Case Number: 5-112-006(A), Year Published: 2012
HBS Number: KEL660
General Management, Nonprofit Management, Strategic Planning
The North Side Children’s Agency (NSCA) was a twenty-three-year-old nonprofit organization founded to serve very low-income working parents who qualified for income-based government child care subsidies. In support of its mission, the NSCA operated year-round, full-day child care programs at seven different sites for children from six weeks through twelve years of age. It employed a standard nonprofit governance model with a volunteer board of directors, each of whom was assigned to one of six committees, which functioned quite independently. After years of success, in 2004 the NSCA faced a serious cash shortage and its first deficit in a decade. Board members were not only surprised by the crisis but also unprepared to deal with the short- and long-term issues it raised. Board members required strong leadership to organize them to identify the causes of the crisis and think strategically about the organization’s response.
Anticipate how changes in the external environment and government policy can have an impact on a nonprofit’s operations and mission Identify ways to organize governance to maximize effectiveness and minimize blind spots Use strategic thinking to identify causes of a crisis and potentially redefine a nonprofit’s mission Identify the lack of control over funding and the overreliance on one funding source as primary pitfalls of nonprofits that deliver services paid for by the government
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