Using National Service to Spark Collective Action

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How can we best position our federal agency to advance the president’s national priorities?  This was the challenge the new leadership at the Corporation for National and Community Service (“the Corporation”) faced in the summer of 2011. The mission of the Corporation is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement, through service and volunteering. It is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through its core programs, Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. As the nation’s largest grant-maker for service and volunteering, the Corporation plays a critical role in strengthening America’s nonprofit sector and addressing our nation’s challenges through service. 

We worked with the Chief Strategy Officer and her team to craft a theory of change and a strategic plan that they would be able to submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Over the course of the summer, we partnered with another consulting firm and with senior leaders across the Corporation to write a strategic plan that laid out how the Corporation planned to connect individuals with organizations that can use national service resources to achieve results so that American communities can solve local problems. Through our work with this client, we demonstrated a number of our core business capabilities. The research and consulting engagement included: (1) an extensive literature review and benchmarking analysis of other federal agencies with a volunteer-civic component; (2) a customer segmentation exercise that identified and prioritized key external stakeholder segments in the national service community; (3) in-depth interviews with external stakeholders from different segments across the national service community; (4) focus groups with representatives from each of the agency’s primary program groups, including AmeriCorps, SeniorCorps, and others; (5) development of the CNCS Theory of Change and Logic Models for each of its core program areas; and (6) writing and revising the agency’s strategic plan in accordance with guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

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January 25, 2019

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