By Andrea L. Sutcliffe
Along with everything else that came from the economic downturn, there were another two significant issues: the growing number of senior-level executives unable to find work while in transition and the needs of nonprofits facing reduced contributions. Where some saw crisis, others saw opportunity to connect the two – talent and need.
Using the concept of “service grants,” designed to improve the productivity and efficiency of selected charitable organizations, 630 senior executive consultants have been paired with 230 charitable organizations in need of their expertise. Executives have brought years of management experience to more than 350 targeted projects with an impact of $4 million. The impact is twofold, serving to strengthen nonprofit organizations and transforming the lives of highly skilled executives in the process.
Projects areas include strategic planning, finance, marketing, human resources and technology. There are measured results demonstrating the ROI to three primary customers – nonprofits, executives and investors. Upon completion of the project, the consultants and the nonprofits work together to document the impact of the project in a Project Closure Form that is signed by all parties. Documented results correlate to “hard” and “soft” outcomes and include non-quantifiable results such as other forms of meaningful contribution.
In order to ensure accountability on both the consultant and the nonprofit side, executives receive a very modest stipend. The stipend is paid through funds raised from foundation, corporation and third party donors. Participating nonprofits do not incur any fees.
Ongoing Benefits to the Community
The initial impact on the nonprofit does not always tell the real story, as the impact of the project tends to have an ongoing ripple effect in the community. Some recent examples include:
The senior level of expertise and talent has helped to advance the mission of numerous nonprofit organizations and has also been instrumental in changing the career paths of several executives who have taken permanent positions with the nonprofits they served. Other members continue to serve as board members and advisors. Consultants give back in other ways as well. Each month consultants attend a “Project Service Day” at a partner nonprofit and spend their afternoon volunteering. To date, executive consultants have contributed more than 680 hours of community service to the DFW community.
Nonprofit Organizations Continue to Rise
The number of registered 501(c)(3) organizations in North Texas has grown 68 percent in two years. The growth rate of the nonprofit sector has surpassed the rate of business and government sectors.
As many foundations have shifted their focus and distribution of grants, charities are now searching for ways to replace lost revenue. Private donations are down as well. Nonprofit organizations not only need financial contributors, but manpower. By giving back to the community, the executives hone their skills and provide a much needed service to the nonprofit.
Andrea Sutcliffe is the Executive Director of Executives in Action, based in Dallas. EIA was co-founded by Chris & Ashlee Kleinert with a mission to create and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with a wide variety of executives and nonprofit agencies. www.executivesinaction.org
Have you been to one of Amazon's 4-star stores? Texas's first opens today in Frisco. dallasnews.com/business/retai…