(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
I founded Throw Like a Woman — Consulting with Social Impact (TLAW) four years ago as a way to support diverse communities by providing resources to nonprofits working for underrepresented populations.
Because of my background as a minority woman trained as a nonprofit professional — and because I’m the daughter of nonprofit community advocates — I felt compelled to explore the meaning of community as well as engender collaboration and strategic partnerships.
My mother, a geriatric nurse for a community clinic, and my father, the director of marketing for an organization for people with disabilities, created a culture of philanthropy. We did respite care for families who had children with autism and volunteered frequently, and I remember my penny jar that supported food insecure families.
My mindset is that of community building. How do I best affect change? How does that translate to community? What is community? (If you know me, you know I was asking these questions out loud.) A community could be a neighborhood, a disease group or a self-ascribed affiliation. It is my passion to support and represent groups.
I knew there were a few gaps in the market where TLAW could support nonprofits. Perhaps most significantly: Many organizations require a more thoughtful mechanism for planning. TLAW’s goal from the beginning was to offer free needs assessments to organizations that served women, minorities and ethnic groups as well as nonprofits with women or minorities in leadership positions so we could understand their impediments, objectives and perspectives.
Here’s what a needs assessment can help your organization do:
1. Understand your strengths and leverage your networks.
One of the keys to strong leadership and social impact is self-awareness and organizational understanding. We have found that providing needs assessments assists with leadership development, organizational planning, communications and branding.
2. Develop a tactical plan and strategy.
The roadmap you create for your organization should include concerns, objectives and a clear plan. You must establish timelines and metrics. What is ideal implementation? Bring together a team to evaluate and improve. Planning is a continuous cycle as an organization adapts to new demands, technology and the constant test of relevance.
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3. Learn to function more like a business — and in turn, businesses should learn to better leverage philanthropy.
On the nonprofit side, this means we focus on creating greater efficiencies, target marketing and considering mission and impact a product. In traditional nonprofit models, nonprofits are heralded for slow growth. However, we challenge that assumption and provide an alternative model for growth.
On the corporate side, we advise corporations on ways to better leverage philanthropy and build community. It is very easy to give to large nonprofits, set up matching programs and sponsor events. Instead, we want to build a culture of community and local philanthropy. Throw Like a Woman visits local companies, finds nonprofit matches for volunteer days, giving programs and events, and provides the marketing and content for both organizations.
If you think TLAW can help your organization with a free needs assessment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And in the meantime, please consider attending this panel we’re hosting on Thursday, March 30:
- What — Nonprofit Health: Women Leaders’ Strategies for Organizational Wellness
- Where — WeWork, 1900 Market Street
- When — 6:30 p.m.
- Who — Featuring Twist Out Cancer’s Jenna Benn Shersher, Stimulus’ Tiffanie Stanard, Philadelphia Fashion Incubator’s Elissa Bloom and Temple’s Ellen Weber
- How much — Suggested donation to Twist Out Cancer
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