Project Description

Myth-busting a Path to Sustainable Growth and Impact


A mature organization, struggling with poor performance like many membership-based non profits, needed a customer experience-based strategy to create mission focus, drive strategic decisions and program priorities, and clarify operating requirements for success.


Creating clarity:

  • Through research and analytics challenged many long held beliefs that were holding back innovative thinking in member value and programming
  • Let go of a “serve everyone everywhere” orientation to focus on clear target markets and customer sets
  • Defined the customer experience that could distinguish the organization in the marketplace

Making smart decisions:

  • Reframed the mission incorporating anchors that are now used to vet strategic and daily decisions
  • Linked member value, acquisition and retention to progressive programming
  • Selected five core strategies to guide decisions and actions over the next three years

Operationalizing the change:

  • Restructured to streamline operations and decision making; focusing more of community operations on direct service to members and program participants
  • Created transformation teams of member and program experts to work side by side with staff, continuing the process of upgrading priority program quality and impact.
  • Trained over 600 people in customer experience based sales
  • Placed an interim COO to guide the transition and work with the top team to build alignment through group interactions, assignments and skill building


  • For the first time in several years meeting financial plan and performance goals.
  • Recently reached historically record high member acquisitions
  • Deliberate measurements in place to track success of the implemented initiatives.
  • In selected programs, early evidence of improved program quality and impact
  • Receiving local and national recognition for innovative, life-changing programs