Several nonprofits are doing the hard work of increasing their impact within their communities by finding ways to better meet the needs of the people they serve:
- Aspire Developmental Services (ADS), is a family-centered organization in Lynn, Massachusetts, that provides early intervention for children with disabilities, parental support, and one-on-one child therapy to families in the community.
- The Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP) brings social impact leaders together to expand their skills through leadership training in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Buffalo area.
- The Professional Center for Child Development (PCCD) provides critical educational and therapeutic services for children of all abilities and their families—helping each child develop and reach his or her full potential.
Like many organizations across the country, the ability to keep up with internal changes and continue to expand is a struggle when workloads increase despite limited staff. Individually these three nonprofits are different, but they all have one common challenge: the need to increase capacity as their organizations continue to grow.
“The Tower Foundation understands that when leadership fails, organizations fail,” said Yolanda Coentro, INP president and CEO. “So, if you don’t solve the systemic issues, you cannot get the community work done.”
Before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tower Foundation provided grants to help organizations like INP continue to serve their members. Since the pandemic INP’s leadership who identifies as BIPOC has increased by 40%.
The Tower Foundation also launched the GetSET (Get Success in Extraordinary Times) program in Massachusetts for the first time. GetSET is a two-year, team-based approach to build the capacity of mid-sized organizations by strengthening their internal infrastructure, identifying their value proposition, and responding to new business opportunities. The program helps organizations build capacity, and Aspire Developmental Services and PCCD were both accepted into the program during the pandemic.
“This program forced us to take a look at our process and how to become forward thinkers,” said Lori Russell, executive director, ADS. “We learned more about capacity building, developing a better leadership team, and revamping the organization to keep up with the growth that was going on.” Over the past six years, ADS has seen a steady growth of 20% a year—even through the pandemic.
Chris Hunt, executive director, PCCD says the process has been fantastic, “When I talk to staff members, there’s a general excitement to address some of the things that we know cause frustrations and complications with the agency. Now is our chance to work on them.”
Both organizations are in their second year of the program and are preparing to implement their short- and long-term goals, both internally and for the communities they serve.
“We are all creatures of habit,” said Joan Whitney, executive director, GetSET. “You can have plans to change, but to actually embrace it and do it is difficult on a professional, personal, and operational level. The courage it takes for leaders to move forward can be difficult, but they have all successfully met the challenge and are continuing to grow, which is a pleasure to witness. ”
The next step for the nonprofits will involve implementing their capacity building plans to prepare their organizations for continued growth.