2013 Year-in-Review

Posted on 21. Jan, 2014 by in Our Approach

2013 was a fulfilling and busy year for Impact Strategies Group!

At ISG, we support people and organizations working across sectors to address public problems. In our role, we focus on Money. Message. Common Mission. As we reflect on a year of supporting fundamental change on critical social issues, here are some highlights:


  • Supporting generative conversations to guide nonprofit lending and financial training strategy. For the Nonprofits Assistance Fund, we conducted a landscape scan of competitors and peers, interviewed organizational stakeholders, and facilitated planning conversations with a task force of community experts, all to inform NAF’s new strategic plan. 
  • Assessing the viability of a profit-generating mobile technology center. We conducted a market analysis and interviewed potential customers to evaluate the feasibility of a local service provider generating enough income to be self-sufficient or even turn a profit.


  • Telling the story of creative, long-term public health initiatives. As part of the final wrap-up of a 2012 client engagement with Minnesota Department of Health and the Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, we published an article in Public Management magazine sharing lessons learned across several successful communities.
  • Curating pertinent content to inform foundation decision-making. We spent the end of each week in 2013 curating relevant weekly news content from New Mexico for key staff of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Common Mission.

  • Prioritizing a set of integrated strategies to ensure college and career readiness in all Minneapolis youth. We worked for most of 2013 supporting AchieveMpls as it worked through several key strategic questions for the organization, including facilitating meetings, conducting interviews, and writing a strategy and implementation plan.
  • Crafting a member-informed plan for growth for a membership organization that connects women working in African affairs. We supported the executive director of the Diaspora African Women’s Network (DAWN), a dynamic membership organization, in developing a case statement and strategy for growing DAWN’s presence nationally and internationally.
  • Building bridges across sectors with the premier social enterprise membership association. We supported the all-volunteer Twin Cities’ chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance in the development of its marketplace initiative strategy and pilot, designed to raise the impact and visibility of local social enterprises. We also supported the Twin Cities’ chapter of SEA in planning and hosting the annual national Summit.
  • Enhancing the capacity and strategy of Minneapolis’ only Latino-focused charter high school. Mid-year, we were hired to facilitate the strategic planning process for El Colegio Charter School as it focuses all its efforts on improving learning and leadership development opportunities for its students. We conducted interviews with board members and several students, facilitated a board retreat and committee meeting, and documented their strategic plan.

And other fun stuff…

  • Presenting our ideas to inspiring, energizing people. Colleen traveled to Yankton, SD to present on entrepreneurship and economic development at the Wire Me Awake Conference. Sarah made a few local appearances, presenting to Twin Cities young professionals at YNPN-TC’s Five Minutes Hell event and at the Minnesota Rising Un/Conference. Check out some of our thoughts & ideas.
  • Welcoming new babies! Colleen’s third child, Alexandra, was born in October. She is a delight and proved to be the centerpiece of many ISG meetings in the final months of the year, despite her own oblivion as she snoozed through them all. Sarah became an aunt in July to baby Reed, and will gladly show you a picture at any time.
  • Serving alongside visionary peers. Sarah served her first term on the board of directors of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network – Twin Cities; highlights include serving on a small task force to incorporate YNPN-TC as a Minnesota nonprofit corporation and planning the annual board retreat. Colleen was appointed to the Oversight Committee for the State of Minnesota’s Pay for Performance Program and also closed out a fantastic year with her esteemed policy fellow colleagues at the Humphrey School’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance.

Want to be on this list in 2014?

Intrigued by what you’ve read here? We’d love to talk with you! Drop us a line if you would like to talk about collaborating on a project in 2014. 

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