Case Study - Project: VISION

The Mission

Project: VISION, Inc. (PV) was founded in 2003 with a mission to help youth ages 12-21 of Chicago’s Chinatown, Bridgeport, and surrounding communities reach their full potentials by providing them with tools for educational, personal, and civic development.

PV currently provides 200 middle school and high school youths with a variety of programs including after school tutoring, college and career readiness, service learning, and leadership training.

Since 2004, PV has helped more than 650 youths, who are primarily from low-income, first-generation immigrant families, overcome the challenges to becoming first generation college students by providing access to opportunities as well as guidance and support as they work toward their educational and career goals.

The Partnership

In November 2017, Impaktfel started working with Project: VISION to help address some long standing challenges that PV has faced. Their leadership and staff were eager to break the status quo and innovate. Over the following months and to this day, we have partnered with the PV staff in several areas to deliver outcomes that has led to sustained success toward their mission.

 

Working with Impaktfel has been an incredible experience for Project: VISION. From the beginning, it was obvious that the Impaktfel team truly cared about helping us increase the impact of our organization’s work. In the exploration phase, the team took the time to understand our challenges in a holistic way and then quickly helped us identify several areas of solutions that could be worked on right away. For us as a smaller organization with limited resources, prioritization and finding ways to maximize results from time invested were very important.

The Impaktfel team helped us make tangible small changes quickly, including introducing simple technology tools, guiding us through a website redesign, implementing methods to prioritize fundraising projects, and empowering our small staff to make changes to improve their daily workflows, just to name a few. The team didn’t just give us a set of solutions; they were present all along the way, helping us with the implementation, listening to our feedback, and guiding us through tweaks to make the solutions truly work for us.

Thanks to Impaktfel, our leadership and staff teams feel rejuvenated, ready to tackle our challenges, and bring the mission to even more youth in our community. We are excited to continue working with Impaktfel and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together!

Karen Chiu

Executive Director | Co-Founder, Project: VISION

High Performing and Engaged Teams

Challenge

People are the lifeline of an organization and the reasons why your mission will ultimately succeed or fail. Like in many other nonprofits, the PV staff was under resourced which caused many of them to wear different hats.

With all these responsibilities, it’s natural for people to put their heads down to get the work done. But this has costs in the long run where team members start to lose sight of the mission and common goals, not to mention how best to work as a unified team and with each other.

People Outcomes
  • Facilitated a team building exercise where the PV staff created a team alliance based on values important to them. With a better understanding on how to work together as a team and with each other, they identified important aspects of the culture they wanted to create and next steps to address any gaps.
  • Introduced light-weight software tools to enhance collaboration within the organization. This has made communication much more efficient at the staff and board levels, allowing for more organic interactions and increased productivity.
  • Empowered team members to make quick, impactful changes by introducing Agile concepts into their daily work

Optimized Processes

Challenge

With all the unrelenting work that a nonprofit like PV can experience, it can be easy to lose sight of strategic and long term goals. To get the work done, actions become more tactical and shortcuts are tolerated in order to serve your mission.

PV needed help in resetting, to focus again on strategic goals that would result in more sustainability across the organization.

Strategy Outcomes
  • Implemented Agile into PV’s strategic and day-to-day operations, leveraging Scrum ceremonies to better organize their work and time. Empowered and trained staff to run their own ceremonies and build a continuous improvement environment:
    • Ensured success for projects by story mapping complex initiatives to understand scope, complexity, and prioritization
    • Operated in 2-week sprints to plan/set attainable goals to better deliver on the team’s work
    • Stand-ups increased transparency, fostering more collaboration to help unblock issues and make progress
    • Retrospectives helped the team regularly reflect on how they were doing, leading to new learnings and frequent experimentation to develop potential solutions
  • Demonstrated methods to get to the root cause of pain points and issues, helping PV prioritize and act on its most critical work.
  • Provided better visibility and accountability of project work, by leveraging user-friendly, easy to adopt project management software
Challenge

With so many avenues to secure funding as a nonprofit, chasing money can seem never ending. Where should you focus your time and effort? Which options are your best bet for success?  The fundraising and development arms of PV were under immense pressure to secure funding with limited resources and needed help.

Development Outcomes
  • Developed and implemented a proprietary scoring model that helped PV staff understand the expected return on time invested for all potential funding initiatives
  • From grants, to one off events, PV was able to evaluate all past, current and future potential efforts, and refocus their development staff on channels with higher expected returns
  • Worked with fundraising committee and executive management to develop new solutions to funding challenges, focused on accountability and maximizing their successful efforts to increase return on time invested

Innovative Culture

Challenge

A website is the first impression, and often the only impression, an organization can make with people potentially interested in its mission. A great website can exemplify credibility. As with many nonprofit websites, PV’s website was simply outdated in all aspects, from design, performance, to maintainability.

Most importantly, the website did not allow PV to best promote its mission, while lacking the functionality to turn interested parties into donors and supporters. This resulted in lost opportunities that PV couldn’t afford to lose.

Innovative Outcomes
  • Facilitated a complete redesign and upgrade of the Project: Vision website:
    • Created an exciting design that is engaging to visitors and responsive on all devices, while being fast with enhanced SEO
    • Enhanced storytelling abilities through imagery and visually appealing design to better connect the audience to PV’s mission, programs, and events
    • Implemented fully functional fundraising capabilities to turn supporters’ energy into donations and action
    • Enabled PV staff to make any changes needed on their site using a tool that requires limited technical knowledge. Since the website launch, the staff has added exciting new content, including multiple fundraising campaigns, on their own. This saves potential future costs in hiring a web developer or relying on volunteers’ time to manage the site.
Challenge

PV has mountains of data regarding its programs, operations, donors, and volunteers that was overwhelming them. With an influx of new data almost daily and only manual methods to try to manage the data, it was becoming increasingly difficult to make sense of it all.

PV needed a data management solution to help make the data they had both meaningful and useful, in order to serve their students and to report to their stakeholders.

Innovative Outcomes
  • Developed data models for PV’s program and donor data to confirm what exact data was necessary and valuable to help the staff run the programs and allow them to engage supporters better
  • Evaluated potential CRM solutions to meet PV’s data management and reporting needs
  • Implemented Salesforce Nonprofit Success Pack to manage PV’s program and donor data, leading to significant time savings around data collection, operations, and reporting
Challenge

With volumes of financial transactions flowing in and out of PV’s book daily, it was challenging to keep track of everything manually with spreadsheets. It was difficult to get a snapshot of their financial status at any point of time.

They needed an easier way to categorize revenues and expenses by programs, by donor purpose (restricted vs. unrestricted), and by expense functionality (program, fundraising, administration). More importantly, PV needed to efficiently produce meaningful financial reports for their different stakeholders.

Financial Outcomes

 

  • Evaluated possible online accounting solutions that could work with PV’s situation. QuickBooks Online (QBO) Plus was chosen to best fit PV’s bookkeeping needs.
  • Developed Chart of Accounts, Classes, Product and Services in QBO to precisely record and categorize financial transactions
  • With accurate categorization, producing financials for IRS 990, grant submissions, and real-time tracking of cash flow will be streamlined and accessible on-the-go