Each week, we'll bring you the perspective of a nonprofit in our THRIVE accelerator program and share a little about their organization.
Goochland Pet Lovers https://www.goochlandpetlovers.com/
Our Third Cohort of THRIVE: An Accelerator for Social Good, facilitated by our partners at The Spark Mill, began in early September. Each week, we'll feature a different nonprofit participant who will share their experience.
What are you hoping to get out of this program?
Jennifer Leigh Myers, Executive Director: Coming from a world that was not nonprofit, this is a new environment. I wanted to understand the difference between running a nonprofit vs business. This gives us a focused way to present questions in a way we haven’t looked at before.
Diana Barden, Volunteer and former Board Member: Designated, focused time where we can flesh out these problems and ideas to present to the board.
Deb Weymouth, Board Member: Clarification of a direction to take the nonprofit, to come up with a 2-5 year plan, and have all the board members know what we’re doing, where we’re going, and be in agreement.
Tell us about your experience in the program.
Jennifer: Seeing and hearing about always focusing on symptoms [was eye opening]. We’ve clearly been focusing on the symptoms since we're having the same issues. Now we can dig deeper to see what the root issue is.
Diana: I want to give a plug to our mentor Christie [Thompson, Partner at Campfire & Co.]. Having someone from the outside with a new perspective has been very valuable.
Deb: it’s been very positive and has us think a bit outside the box. Our mentor is helpful to see from the outside in and gave us great ideas so far.
This week’s session covered The “5 Why's”, which refers to the practice of asking, five times, why a situation has occurred in order to get to the root cause(s) of the problem. It illustrates the importance of digging down beneath the most obvious cause of the problem.
What did you learn, or feel spoke to you about today?
Diana: the methodology so far has been really helpful
Jennifer: It can be intimidating coming into something like this. You don’t know what you'll be asked. [CVA] is making it doable with smaller steps that build to a larger solution. It will be interesting to see what we came into the program with vs what we leave with. You’re giving us small challenges, which are helping us to build.
Diana: ...so we’re not jumping to the conclusion before we do the steps.
Deb: I liked that the questions had us dig a little deeper on the issues we have and need to solve. It may mean we reevaluate and redesign. For example, we now want to have each board member fill a specific role.
How do you see this applying to your organization?
Jennifer: For our board meeting this week, we will have the chair start by asking the 5 Whys, and instead of just asking the executive committee, we’re going to have the whole board answer to get a broader picture of the board’s engagement level.
Deb: The big why for us is Why are we here? Also, why is the board not as successful as what we projected it to be? Why do we not have a clear vision?
Jennifer: This process is a great way to engage the board who’re not present by sharing what we’re learning each week. [THRIVE] is helping us think of new ways to present organizational challenges to the board so they have input into our growth.
Mission:To sustain an effective partnership with Goochland County
to promote animal welfare and the humane treatment of animals through
innovative and educational programs, community engagement and financial support.
The THRIVE accelerator program provides an opportunity for nonprofits to look beyond current challenges and obstacles and plan out a direct and streamlined path forward. Organizations will tackles a specific hurdle they want to clear to get to the next level of impact with the community and will spend concentrated time with staff and board planning and executing real-time solutions with guided facilitation. We will utilize accelerator techniques to build a cohort-responsive program.
THRIVE was created through collaboration between The Collaboratory of Virginia and The Spark Mill.