We’re proud to announce the project outcomes of the Leadership Louisville Center’s newest program, Encore Louisville. Participants are members of the Leadership Louisville Center and graduates of other programs, who are retired or transitioning in their careers. The class worked in teams to provide strategic guidance to local nonprofits who requested help with specific issues.
The Encore Louisville Class of 2018
The class worked with 15 nonprofits in 2018 and provided an estimated total value of $250,000. The nonprofits are:
Alley Cat Advocates
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Down Syndrome of Louisville
Mom’s Closet Resource Center
Nearly New Shop
One Plus One Equals U, Inc.
Sowing Seeds with Faith
The Healing Place
Women 4 Women
Featured 2018 projects:
Camp Hendon, Kentucky Diabetes Camp for Children
Project ask: Camp Hendon indicated these needs:
- Staffing: Identify the next position(s) to be filled on the staff
- Strategic Growth: what to consider regarding growing the organization
- Funding: provide feedback on establishing/securing reliable funding sources
- Outside thought leaders; all of the team members had worked within organizations experiencing growth opportunities and provided a thought framework for the Camp Hendon team
- Introductions to contacts within the community who are potential partners and funders
- A structured approach to addressing the key issues facing the organization
- An outside perspective on the board functions which the Encore Louisville team presented to the Board of Directors
Comments from Camp Hendon:
“This was an amazing experience and we are so grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with the caliber of individuals in our Encore Louisville partner team.” – Megan Cooper, KY Diabetes Camp for Children
Jewish Career and Family Services
Jewish Family and Career Services provides a wide range of counseling and career services to a socioeconomically diverse client base. Some services are grant funded and provided to disadvantaged clients at no-cost; others are fee-based. They asked for the Encore Louisville team’s help in increasing fee-for-service revenues to enable JFCS to continue to meet the growing needs of vulnerable clients in an uncertain funding environment. Specifically, they asked for help with a market analysis defining and providing a more in-depth profile of the target market for their proposed College Grad Job Search Bootcamp. The team also provided input that helped them redesign the curriculum in a way that will make it more marketable as well as more valuable to both participants and the employers who will support the program and also provide potential job opportunities.
The team provided feedback and suggestions on JCFS’s target market and made suggestions to enhance their marketing plan. Additionally, they provided suggestions that led to a redesign of the bootcamp curriculum that enhances the value for both prospective participants and the employers that will also participate in the program.
Simmons College of Kentucky
Project ask: Simmons College’s challenge is that they do not have a campus student bookstore which hinders students from having a “real” campus feel. Many students can not afford books or the means to get them, so an on-campus site would help with student retention and recruitment as well.
Project outcomes: Following meetings with Dr. Kevin Cosby, President, and Dr. Ken Jobst, ProvostVon Purdy, Director of Development, and Franklin Smith, Accreditation Liason, the team initiated a survey of the students to determine whether a bookstore is a student-driven desire.
Comments from Von Purdy, Director of Development, Simmons College of Kentucky:
“The Encore team was one of the most professional groups I have ever worked with. They came in eager and mission-centered and helped focus us on what we needed to do to get the desired results. The experience of the team led to the planning and execution of our project and helped us reach the final goal. We needed their direction to help get results – the survey of the students was vital to help us focus and help us get feedback from the key constituents- our students. As a result, we are moving in the right direction and have taken the first steps to get a bookstore and the materials students want.”
Trees Louisville, Inc.
Project ask: Help TreesLouisville develop a 5-year plan – a strategic roadmap that can be executed by a two-person staff.
Comments from Cindi Sullivan, Executive Director, TreesLouisville:
“Our Encore Team helped us produce a comprehensive two-year strategic plan for our organization. Along the way, they affirmed the good work we are accomplishing and gave us sage advice on pitfalls to avoid and opportunities to embrace. The process was eye-opening and provocative.”
Results from the Encore Louisville Class of 2017
The class worked with the following nonprofits:
American Red Cross
Project Ask: The American Red Cross in Louisville needed help with an important challenge: lack of ability to support and retain volunteers, the right volunteers with the right skills, ultimately affecting our ability to deliver services.
Comments from Jennifer Adrio, CEO, American Red Cross:
Project Outcomes: It’s too early to measure the success of the recommendations we will implement, but we feel the recommendations given to us by the team will be put into execution. And they are highly actionable and based on solid input and research. The actions we implement should produce volunteers with the skill sets needed and create a more engaged and satisfied workforce of volunteers.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to learn from the community’s experienced workforce and leadership. Love having an outsider’s perspective on our business practices. It’s the value of a consultant without the cost obviously. But, I also know we’ve developed a closer relationship with some individuals who will be advocates for our work and volunteer with us going forward.”
