We help organizations move toward sustainable solutions to public problems through seven core impact strategies.

Business & Strategic Planning

Our planning services draw on years of experience with small, grassroots efforts as well as large institutional actors. With past clients as diverse as community-based organizations and local governments in developing countries to large foundations, state governments, and community-based organizations in the United States, we’ve seen and developed a slew of different ways to attack a problem. We bring fresh eyes and creative insights that help you find the breakthrough solutions you need. Our services include:

  • facilitating sessions to develop or revisit your mission and vision, and developing strategies to achieve those goals.
  • identifying unlikely partners whose interests align with yours and joining forces to create a stronger coalition.
  • managing strategic and business planning processes and writing plans.

Communications

The barrage of messages we receive from marketers and communications experts dramatically affects our feelings about the product or brand being sold – or, in our case, the cause being promoted and solution being championed. Your own communications efforts will either amplify and strengthen your work – or sabotage it.  We help you use this powerful tool to achieve your mission by:

  • identifying the market you need to reach and developing compelling messages that propel those individuals to a desired action.
  • creating content and creative distribution strategies for formal communication products (research reports, documentaries, annual reports, e-blasts, newsletters, etc).

Cross-Sector Partnerships

We all know that partnering across sectors and breaking down silos is important, but it’s also really hard when we have plenty to do just keeping up with our day jobs. Our team is battle-tested in that confusing grey space between organizations and sectors and we’d love to help you identify new opportunities to advance your work. In particular, we work with you to:

  • identify the actors and institutions with a shared interest in the work you do.
  • understand each actor’s motivations and incentives so that we create a partnership that keeps vital players at the table. We need everyone to commit to the same end goal, but we don’t need everyone to have the same motivation for achieving that goal. If there’s not something personally at stake for everyone, the group is unlikely to show the level of commitment needed to be successful.
  • sustain the group’s motivation. Groups often fizzle when the initial excitement wears off and the grind of the work sinks in. We help create a cohesive group and sustain the excitement and motivation necessary to keep partners coming back for more.
  • test emerging models. Colleen has frequently been tapped for her experience working with government and quasi-government offices of strategic partnership and foundation liaisons.  Read more here.

Open Conversations

Often, the work we do is built upon multiple unnamed assumptions and worldviews. Trained in Art of Hosting techniques, we delight in structuring opportunities for our clients to engage in deep and impactful conversation with their own team and with their partners. We craft conversations that help groups get to the heart of their purpose for existing and to develop strategies and tactics that connect to and flow directly from that purpose. From board and staff meetings to planning sessions to multi-stakeholder collaborative gatherings, we help foster an atmosphere and agenda that builds the strong and trusting relationships necessary for breakthrough results. Some of these techniques include:

  • World Cafe
  • harvesting
  • storytelling

Research & Analysis

A deep understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve is the first step toward a solution. We’re experienced researchers and writers, plus we’re naturally inquisitive and always up for a challenging assignment such as:

  • in-depth research projects, including interviews, focus groups, surveys, and writing.
  • content and structural editing of your research projects.
  • both internal work products and public documents.

Sustainable Revenue

We help our clients secure the money and resources necessary to thrive, not just survive. We want you to be able to spend less time scraping dollars together and more time solving the problems. We’ll work with you to identify new revenue opportunities that will set you on a path toward long-term financial sustainability. We can help you:

  • explore and implement new social enterprise and earned income streams
  • assess the viability and profitability of existing enterprises and decide whether to discontinue
  • sell your impact – articulate and capitalize on the monetizable value you create for a variety of actors. As Jason Saul writes, enter through a corporate partner’s front door, rather than the back.

Issue-Area Expertise

While our service lines can help you across any number of issue areas, our team has particular expertise in:

  • education policy
  • early childhood development
  • dual language learning and immersion education
  • healthy food systems
  • international migration and diaspora communities
  • local economic development
  • public health
  • public policy related to undocumented immigrants
  • social entrepreneurship, social innovation and creative place making

Our team writes and speaks on a number of these issues. You can also follow us on Twitter.

P.S.

We’re fun to work with. And we do great work. But don’t take our word for it.