Johnson Consulting Services - Jill Johnson - Non-Profit ConsultingNon-Profit Consulting

Our non-profit consulting clients include a wide array of community and human services organizations. We work with our clients to understand the market forces transforming the needs of the communities they serve.  

Our work has enabled our clients to reassess how the changing needs of their local community impacts the services they offer and what they need to change to better meet community. Our consulting work has helped numerous non-profit organizations achieve greater social impact and meet broader community needs.

Non-Profit Consulting Success Stories:

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Challenge: Two non-profit organizations in New York were considering a merger. The executive leaders of both groups and their members were becoming increasingly distressed about the direction in which the discussions were going and needed objective insight to help them better focus the process and make sure they were making the right decision.

JCS Solution: We reviewed the deliberation process and talked with all parties involved in it. We identified critical differences in communication styles, differences in assumptions made in the planning process, a lack of consensus agreement on the overall strategic direction for the merged organization, and fundamental differences in the cultures of both groups. We discovered the two organizations were communicating with their members in a very different manner and the lack of balance in the dissemination of information to both groups had increased the frustration and confusion among the membership. Despite their intentions, the approach toward the negotiations by one of the organizations, and many of the assumptions regarding staffing and operations, had created the appearance that the merger would actually be an acquisition of the other group. We recommended that the process be slowed down and suggested a variety of steps to restructure the process to ensure that members of both organizations would get their needs met.

Results: The organizations restructured their approach to the merger discussion and focused on ensuring that the new organization would effectively represent their collective interests. The two organizations did merge and successfully integrated their membership, leadership and staff.

Challenge: A major Twin Cities community services non-profit retained Johnson Consulting Services to assess the effectiveness of one of its major services to its members and provide an independent review of the impact of this program on the broader community. This program represented a joint effort by the non-profit’s offices in Minneapolis and St. Paul to provide information services to the health and human service community in the Twin Cities.

JCS Solution: We conducted a focus group and in-depth one-on-one interviews with key customers to identify their perceptions of the effectiveness of the program and their expectations of their future needs for these services. We worked with the internal staff to identify issues that impacted the services, evaluated their comfort level with its current strategic direction and reviewed operational changes that would need to be made to better meet customer needs. We identified key issues impacting the non-profit’s ability to effectively serve its customers. We recommended specific strategies to take advantage of the opportunities we uncovered during our research and prioritized the next steps for action to resolve critical issues.

Results: Our candid assessment was used by management to maximize the value of this service, strengthen the service delivery and enhance the operation of the program. Our recommendations were used to enhance its customer service and augment the service offerings.

Challenge: A nearly 100-year old non-profit organization needed to reassess its mission and strategies in light of the significantly changing needs of its clients.

JCS Solution: We worked with management to conduct a comprehensive historical review of the founder’s original intent for endowing the organization and evaluated its effectiveness in continuing to fulfill the original intention. This provided a basis for reviewing the organizational culture and clarifying the overarching strategies for the organization. Work for this client included a re-development of its mission statement, rewriting the vision statement and development of a set of guiding principals for the organization. In addition, a market evaluation of customer needs and a review of the market potential for the organization’s services were completed.

Results: The great-grandson of the founder, who has been a board member for over 40 years, told the board that what was developed could have been written by the founder himself. He felt this plan provided “formal clarity that balanced the past with the present” and “set the stage for a viable future.” We were later involved in the development of a formal 3-year strategic plan to achieve the revised vision and mission and worked with staff to prepare an annual action plan to specify the tactics to be used to achieve the strategic objectives. The board unanimously accepted the plan and staff morale improved significantly because they were more clearly focused to make a difference to the customers they serve.

Challenge: One of the most respected Private Clubs in America needed an objective assessment of one of its key profit centers. The Club’s General Manager and the Executive Committee of its board of directors want to assess how this area could be enhanced to drive membership to this 130 year old Club and contribute significantly to retaining existing members.

JCS Solution: We conducted a comprehensive review of this division’s programming, personnel and promotional messaging. We reviewed internal research to assess services needed and desired by members, as well as identified opportunities for revenue enhancement. Performance benchmarks were compared to comparable private clubs across the nation and to other identified key area competitors offering similar services in a less exclusive setting. In-depth interviews were conducted with all members of the division staff and with a representative sample of Club members.

Results: The board chairman, CEO for a $2 billion enterprise, and another member of the Executive Committee, a C-Suite executive for a Fortune 500 company, both called our work “exceptional.” It provided the General Manager with the insight he needed to make adjustments to this division to better meet the Club’s financial goals. Our consulting work for this client provided Club leadership with an exceptionally deep insight into revenue drivers not only for this division, but the entire Club as well.

Challenge: The President of one of the top private colleges in the Midwest retained Johnson Consulting Services to assess the effectiveness and reputation of its graduate school and to identify factors affecting their ability to market the graduate school programs.

JCS Solution: We researched the current and future demand for graduate education with representatives of government, regulatory agencies, as well as commerce and industry. We reviewed the changing economic and demographic characteristics of the university’s primary market area. We assessed the relative strength of other competitive graduate programs and conducted several focus groups to obtain feedback on the individual graduate programs from current students and alumni.

Result: Our work provided a candid assessment of each graduate program within the University. Our confidential study was used by the University President to completely revamp the graduate school and our report served as the foundation for hiring a new dean. The University President said our efforts were “important in laying the groundwork for the future of graduate education” at his institution. Today this University is nationally ranked among the nation’s Best Universities – Master’s category in the rankings of American’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

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