Challenge:

It’s Time Texas (ITT) is a state-wide nonprofit with a mission of creating, leveraging and distributing free tools, services, and programs to drastically improve health and wellness. The organization is faced with several areas of weakness in operations and project management due to funding restrictions (many of their funding sources are program specific) and the limited bandwidth of their 25-person staff.

The nonprofit partnered with Sense Corp to evaluate some of their operational activities to enhance the services they could provide. To start the project, Sense Corp needed to understand the current state of the company. Sense Corp commenced an assessment of the company’s operations through interviews and surveys that documented pain points, time consuming areas, tools/application use, data/file storage, and an operational wish list. Upon gathering this information, the following was discovered:

  • Across the organization’s thirteen divisions/programs, the processes were often unstandardized and undocumented. Information was decentralized, inaccessible, and missing, resulting in inconsistent reporting metrics and decreased communication.
  • The technology landscape was varied and the team identified 40+ technology tools being used. This created siloes of information that drastically decreased communication between divisions and inhibited information sharing.
  • From a reporting perspective, the budget was complicated, and ITT was relying on tracking and reporting that was not standardized across the company. With their current processes, it took far too many employee-hours to accurately understand their profit and correctly allocate spend.

The biggest theme within the organization as a whole, was the unwavering dedication of the staff. Employees took on multiple roles and tasks that were supplemental to their job description. Despite any of the above operational issues, the team was dedicated to getting their work done and producing results. Sense Corp knew that if they could provide improved processes, the employees and organization could increase their productivity and accomplish more.

Solutions:

With an understanding of the organization’s needs and with feedback about possible solutions, Sense Corp finalized the following Action Plans:

  • Defined Profit and Loss (P&L) report and funder field financial mappings were created to enhance ITT’s ability to quickly determine the financial state of the company and divisions.
  • Expense process diagrams and category mappings to standardize processes and expense categories across ITT were developed.
  • A Project Management Toolkit gave the team members all the tools necessary to efficiently run projects in the future.
Financials

The team conducted several discovery sessions with the ITT team and their outsourced financial department to create workflows for expense processes, financial reporting definitions, and internal/external report mappings. The P&L report, mapped funder reports and expense process diagrams aim to help the organization understand and code their expenses. One of the issues that the nonprofit was facing was not knowing enough about money coming in and out, and how it was being spent from one department to the next. Sense Corp recommended a defined P&L reporting structure and a way to map this information. Additional templates showed how to allocate cost when working with other organizations and workflow diagrams for contractor invoicing.

The process of documenting and standardizing how to code income and costs equips the nonprofit with tools to better understand their impact, and efficiently manage their resources.

Project Management Tools

To standardize project management and outline a process for decisions making, the SCORE team provided ITT with Project Management Tools that would act as a guide for proposing and approving new programs/projects. This toolkit includes templates and a step-by-step checklist that guides the team from project initiation to close:

Project Management Model.

  • Business Case: Follow the Business Case Template to describe why the project is needed ( See out It’s Time Texas Partner Program Case Study to see how this is used)
  • Project Approval: Obtain approval from leadership
  • Planning Phase: Plan how the project will be completed. Use the Business Plan Template and Project Plan tabs in the Project Toolkit
  • Execution Phase: Completing and monitoring the project. Use the Project Toolkit, Meeting Notes, and Status Report Template
  • Close: Update all documents and store in a closed folder

These project management tools and templates were used by Sense Corp to build a business case for a new ITT partnership program, demonstrating the operational efficiency of the deliverables.

Results

With templates, toolkit and diagrams created, the nonprofit was eager to start using these resources right away.

The organization was able to meet with their outsourced financials department on definitions/reporting. The reports and spreadsheets were used as conversation guides to drill down needs and expectations. Previous confusion points were cleared up, as the diagrams and model were able to effectively communicate and streamline processes.

Using the Project Management Tools, the organization outlined how they would improve their recruiting/hiring process. With the project management template, they not only specified the standards to be hired for a position but defined a formal process for onboarding that would improve retention and setup incoming employees/contractors for success.

The Chief Strategy Officer had the following to say about the team and deliverables, “We had such a great experience with this program and are so grateful to the team of talented analysts who worked with us this summer. The operational improvements project far exceeded our expectations, and thanks to the actionable suggestions provided, we will be able to take a huge leap forward more quickly than we thought possible.”

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