Center, guidance was provided in the areas of institutional vision, clarification of goals, and clarity of board and staff functions.

“The assessment showed me what had to be done, in a way that I might not have otherwise seen,” said Jill Olsen, board president. “The board processes are more streamlined now. We are optimistic at a very specific level.”

Peggy Sarkala, executive director of REACH Prep, said the assessment “helped us build total consensus” on moving board members from micro-management to long-term development. In addition, she said, a new “culture of data-driven valuation” in response to funders’ demands for measured accountability has created “an infinitely higher level of professionalism.”

Most importantly, REACH youngsters are better served—for instance, in just one year student participation in the summer program increased from 60 to 94 percent—and the organization has landed new grants for more initiatives. “We saw a marked improvement in short-term outcomes a year after the assessment,” said Christeen Bernard Dur, associate director of Lone Pine. “They had a greater insight in some [programming] challenges they were facing, and made progress in effectively addressing them through improved staffing.”

All this is critically attractive to funders. As Lucy Ball, executive director of Lone Pine, put it: “We look at our grants as investments. We want to fund well-run organizations in a manner that has greatest impact.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Partnership for a Healthier NY Launches New Website

The Partnership for a Healthier New York City just premiered its web site in support of its efforts to significantly reduce chronic disease in New York City-for everyone-by supporting proven community-level efforts to change the environments in which people make decisions that impact their health.  The Partnership’s website highlights the four focus areas of work: healthy eating, active living, tobacco-free living, and the reduction of underage and excessive alcohol consumption.

As a newly-formed organization, the Partnership turned to the Support Center to assist in helping to establish a strong organizational foundation for achieving ambitious objectives.  Over the course of a multi-year period the Support Center is providing a comprehensive suite of organizational development services including governance, structure, strategic communications, fundraising strategies, strategic planning, and program and organizational evaluation and assessment.

Categories: Uncategorized

Altman Foundation Awards Support Center $50,000

The Support Center is delighted to announce that the Altman Foundation has renewed their support with a grant of $50,000.

The Alltman Foundation’s grant supports programs critical to the nonprofit sector–Change Consulting, Executive Search and Transition Management, and our numerous Professional Development and Peer Learning programs.  “The Altman Foundation and its key leaders were pioneers in helping the Support Center in its creation of our Executive Search and Transition Management program and they remain strong ambassadors in promoting thoughtful, well-planned executive transitions.  This most recent renewal of support demonstrates their unyielding commitment to the important nonprofit organizations that work in areas of education, health, arts and culture, and strengthening communities, and we are delighted to have a continued partnership with the folks at Altman,” said Don Crocker, Support Center’s CEO.

Categories: Uncategorized

desigNYC’s 2012 Call for Nonprofit Projects and Pro Bono Designers

desigNYC’s 2012 Call for Nonprofit Projects and Pro Bono Designers is still open. Launched in 2009, desigNYC is recruiting for its 4th round of project collaborations connecting extraordinary nonprofit organizations with talented design professionals who are leaders in the fields of architectural, landscape, interior, experience and communications design. The deadline for submission is THURSDAY NOVEMBER 1, 2012.

desigNYC will focus on selecting nonprofits projects and programs that are helping to improve the health of our local communities and, as a result, improve the quality of life for those that live, play and work there. HEALTHY COMMUNITIES for instance will support projects that encourage physical activity in urban spaces, advocate a better access to healthy food, clean air and/or water, or carve out room for peace and quiet. Whether this is done by creating educational campaigns and initiatives that work to reduce pollution or poor health habits, or by building playgrounds, community gardens, green markets, and places simply to reflect and dream, desigNYC will leverage all of the design disciplines to help refocus how we can change the way people think about what it means to live in a healthy city. Nonprofits and designers can download applications at their web site.

Categories: Uncategorized

October Tweets For Thought

We have been doing a lot of reading this month, and here are a few articles that stood out to us. Please let us know what you found interesting.

Success Factors in Nonprofit Mergers 
A new multi-year study focuses on the factors that lead to successful nonprofit mergers. It also analyses what happens after a merger is implemented.

Are Most Leaders Replaceable?
According to Harvard Business School’s Gautam Mukunda’s new book, all leaders are replaceable. What do you think?

New LinkedIn Services for Nonprofits.
This new free service, called Board Connect, helps nonprofits recruit board members.

Categories: Tweets for Thought