"Barry provided keen insight on potential roles for our organization in the highly competitive and rapidly evolving field of sustainable fisheries. Most importantly, he helped us develop a practical business model that will allow for careful but highly impactful growth. " Bud Ris, CEO New England Aquarium
During the past several years, non-profit organizations have faced increasing pressures, as several funding sources have decreased or disappeared, while others have become more demanding. Philanthropists, foundations and other donors have increasingly begun to focus more on the results they will see from their philanthropic investments. They are seeking both effectiveness and accountability. To meet these demands, smart non-profits have begun to look to what have been traditional for-profit business processes, including developing strategic plans and business plans to help them accomplish their missions and satisfy funders.
Horwitz & Company LLC has been working with non-profits, both large and small, since 1995. Some examples of our work are summarized below. In addition to the work illustrated in these examples, we have frequently facilitated strategic planning off-sites and counseled non-profit leaders on improving management processes.
Business planning for growth opportunities
We developed business plans to realize growth opportunities for a leading national association in the healthcare field using a two-phased approach. In the first phase of this work, we identified opportunities for growth through extensive interviews with their current and prospective customers, industry thought-leaders, analysts and academics. Further analysis and secondary research helped size the opportunities and prioritize those of interest. Our report included a set of specific recommendations to the organization’s Board regarding where to invest for the greatest growth.
In a second phase of this work, we developed robust business models for the key growth opportunities that the organization is now using to drive their business. This work included a detailed analysis of the organization’s operations and the associated costs as well as further definition of the revenue potential. We provided detailed financial models to support budget and staffing decisions, investment timing, and likely ROI.
Business plan to create new advisory business
A prominent Boston-area non-profit organization had been providing guidance to the seafood buyers of a major supermarket chain on sustainable seafood issues for several years. As a result of that work and its reputation for sound scientific analysis of fisheries issues, the organization had begun receiving inquiries from a range of companies in the seafood business. The institution asked us for help in developing a business model that would enable it to expand significantly the impact of its work.
We did an assessment of their current activities and of other activities in the market related to sustainable seafood issues. We then worked closely with a team of senior managers at the organization to develop business plans for the creation and launch of a new advisory service that addresses the issue a different way than they had before. The new advisory service offering will enable them to more effectively help client company buyers make better decisions about sustainable sources of seafood. This service, due to be pilot launched with a few prominent clients, will also provide a revenue stream that will help support the research and other activities of this organization.
Business plans for phased growth
We worked closely with the founder/executive director and Board of a modest-sized dance school and production company to create a multi-year growth plan for the organization. The founder had a compelling vision and a great number of ideas, but limited resources. By engaging the Board, we developed a five year plan that provided an achievable growth path and critical milestones for achieving their goals. The organization has followed that plan for the past several years, and among other accomplishments, in 2006 they moved their main production into a mainstream Boston theater, where it received double the audience from the previous years.