Project Ask: Long term goals of the organization need to be outlined and a plan in place for strategic growth.
Comments from Caroline Johnson, Founder, Twisted Pink:
Project Outcomes: The Encore Louisville Team was able to help Twisted Pink spend some time focusing on our mission and vision and asking the questions that were important to help us form short term and long term goals for the organization.
“The Encore Louisville Program was exactly what our organization needed to re-focus our programming and efforts on our mission. We are on track now to improve our programs to align more closely with our mission and vision.
Volunteers of America
Project ask: VOA sought to build on its success as a premier provider of residential addiction recovery treatment and further expand its impact by offering new behavioral health services in early 2017. To better promote VOA as the best option for outpatient and intensive outpatient addiction recovery treatment, VOA sought the feedback of its community and highly-experienced thinkers to develop a marketing strategy to make VOA a household name.
Comments from Jennifer Hancock, President and CEO, Volunteers of America:
1. Timely and strategic guidance regarding branding of organization
We were fortunate to have the guidance of the Encore team during a critically important period when Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOAMID) is expanding services and considering more aggressive and targeted marketing, public relations and community outreach strategies to promote these new services.
Our expansion of behavioral health services represents an excellent opportunity for us to provide essential care and outreach that addresses the addiction crisis in our community. It also represents a significant investment of resources for VOAMID. Having the guidance of experienced leaders with communications, non-profit, government, legal and health care backgrounds was extremely valuable to us as we considered options for how to introduce this expansion most effectively to various and distinct audiences.
Volunteers of America Mid-States has always faced a somewhat daunting branding challenge, as our name does not accurately convey the work we do and the services we provide and we have largely operated quietly for many years. The Encore team helped us to think through our overall branding options as well as sub-branding options specifically for behavioral health services. Their experience, consistent and thoughtful questions, and input expertly guided the process of distilling various messages into a more cohesive, strategic and impactful message.
2. Thoughtful guidance on specific marketing strategies
As Volunteers of America Mid-States considers specific marketing strategies to promote our new behavioral health services, having the experience of the Encore team again jump-started our internal discussions and helped us to strategically think through our many options and quickly distill our plan to one that is manageable and measurable.
Specifically, as we talked through our range of marketing options, and how to best utilize our modest marketing budget to maximize our reach into our target audiences, the Encore team helped us to prioritize. One specific outcome that the Encore team influenced was our decision to move forward and hire a Community Engagement Specialist in our Communications Department. This position had been considered for FY 18 and their discovery work and recommendations illuminated that “the future is now” and we must take action. This position has been posted and will focus solely on outreach to current and prospective referral partners for our behavioral health services. Our discussions with Encore validated that there is no substitute for person-to-person marketing and this represented the greatest use of our marketing dollars.
3. Specific outreach and community connection outcomes
We also found that the experience, leadership and connection to our community that our Encore team brought to Volunteers of America was particularly helpful. We received specific suggestions on best practices used at other institutions, such as Norton Healthcare, that were useful to us. The team acted as connectors and identified a handful of their professional contacts that would helpful to our efforts. We feel confident that we will benefit from these connection such as a specific focus on church-based outreach and marketing as we expand our services.
“This experience was exceptional and we could not be more appreciative of the input and impact of our Encore team!”
Results from the Encore Louisville Class of 2016
The class worked with the following nonprofits:
ACE Mentor Program
Council on Prevention and Education Substances, Inc (COPES)
Jewish Family & Career Services
Kentucky Center for African American Heritage
Kids Cancer Alliance
Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations
Louisville Metro Public Health & Wellness
Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy
Louisville Visual Art
Louisville Youth Choir
The Fund for Transforming Education
YMCA of Greater Louisville
Featured 2016 projects:
ACE Mentor Program
Project ask: To provide assistance in developing a Strategic Plan at the board level with an emphasis on development, marketing, growth of the program and mentor retention.
Comments from Jonathan Hughes, Board member ACE Mentor Program:
Project outcomes: The Encore Louisville team was able to help us develop a new strategic plan for the upcoming year and provided us with some action items to help us move forward toward our five-year plan. We now are more focused on completing one task at a time and getting that finalized before starting something else. We also are better structured as a board.
“I think the program is a tremendous value to our community. A great way of connecting the talent that is leaving the market with the up-and-coming talent that is currently in the field.”
Project ask: Choices’ Board lacks experience in board governance, while the staff does not have the time or resources to educate the board in their roles and responsibilities.
Project outcomes: The Encore Louisville team made specific recommendations to the Choices Inc. board on how to improve governance.
