Interim Leadership Contributes to Nonprofit’s Stability and Success

The Client

With a mission of preventing harm from unintentional poisoning, this Washington-based 501c3 non-profit organization is a statewide provider of immediate and expert treatment advice, via telephone, for exposure to any number of poisonous, hazardous, or toxic substances.

The Challenge

Like many nonprofits, our client sought new approaches for funding, operational best practices, staffing, and strategic planning. The Board of Directors brought us in to conduct an operational assessment, and to make strategic recommendations— which were reviewed and accepted. Shortly thereafter, the organization’s leadership team experienced changes including an unforeseen opening with their Executive Director.

The Solution

The client appointed their lead Strong-Bridge Envision consultant, Carrie Ulvestad, to the interim Executive Director position— as she had developed a strong understanding of their needs during the operational assessment and recommendations effort.

With the organization’s leadership team and collaboration with the Board of Directors, many of the approved recommendations were subsequently implemented, which included:

  • Balancing their budget in part by growing donation contributions through partnership programs, increasing state funding, and removing programs not vital to the mission
  • Amplifying awareness of the organization’s services by resurrecting statewide public education programs including adding targeted programs for older adults
  • Increasing collaboration and communication with other non-profit organizations and public health agencies in the region
  • Expanding the organization’s role in harm reduction by supporting efforts that were congruent to the mission and/or core competencies

To bolster the organization’s program and reach, Carrie, key Board Members and staff leadership actively sought out and met with local legislative and healthcare leaders, with similar organizations nationally, and with other public health agencies. These efforts helped in part to better communicate and solidify the organization’s role and contribution to improving public health across the region.

In addition, deeper review of the organization’s IT systems, human resource operations, and development plans were conducted with outside assistance — with the goal of improving security, streamlining and optimizing HR practices and compensation programs, and effectively use of funds for continued growth and success.

The Impact

Over the course of two years, the leadership team in partnership with the Board of Directors led dramatic positive improvement within the organization’s programs, services and financial position. The efforts surrounding IT and human resources resulted in upgraded IT systems, structured salary models and performance reviews, clarified job descriptions, and education reimbursement for staff. A revamped funding stream from hospital care partners yielded more than $300,000 in the first year.

The organization became an active partner with state and local leaders, public health organizations and first-responders to improve communication, share resources and insights, coordinate services and improve efficiency and effectiveness of services across the state. The staff have been published in scientific posters, with Carrie contributing to publications concerning funding, and outreach programs targeted to vulnerable populations. The overall position of this organization has expanded significantly in their programs and services, populations impacted, staffing strength, and role as a leader in the state’s public health for harm reduction and prevention practices.