Examine, diagnose, then plan your attack
No one needs another report stuck in a drawer. You need actionable items and a practical and customized path to growth. For this reason, we start off with an assessment. We’ve seen it all and know exactly what questions to ask so we can identify your strengths and weaknesses and help you prioritize your needs.
At Amsden Consulting, we don’t want you to pay us to do something if that something is not what you need. We want the work we do with your staff and board to be effective, relevant, and worthwhile; for that, we need to professionally and objectively examine your organization. Misdiagnosis means you end up paying for things that won’t effect change or worse, might undercut your growth.
Our signature assessment method provides a clear overview and diagnosis of your organizations’ operational capacity in a short window of time for a low set cost.
First, we examine fundraising and marketing plans and materials, current budgets and financials, giving patterns and revenue streams, current and former strategic plans, staffing structures—including job descriptions, salaries and benefits—and anything else you think is important for us to see. We also visit your offices or program site and interview staff.
Second, we conduct interviews with no less than six key stakeholders: executive staff, board members, major donors, etc. We work with you to identify the most relevant people for us to speak with and then talk to them about their challenges, frustrations and why they are passionate about your mission.
Finally, we create a written assessment and present our findings, in person, to the Executive Staff and Board of Directors. The assessment always contains our diagnoses, and perhaps most importantly, a prioritized list of ‘next steps’ that will put your organization on the path to growth. Depending on your needs, your assessment may also include an examination of comparable organizations, a broad calendar for implementation, articulated growth strategies, or various staffing scenarios.
Does the above seem like a lot?
Not to us. The 40–60 hour project can usually be accomplished in 4–8 weeks and provides us the insight we need to identify your needs and create actionable recommendations that will optimize your organization. Our experience has shown us again and again that self diagnosis is rarely accurate. You need an objective professional to help you clarify your needs before you embark on hiring staff, revamping that website or embarking on a planning process.
We know you need to be vigilant in the use of your funds. At Amsden Consulting, we are committed to helping you make smart decisions on a tight budget.
What happens after the assessment?
Once the assessment is complete and recommendations have been made, it’s time to make a critical decision: is your organization ready to move forward? Detailed planning, new branding, hiring in staff—all these things take an investment of time and resources. That said, we find that the clarity—and enthusiasm—that comes post-assessment spurs most of our clients to action. They are eager to start planning and get ‘un-stuck.’ This ‘phase two’ is where priorities start to be implemented and real change begins to take root.
Does Amsden Consulting remain involved?
That’s up to you. Our work in phase two is always completely customized to meet your organizations’ specific needs while being appropriately sized to your budget, timeline, and goals. There are many different ways to work together.
- We can work closely with the client for several months implementing the assessments’ priority recommendations—including creating detailed development and marketing plans, hiring staff, developing messaging, creating donor materials, facilitating strategic planning, board development, rebranding and much more!
- We can work on a specific stand-alone project, like facilitating a strategic planning process, doing a board training or building a website.
- We identify your needs as something that falls outside our area of expertise, then we help connect you to a professional in our network who can help.
- We can stay on in a limited capacity to help clients navigate the path we have laid out. This could include attending monthly board meetings or just having bi-weekly phone calls to keep everyone on track.
Focusing on priority tasks and investing in building blocks in meaningful ways will help you grow your organization and increase its impact in your community. How can we help after the assessment? read more…