This is the story of a TCC-er.
I may not be unique. Like most people who work in or with the social sector, I have a personal drive to give back. But volunteering at a week-long summer camp gave me pause – and I will share with you how this experience reinforced how I embody TCC’s values – that is, a client-centered approach focused on learning, sustainable change, and resourcefulness.
For five of the last seven years, I have spent the third full week of July in Ripley, West Virginia – a rural community approximately 45 minutes from the state capitol.
But not just any summer camp. Continue reading
You’ve been hearing about the “external environment” “ecosystem” “collaboration” “collective impact” and “hubs, spoke, nodes, etc.” a lot lately. Have you been wondering how all these concepts should influence your organization’s strategic priorities? So have we. Continue reading
Companies are developing their corporate citizenship approaches and strategies based on three primary drivers: aligning with their purpose; addressing an operational issue; and/or supporting the communities where they have operations and employees.
Public media and high-profile stories surrounding companies and their corporate citizenship efforts tend to focus on the major programs and initiatives that the company has developed and promoted, such as Unilever’s Sustainable Living commitment (Purpose) or Starbucks’ focus on sourcing products responsibly (Operations).
The approach to community, however, tends to be less developed. Numerous companies state that they support the communities where their employees live and work, but with employees scattered around the globe in possibly hundreds of locations, companies struggle to develop an approach that effectively meets the needs of their various stakeholders in all of their localities.
Companies experience an increasing pressure to address critical issues, as well as communicate the activities and impact of the company in the communities where it operates, even in the most rural locations. As a result, there is a greater need for companies to develop an approach that addresses the issues and concerns of those stakeholders. Continue reading
When it comes to capacity building, my colleagues and I have seen a noteworthy increase in municipalities interested in strengthening the social sector at the local level. Capacity Building 3.0 – TCC Group’s collaborative approach – calls for elevating the capacity of all players in the social sector to achieve greater impact. If we consider which players have the greatest potential reach and influence to lead in capacity building, why has so little attention been directed at municipalities? Continue reading
Earlier this month, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations (GEO) held its National Conference in Minneapolis – bringing together nearly 900 foundation professionals, executives of nonprofit organizations, consultants, and other stakeholders for a stimulating and inspiring two days. The organization promoted the conference as “an event that offers participants the opportunity to explore the most relevant topics in the philanthropic field and hear new ideas for smarter grantmaking practices that enable nonprofits to grow stronger and achieve better results.” Note the emphasis on “grow stronger and achieve better results.”
I had the privilege of attending along with four of my TCC colleagues, two of whom were leading sessions that reinforced the focus on achieving greater impact. Continue reading
The strategic planning process conjures up a number of sentiments among nonprofit professionals: stress about the time intensiveness of the process and balancing other priorities; fear about the potential implications of a change in direction for the organization; and excitement about the opportunity to deepen the organization’s impact and further its mission. No matter how strategic planning makes you feel, objectively, strategic planning is critical to nonprofit functioning. If done well, it is a data-driven and inclusive process through which an organization will improve its understanding of:
- The need for its services;
- Its unique abilities and positioning compared to others with similar offerings;
- Ways in which it can potentially leverage its strengths by partnering with others; and
- The potential obstacles and opportunities that stand to impact the organization (whether positively or negatively) in the future.
A strategic plan with clear metrics of success serves as a tool for assessment, discussion, and correction. Continue reading
On a cold, rainy day in February, all seven members of TCC Group’s evaluation team came together for a retreat. With our team spread across the country, this retreat was a unique opportunity for in-person team building and reflection. Most interestingly, we completed an exercise to classify the types of work we are talking about when we say “evaluation.”
The end result? Clarity around the nine types of evaluation work we do. Continue reading
I’ve been an evaluator for over 25 years and, over the last several years, have done a deep dive into the world of media, its role in communities, and how it can contribute to social and community change. This is the first of a series of posts I’ll be leading in the area of media – some driven by my own questions, but many driven by Continue reading
As today’s leading companies launch and expand corporate citizenship programs, they continue to seek greater social and environmental impact. While they operate at various levels of scale, they all face critical challenges around tracking and reporting data, operational inefficiencies, and nonprofit relations.
For example, some companies have told us about the difficulty they have tracking basic data. Meanwhile, other companies want to expand their data collection to tell stories about their impact. Many strategic changes could facilitate progress for either challenge, but program management software solutions can serve as Continue reading
With the rhetoric around impact investing reaching new heights, foundations and
nonprofits would do well to keep the following in mind: Similar to grants, or different forms of non-grantmaking support, impact investing is but one tool in the social impact toolbox.
Just as there are ineffective grants and poorly chosen traditional investments, there are poorly conceived and executed impact investments. On the other hand, when they are planned strategically and executed competently, impact investments can have enormous value and deliver a scale of social impact that may be difficult to achieve, or sustain, with other tools. Continue reading