Investing in Your Community

When running a service organization, choosing how to advertise or where to invest your networking and volunteer hours in your community can be overwhelming.

Someone once said, “If it ain’t fun, hire it done.” That’s one way to approach it that often works well when you find vendors that are aligned with your values. Another way? Look for your biggest return on your investment, while staying in line with your cash flow.

The total results of your decisions should be clear to a business analyst when reviewing:

  • trends in your tracking metrics
  • initial and ongoing costs in time and money
  • return on investment over a set time period (usually 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 18 months, 2 years) in time, money, and social capital

No matter which choices you make, there will always be another way to do it. You need to decide upon the best constellation of choices for your organization at any given point in time.

You will notice the big changes over time when:

  • People in your town ask about your organization when you are at the grocery store.
  • You need to add staff because the organization is so busy.
  • You lose count of how many second and third generations of the same family have all been clients.
  • The organization has a crisis and neighbors that you’ve never met come to the organization’s aid.
  • You hear stories of children pretending to be working at your organization.
  • You notice that, in your area, most everyone starts off at your organization as a matter of course, only switching to other referral resources necessary.
  • Clients who seek other resources speak highly of the referral resource staff for making the transition seamless and being so supportive of starting at your organization.
  • Clients with challenging situations, causing a transfer out of your service early in your relationship, speak highly of your referral to a great community resource who supports your client in the challenge.

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