Grow the Good Things

While on a drive through central Kansas in early summer, I couldn’t help but notice how well things were growing. We had an early spring and good growing conditions, so the corn and beans were healthy and ahead of the normal growing season. It was a good thing, too, because when the heat and drought hit, those early crops were important for getting through the season.

Good growing conditions work for organizations and their programs too.  In the past year, I’ve seen several programs that work and I really wanted to see them help more people. Growing your successful programs into bigger ones brings higher levels of impact from the good work you do.

To start your growing process, there are three things you need to consider to build funding capacity.

They are the foundations for your Capacity Blueprint.

  1. Have a model. – In one easy to read diagram, show how your program works.  This is where SmartArt can come in handy. Those diagrams can be perfect for depicting your program services, how to people find them, how they are delivered, and process of service delivery.  Another great thing about having your program documented in a diagram is that it make it easy to demonstrate to potential supporters exactly how they can have an impact.
  2. Program future – Let your imagination take over.  Grab your team and capture all their ideas on what your good program could become. Will it go international? Serve a new segment of the community? Act as a model for other programs? Become the basis for an online community?
  3. Target – Refine and select the program future most suited for your organization.

Including members of your program and operations team in the Capacity Blueprint Process brings the benefits of having input from everyone involved in the program.

You can grow with help from outside your organization, too!

Recently, three state legal organizations from Virginia, Kansas, and Arizona joined efforts to build capacity for military legal assistance. By combining their expertise, experience, and knowledge, the team is developing a model to share with bar associations across the country. The model includes ways to leverage technology, a suite of free online education on military law, a volunteer recruitment campaign, and best practices on how to build partnerships with law schools.  In its early stages, one state has identified over 12,000 people with military backgrounds who need legal assistance. Armed with the capacity model, strategies are being putting into place that will help more people throughout the state. Good program elements from three states have combined into one even better one.

Growing programs delivers value to your entire organization.

It provides a platform for engaging new donors and receiving new grants. It brings higher levels of awareness in your community and opens opportunities for engaging new partners and collaborations.  Best of all, it brings needed services to more people.  How will you create good growing conditions that will see you through a drought?

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2 comments
Harold Gardner
Harold Gardner

Being a country boy, I really liked the agricultural analogy. I think you are exactly right with this good advice.