Project ask: ChooseWell Communities, Inc. (CWC) requested the expertise of an Encore Louisville team to analyze the benefits of an organizational framework for strategic partnerships with other area organizations who share CWC’s vision for drug-free homes for families with children under the age of 3.
Comments from Stephanie Barnett, Co-Founder, ChooseWell Communities:
Project outcomes: The team affirmed the community need for our organization’s mission. They engaged other community partners to discern whether/how we might collaborate to achieve desired outcomes more quickly and effectively. They offered very objective insights on our organization’s need to clarify our vision and focus energies. They connected us with at least one prospective funder for two key projects.
“The level of expertise and focus dedicated to our organization at this vital phase of our evolution were invaluable. Our Encore Louisville team learned and listened so intently and compassionately! It was inspiring to watch how our limited encounters led to such rich outcomes and recommendations. They collaborated well with one another and catalyzed their existing community connections to advance and affirm our work. We’ve been able to crystallize and accelerate key strategic priorities as a result. This would have taken months without our Encore Louisville team.”
Project ask: COPES wanted the Encore Louisville team to examine their program service delivery methods and strategic alliances in order to refine strategy for engaging local employers to train and hire graduates from their program. The ultimate goal was creating personal and family self-sufficiency that reduces community costs for public assistance and prison recidivism.
Comments from Ted Strader, Executive Director, COPES:
Project outcomes: We received effective critical thinking skills from a great mix of skilled individuals from a variety of backgrounds. Their insights proved very helpful to rethinking our service delivery, board involvement and new marketing strategies in a changing service delivery environment. We gained helpful fresh perspectives regarding possible collaborations and new possible approaches our organization can adopt to becoming more responsive. Our state is experiencing pretty dramatic change in the political landscape. I believe our board and staff alike were energized in our respective roles to plan for more positive long-term approaches to program sustainability and succession planning.
“First, I deeply appreciate the insight Leadership Louisville has shown by creating this vital and helpful use of enormous talent for local non-profits. By design you are encouraging growth, development and long range success across a number of service providers and creating a sense of “community” that transcends any single special interest or cause, that actually extends to all causes. The cumulative value to our community far exceeds the sum of all the recipient organization estimates. Through our participation, we have been validated and have come to realize how we (and each other participating organization) can be seen as a special part of a larger fabric that is a deeply caring professional community serving our entire population. Your experienced volunteers are shining examples of selfless giving that is worth more than anything money can buy.”
Project ask: JFCS requested assistance with the strategic process of developing a program that uses volunteers to expand and diversify the social networks of low-income clients engaged in employment, career and micro enterprise development programs.
Comments from Judy Tiell, Executive Director, Jewish Family & Career Services:
Project outcomes: The team helped us define a volunteer engagement program for refugee career seekers. This program will help to develop a process to create more social networks for people who lack them in their natural environment.
“This was a great opportunity to have strategic thinkers who are outside of the organization help us think through an idea and help develop a process.”
Project ask: The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage requested the assistance of Encore Louisville in refining and enhancing its strategic plan, as well as growing and promoting its unique and powerful brand throughout the state of Kentucky, and nationally.
Comments from Aukram Burton, Executive Director of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage:
Project outcomes: The Encore Louisville team gave valuable advice in three key areas necessary for KCAAH to grow. These key areas include:
1. Board Development
In the area of board development the Encore Louisville Team provided excellent advice about strategic planning for KCAAH’s board; provided a draft elevator speech so that everyone is on the same page; and provided a list of suggested names to consider for board recruitment.
Under the area of funding, the team recommended ideas for developing a fundraising plan and gave advice on how KCAAH can solidify current funding streams and to expand joint venture partnerships.
Lastly, the team recommended the following areas that KCAAH should focus on expanding its personnel: Exhibits/program Coordinator; Development Assistant; and Social Media Coordinator. The also recommended that KCAAH consider acquiring a VISTA Volunteers.
“Encore Louisville is an excellent program that provides a platform for experience educational and business leaders an opportunity the share their experiences with non-profits needing advice and technical assistance. It is a wonderful vehicle to harness the collective experience of dynamic leaders in our community.”
Project ask: Our Board of Directors is currently undergoing a transition, and while they have recently adopted new by-laws and have a broad plan to bring on new board members, we are lacking a long-term vision, goals for future board development, and struggling to implement board lead committees.
Comments from Shelby Russell, Executive Director, Kids Cancer Alliance:
Project outcomes: The Encore Team gave our organization an action plan and resources in order to successfully set-up a Board Recruitment Committee and recruiting processes to continue to grow our Board of Directors and move our organization forward.
