Housing Assistance Corporation Blog

Editorial: Aligning Our Goals, Strengthening Our Mission

Posted by Alisa Galazzi on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 @ 04:41 PM
HAC Goals-2 Edited.pngHAC staff take part in a recent goal-setting workshop under the direction of Nathan Herschler. 

As the new CEO at HAC, my vision is to improve the agency so that it continues to be a high-performing agency that consistently delivers meaningful, measurable, and financially sustainable services to our clients.

This month, I’ve been pleased that the entire agency has gone through a multi-tiered team-building exercise focused on goals. I put together a list of seven areas for us to look at as we identify goals for the coming year: HAC’s staff; financial operations; data collection and analysis; collaboration and customer service; process improvement; program outcomes; and external evaluation.

To take the staff through the goals process, I brought in Nathan Herschler , who is the full-time director of program operations for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). At IFAW, Nathan manages the annual budgeting process, coordinates program planning, monitoring, evaluation, and overseas compliance with government funding.

Having an outsider with his level of expertise analyze HAC’s work is an invaluable tool that will lead to internal efficiencies which will ultimately benefit HAC’s clients.

Nathan volunteered his time—more than 50 hours!—to help HAC staff draw up goals in the seven areas.

How did we get free help from such a highly qualified individual? In Nathan’s own words, he said he wanted to help because, “HAC is such an important part of the community. I wanted to do whatever I could to support the team and its mission.”

Nathan led short sessions with each department to look at their strengths and the challenges they face. The sessions also took this review a step further by evaluating the agency as a whole.

Nathan explained his work with HAC this way: “This goal-setting exercise is just part of an iterative planning, action, and learning process aimed at continuously improving the services provided by HAC. In the end, all nonprofits are looking to maximize the amount of quality program service they can deliver to their stakeholders. Good planning leads to effective action which leads to impact for those HAC serves.”

Each department presented their goals at an all-staff meeting on June 22. Those goals will be used to to measure our impact, build upon strengths, and mitigate challenges over the course of the next fiscal year.

Through this important undertaking, we are strengthening and building resources so that HAC will continue to thrive and serve our community.

Tags: Alisa Galazzi, HAC Goals, team building, strategic planning

Rick Presbrey's Editorial: Strategic Planning

Posted by Chris Kazarian on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 @ 09:18 AM

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The title of this month’s “editorial” is not exactly eye catching! But the subject matter can be interesting and I will try to make it so.

Every five years we embark on an effort to create a new strategic plan. The purpose of the plan is to rethink the way we do things so that we can hopefully do things better.

In carrying out a strategic planning process we usually hire a facilitator, conduct focus group discussions, and interview perhaps 20 people including staff, board members, donors and others in the community who are either interested in the work we do or in some way have a connection to what we do.

This year we have begun talking to four possible facilitators: two men, two women; two from off Cape and two from on Cape, with a plan to begin the approximately six month process in October. In our discussions with candidates, two board members and myself have identified five areas of possible focus.

First, succession planning. Of our six senior managers several will likely be retiring during the next strategic planning cycle including myself. Two problems are obvious: when a founder has been with an organization for 40 years (me) there is bound to be turmoil when the new person comes in no matter how good he or she may be. Second, with senior managers that have more than 100 years of combined experience with HAC retiring, we lose a lot of knowledge, expertise, talent and commitment. The possible problems that these issues present have to be anticipated and planned for.

Second, sustainability. Can HAC continue to do the work it does using the present financial model? Our largest source of income is public grants. Many of these grants do not increase to cover annual costs and some may even disappear altogether. We also receive foundation grants, charitable gifts, and some enterprise earnings. What should the balance of those four sources of revenue be going forward? Should we seek to increase enterprise earnings for example? And, if so, should those enterprises always be directly connected to our mission?

Third, changing needs in our community. The Cape is aging and losing many in their 20’s and 30’s. Our main focus in the past has been serving the poorest of the poor, but increasingly we see many with moderate incomes who cannot find housing that they can afford. Do we focus more on that population as well?

Fourth, increasing board involvement. Often with a long-time managing executive, boards tend to hand over more responsibility to the senior executive partly because they have learned to trust what he or she can do and how they do it. With new senior managers taking over in the next few years the board cannot allow itself to feel so confident. That requires more time and more involvement.

Fifth, new approaches. HAC has served about 10,000 people each year and about 160,000 during our 40 years of operation. We have done a good job, but many things still need to be improved. We must find better ways to do what we are now doing, and new directions and approaches that make us even more effective. Should we do more housing analysis and regional planning? Should we even consider doing things outside of housing?

If you have made it this far you might want to think about what you have just read and send in your thoughts to me at rpresbrey@haconcapecod.com Thanks.

Tags: HAC, Rick Presbrey, strategic planning