Institute for New Leaders and New Communities

Building the Capacity of Emerging Organizations

Client: Urban, philanthropic intermediary

The Challenge: The success of this client’s grant-making activities was dependent upon the capacity of its grant recipients to implement sustainable programming for children that is of the highest quality and impact. We were hired to help the executive director build an organizational development plan based on solid data and evidence that would enable the organization to refine its strategic grant-making efforts. There were two primary strategic objectives tied to our technical assistance plan. First, the client wanted to expand the pipeline of competent and capable junior leaders working in OST (out-of-school time) programs to ensure a steady stream of talent for the future. Second, the client wanted to immediately increase the quality and quantity of high-performing OST programs in the city, with a special focus on under-served, low- income communities.

Our Approach: The Symphonic Strategies team designed a phased, mixed-method, technical assistance strategy that unfolded over a two-year period. We served as a strategic partner and capacity-building provider for the client. Throughout that time, we performed a number of services for the executive director and his senior staff, including conducting primary research to support the organization’s strategic priorities, curriculum design, implementing technical assistance workshops and training for grant recipients, and providing ongoing consultative support (by phone, email, and in person) for the client’s senior leadership.

The Work: Through our work with this client, we demonstrated a number of our core business capabilities:

  • an extensive literature review and benchmarking analysis of other philanthropic intermediaries in the United States;
  • an ecosystem mapping workshop for the client’s staff that was facilitated by a Symphonic Strategies team member;
  • customer segmentation exercises conducted with the client’s senior leadership that identified new customer segments;
  • in-depth interviews with representatives from client-funded organizations;
  • a custom-designed, online customer satisfaction and customer needs assessment survey that included the use of conjoint analysis;
  • focus groups with representatives from each customer segment;
  • data analysis, including the use of regressions to identify statistically significant trends;
  • an organizational assessment of the organization’s current service offerings; and
  • a gap analysis that compared existing offerings to the results from the customer needs assessment.

Outcomes: Over the two-year period we worked with the client, we worked directly with 14 community-based organizations, providing each of them with leadership and organizational development plans based on our assessment of what it would take to increase the capability and capacity of the organization to deliver high-quality, high- impact OST programming. Through our instructional design services, we also developed a customized leadership development curriculum based on core competencies tied to high-performing OST programming and we implemented a leadership and organizational development program called the Institute for New Leaders New Communities.


Posted on

January 25, 2019

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