Last summer, Credera piloted a new pro bono consulting program as a part of its philanthropic arm, Credera Community Impact (CCI). CCI is focused on positively impacting the communities we serve by providing STEM education-based awareness and opportunities. Over the past year, our pro bono consulting program has grown into a nationwide initiative that we now refer to as the Nonprofit Consulting Leadership Program (NCLP). Our 2022 program was led by Josh Marshall and Thor Schumacher, both managers in our Management Consulting Practice, and sponsored by Gail Stout Perry, a Credera partner.
Making an Impact With the Nonprofit Consulting Leadership Program
NCLP aligns with Credera’s mission to make an extraordinary impact on our clients, our people, and our communities. NCLP provides an opportunity for Credera junior practitioners to scope and deliver short-term, end-to-end client engagements with local nonprofit organizations. Through these projects, we aim to amplify our partners' abilities to reach organizational and/or community goals and solve problems they may otherwise lack the internal or financial resources to do.
This year, four Credera NCLP teams from across the U.S. leveraged Credera’s Flexible Connection model to enable consultants and senior consultants to volunteer together to serve nonprofits in Dallas, Chicago, Houston, and Denver. The teams included members from seven of our offices (Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle, Dallas, and Houston) and were comprised of individuals from our Management Consulting, Technology Solutions, Experience Design, and Corporate Practices. Teams also included mentors from Credera’s senior leadership team to provide structure and guidance in solving client problems.
Introducing Our 2022 Nonprofit Consulting Leadership Program Partners:
After-School All-Stars: Data-Driven Strategy
The Dallas team partnered with After-School All-Stars (ASAS), who strive to keep children safe through free, enrichment after-school programs. Serving the Dallas Independent School District, the North Texas Chapter of ASAS connects primarily with middle school students, where 91% of students are youth of color and 82% qualify for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Founded in 1992, ASAS has a vision for “our all-stars to be safe and healthy, graduate high school, go to college, find careers they love and then give back to their communities.”
Because of COVID-19, ASAS found themselves navigating a push to virtual programs and dealing with a shortage of part-time staff due to the on-going health risks of being a front-line worker in schools. Recognizing these recent challenges, ASAS expressed an interest in partnering with Credera to improve their marketing and fundraising efforts. In order to drive toward the target outcomes of data collection and enhanced storytelling, the Dallas team scoped a project that included four specific deliverables:
Current and future state process maps to evaluate the internal processes of data collection.
Content rubric that assessed the marketing materials to customize the ASAS storytelling experience.
Impact assessment report to create a project planning tool for an iterative process to drive progress across the content rubric.
Prioritization matrix that ranks the set of opportunities to guide the future process improvement suggestions.
The team worked to analyze the data collection processes to develop a comprehensive set of recommendations and defined the content strategy for more effective storytelling to donors and part-time hires. As a result, ASAS has an outline of tactical steps to standardize the data collection processes, recorded key metrics to track year-over-year to communicate the program’s impact to donors and part-time hires, and alignment on specific and tangible goals for their content strategy in the coming year.
Latinas Who Code: Prioritization and Optimization
The Mid-East team (Chicago, New York, and Atlanta) partnered with Latinas Who Code (LWC), a startup dedicated to helping Latinas with non-technical backgrounds get their first job in technology. They do this by offering holistic free support built around intersectionality theory, tailored to help their constituents overcome any barrier. LWC aims to shift the landscape of Latinas in tech by offering everyone the personalized, free resources they need to get their dream job.
As an early-stage startup with many growth opportunities and constrained by limited resources, LWC needs to be judicious on how to focus their time. Because of this, the Mid-East team started by conducting current and future state assessment interviews to find gaps between where LWC is now and where they want to be in the future. This led to the identification and prioritization of key initiatives that will best propel LWC toward its goals. The assessment also included an evaluation of current activities and time commitments for their small team.
Once key initiatives were selected, it was essential to find ways to free up capacity instead of adding additional work to the staff. This led to a varied set of deliverables that focused on providing a strategy to approach new initiatives as well as improving the efficiency of current day-to-day activities. These deliverables included:
Grant application template: How to find, write, and re-use grant applications.
Business partnership strategy: Pricing, packaging, and finding beneficial partners.
Educational roadmap boilerplates: Writing out an educational path with tutorials to gain the needed skills for a variety of entry level jobs.
Community gap analysis: Research on competition and recommendations for how to retain community members and drive engagement.
The grant and educational roadmap research aimed at speeding up required, routine activities, allowing for LWC to pursue higher impact initiatives such as business partnerships and furthering community engagement. The increase in time spent on these initiatives should accelerate LWC’s timeline for establishing themselves to serve the local community.
