Aligning a nonprofit’s business operations with its mission

An SIR Case Study | Back to OUR WORK


SIR Client: Goodwill Industries of Central and Coastal Virginia (GCCVA)

Challenge: In 2015, Goodwill recognized a need to increase public awareness about its core mission: helping people help themselves through the power of work. Rather than spend precious nonprofit dollars on marketing alone, GCCVA leaders invested in long-term strategic planning. In doing so, they aimed to strengthen how well the organization’s business operations align with its mission — to not only say what they do, but also do what they do better.

Action: Like many SIR engagements, what started out as just research soon turned into comprehensive strategy work:

  • SIR was originally hired to conduct interviews among Goodwill’s various stakeholders — from donors to staff to board members — to identify overall perceptions, needs, and opportunities.
  • Yet our findings revealed a real need to assess GCCVA’s performance against its mission. We quickly ramped up our efforts, conducting an impact analysis through additional in-depth qualitative research among business partners, employees, and others. 
  • Once again, our findings showed an even bigger opportunity. Goodwill could significantly increase its impact through a complete transformation of its business model and structure. SIR partnered with process engineers to execute on a business process improvement approach. 
  • During this process, we helped Goodwill design a new four-pronged vision to workforce development: recruiting, preparing, matching, and supporting its employees to improve their skills and the organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission.

Results: Less than two years later, Goodwill began incorporating SIR’s recommended changes into the operations of its 34 stores and main office. Changes included reorganizing its staffing structure, investing in new mission-oriented partnerships and facilities, and developing better metrics for measuring results. Goodwill vice president John Dougherty said of the project, “The structure is in place. The processes and people are in place. Now it’s about putting everything into practice with fidelity.”

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