“The Encore program is a true asset to the community and to non-profits. We are so very lucky to have this program that allows individuals transitioning into retirement to give back and use their skills, knowledge, and expertise to advance our community.”
Project ask: We would like Encore Louisville to help us convey the relevance of what we offer to thought leaders and our community in general – namely, an in depth understanding and timely reporting of socio-political developments around the world.
Comments from R. Brayton Bowen, board chair of the Louisville Committee on Foreign Relations:
Project outcomes: The Encore team helped us to sharpen our sense of self, our brand, and our intentions going forward. As a result of the conversations we had, we conducted a survey of our membership to appreciate what they like about the organization and what they would like to see more of. They affirmed the quality of the programming and the intellectual capital we offer. We plan to follow through on some of the recommendations from the team and our members: e.g., rebuilding the website; attracting younger members; on-line registration; and engaging the media on a selective basis to further the identity and reputation of our Committee.
“The program value is significant, both for the team and for the organizations they advise.”
Project ask: The Louisville Metro WIC Program must increase the number of WIC-eligible women and children who enroll and participate in the WIC Program to ensure ample funding for the program and maximize access to nutrition education and nutritious foods for at-risk children in Louisville.
Comments from Leanne French, Interim Deputy Director, Public Health and Wellness at Louisville Metro Government:
Project outcomes: Our team provided concrete actionable steps to improve our organizational processes, client engagement, and staff relations. They encouraged us to be clear and concise with messaging and to stay mission focused.
“Assisting non-profits build business and management savvy helps improve capacity to improve service effectiveness and efficiencies. Our Encore team emphasized the importance of the voice of the client, including ways to engage them and respond accordingly. The level of managerial and business expertise our team/program provided was helpful, inspiring and supportive.”
Project ask: The Encore Louisville team would be instrumental in helping Olmsted Parks Conservancy develop a strategy for new revenue source(s) that will strengthen the operating budget, either through a new fundraising event or an alternative source of income.
Comments from Mimi Zinniel, President/CEO, Louisville Olmsted Parks Conservancy:
Project outcomes: The Encore Team helped us brainstorm ideas for generating additional revenues. While some of the meetings with us seemed less productive, the final meeting produced solid, actionable strategies which we will employ moving forward.
“I think this is a great program, helpful as much to the consultants (probably) as to the non-profits. What a smart way to not waste the experience and knowledge gathered by so many smart people.”
Project ask: In the beginning of its 50th year, LYC is challenged with decades of alumni and how to engage them in the current LYC community. While there are alumni-specific programs in place, LYC wants to better connect with these individuals in a meaningful way. Given the age range of the alumni database, “meaningful” may be different to each generation.
Comments from Terri Foster, Artistic/Executive Director for the Louisville Youth Choir:
Project outcomes: The team brought several creative/innovative ideas to our alumni growth project. They then established actionable steps to achievement for these ideas. Most importantly, they delivered these items to our board. They also met with our board on the front end of the project to be sure of the board’s commitment to the work and of the board’s alignment of desired outcomes for the project.
“This is a wonderful program with seasoned visionaries–thank you for their good work!”
Project ask: The organization requested assistance with marketing strategy, messaging, branding and developing a set of collateral materials to help The Fund raise awareness and increase involvement in their work. Primary audiences include potential donors and educators.
Comments from Barbara Bellissimo, CEO, The Fund for Transforming Education:
Project outcomes: Clear and concise messaging by audience. Actionable suggestions regarding collateral development and taxonomy Recommendations for revamping our website to match the messaging
“The Encore Louisville team recommended clear and concise messaging for each of our target audiences. They provided actionable suggestions regarding collateral development and taxonomy. In addition, they provided recommendations for revamping our website to match the messaging.”
Project ask: Assist the YMCA in integrating operating systems and staff culture in the cases of a consolidation at the department, Branch, or organizational level.
Comments from Steve Tarver, CEO, YMCA of Greater Louisville:
Project outcomes: This project was to offer feedback to senior leadership of the YMCA of Greater Louisville related to a recent merger approved in Dec, 2015. Multiple touch points were maintained such that feedback could be utilized even before a final report was provided. The group accepted an additional assignment to do an additional focus group that was not initially part of the project plan. We were grateful for this flexibility. Key elements of the report included: – Natural concerns of staff going thru a merger – Areas where threats might exist – Methods of communication that might help in promoting transparency and clarity. Recommendations were specific and actionable and several have been instituted already.
“Without this opportunity, we would not have chosen to use outside consulting feedback for this purpose. It has greatly enhanced our journey as we consolidate our organizations. Thanks to our team members and to Leadership Louisville for providing this opportunity.”