Girls Inc.: Creation of a Roadmap for a New Program
The Houston team worked with Girls Inc. of Greater Houston, a nonprofit that encourages all girls to be "strong, smart, and bold" through direct service and advocacy. The organization equips girls with skills to navigate economic, gender, and social barriers and to grow up as independent individuals. It is one of the longest continuously operating organizations offering girls-only programming. They have partnered with schools and centers through 77 local organizations. The hallmark offering of Girls Inc. is their Bold LeadHERs Initiative (BLI). BLI is a widely successful program designed to enhance the leadership skills, college preparedness, and career development of high school girls in the Greater Houston area. Girls Inc. wants to expand this programming with a supplemental initiative called Project Accelerate (PA). Project Accelerate is targeted at girls in their final years of high school who want to continue with secondary education. It will provide coaching, counseling, and leadership opportunities to help mentor these girls from high school into their first two years of college. The Credera team's role was to help drive strategy of this ambitious project by providing an implementation strategy and roadmap. The team’s work focused on three key strategic areas:
Identification of Project Accelerate key activities/milestones needed to execute the program.
Development of a recruitment strategy for program participants.
Development of a strategy to engage, recruit, and retain corporate partners and volunteers.
The team worked through various avenues of data gathering to inform the strategies. This work included stakeholder interviews, market data research, and other nonprofit resource exploration. In the end, the Credera team met with the CEO and leadership of Girls Inc. of Greater Houston to deliver their findings and an actionable roadmap. Girls Inc. of Greater Houston stated that Credera’s efforts significantly reduced their anticipated timeline to fund and launch Project Accelerate by two to three years.
Colorado Succeeds: Optimized Web Experience
The West team (Denver and Seattle) partnered with Colorado Succeeds (CS), a local nonprofit based in Denver. CS is a nonpartisan coalition of business leaders “working to ensure that all of Colorado's children are educated to their greatest potential and all of Colorado's businesses have the homegrown talent they need to thrive.” During the discovery phase of the project, the West team learned how vital the involvement of local business leaders is to the work Colorado Succeeds does. Business leaders who partner with CS help drive education policies forward and share their industry-specific expertise on in-demand skillsets for the current marketplace. Through business partnerships, CS aims to improve Colorado’s public schools and build the agile education system needed to engage students and prepare them for the future of work. Since an increase in business memberships is vital to their organization, Credera partnered with CS to enhance their website and improve business member conversion by providing a roadmap for data and user experience improvements. We accomplished this by completing the following activities:
Conducted user interviews to understand how users currently navigate throughout the website.
Created a robust user journey to map the user experience, emotions, and touchpoints.
Established a primary persona to help identify the ideal member profile.
Leveraged Google Analytics to track desktop user drop-off points.
Created a guide for a future website rebrand and site schematic.
As our project ended in early September, we were able to meet in person with leaders from CS to share the outcomes and impact of the above activities. As a result, CS has an established guide for brand and web updates, a clearer understanding of the information they can draw from Google Analytics to understand their users, and a new strategy to convert prospects to members through an online experience. We are so thankful we had the opportunity to work with Colorado Succeeds and are excited to see their continued and future impact on education throughout the state of Colorado.
That’s a Wrap!
The Dallas, Mid-East, Houston, and West NCLP teams each made an extraordinary impact on their communities through their respective short-term pro bono consulting projects. Each team of Credera junior practitioners gave back in meaningful ways to our partners while building upon their consulting skills. The teams are excited for continued relationships with these partner organizations as Credera lives out its mission to make an extraordinary impact on our clients, our people, and our communities.
Here’s What Credera Staff and Our Partners Have to Say
Don’t only take our word for it. Here are some testimonials from participants in this year’s program. Learn more about our summer 2022 partners at their websites: After-School All-Stars North Texas Chapter, Latinas Who Code, Girls Inc., and Colorado Succeeds.
“This experience went above and beyond my hopes. I learned so much about areas of consulting I hadn't even been exposed to. I learned so much from my team members and leaders. It has been the most fulfilling project I've ever worked on.” – Lawrence Whalen, Consultant, Technology Solutions, Denver
“To have the expertise, vision, and capacity of the Credera team this summer was something we could have never afforded on our own. It’s invaluable to us to have this plan in place and the recommendations to work from. We’ll be looking for continued ways to work together in the near future!” – Shannon Nicholas, Colorado Succeeds chief of staff
“We found this partnership [to be] impactful and productive. Credera was patient, used the time productively, helped Girls Inc. stay on task, [and] kept us on agenda. Credera supporting Girls Inc. with this project allowed for us to ensure that the implementation of the expansion of this new program aligns with the organization’s mission and anticipated goals. We would highly recommend Credera’s services to another organization and would welcome the opportunity to partner with Credera again. We are very grateful for your support!” – Treopia Cannon, Chief Executive Officer and Rebecca Cox, Chief Program Officer of Girls Inc. of Greater Houston
After the successful conclusion of the 2022 Nonprofit Consulting Leadership Program, Credera is excited to continue the program next year. If you are interested learning more, reach out at email@example.com.