Planning for Growth and Continued Success
A Brooklyn-based nonprofit, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) prepares disadvantaged youth and adults to participate in the work force. Through professional and academic training, they empower their clients with the necessary skills and confidence to secure, and succeed in, a variety of positions. OBT fosters relationships with a network of local employers, helping connect their graduates with available jobs in various sectors.
OBT came to us in good shape. Having flourished under their previous strategic plan, they were eager to develop a successor that would continue to guide their growth over the next three-to-five years. It was a tremendous opportunity to help because leadership saw real potential to expand its footprint, serve more clients and increase its overall impact.
Our project with OBT began with a thorough but efficient investigation of their history and current state. We examined the organization’s financial and programmatic health, became familiar with their clients, and explored leadership’s aspirations for the future and appetite for change.
It was clear that while OBT knew they wanted to grow, they didn’t know exactly how. One of the first questions discussed was whether they should focus on offering existing services to a new population or new services to an existing population. Examining the data collected, we were able to demonstrate that OBT was achieving one of its primary goals: successfully serving their most vulnerable clients. This finding was not only a cause for well-deserved celebration, but also a reminder to stay focused. OBT decided to enrich its existing programs as a first step.
Another critical area of investigation: should OBT consider replicating their program model in other cities beyond New York City? If so, where? Was a national growth plan too ambitious? We determined the key actions OBT would need to take to assess geographical expansion — should they decide to move outside the five boroughs.
Finally, we considered what OBT would need to have in place to minimize any risk to their current success and continue being successful long into the future. We identified ways to optimize OBT’s existing resources to offer more to their participants. By strengthening employer relationships, training staff and better preparing the board, OBT’s energetic team could do even more for its community.
OBT’s final plan, which detailed critical steps the organization needed to take to achieve their goals, was immediately actionable. Even before our engagement ended, OBT was making tangible, meaningful changes by introducing new staff and leadership communication channels, and strengthening its talent management programs.
From the client
Growth is not unidirectional, it’s multidirectional; it can require expanding programs, strengthening partnerships and improving internal infrastructure.
A governing board can never be too prepared for the future.