Business Fellows Growing to Scale
In 2014, the Network Board of Directors adopted a strategic plan that emphasizes “getting to scale” which is defined as: impact + sustainability + reach = scale. For the Network’s purposes, “impact” means that the program demonstrably improves the well-being of people with low incomes; “sustainability” means that the program has sufficient resources to continue running for many years; and “reach” means that the program has broad coverage of underserved people and/or places. The Network’s definition of scale stretches beyond the common connotation of simply more units; it is about taking strategic steps to amplify a program’s mission in action, whatever that may be, and to ensure that a program has the wherewithal to continue delivering its mission over the long haul.
The 2014-2015 Business Planning Fellowship for Executive Leaders is one of the Network’s technical assistance initiatives to support members along their pathway to scale. It is intended to help community land trusts and other organizations that provide permanently affordable housing to assess their current operations and to challenge them to thoughtfully to consider the next steps in terms of scale. The Network’s goal is to help each of its members, from whatever their starting point, to move toward increased impact, sustainability and reach in a way that makes sense for the organization and its community.
In early February, the Business Planning Fellows for Executive Leaders met in Portland, OR for an intensive hands-on introduction to business planning. The Fellows considered key questions such as, “who is our customer?” and “what is our value proposition?” and discussed the ever challenging mission-money balance. The Network will keep you up to date about the innovative work that the Fellows are doing and will distill and share lessons learned. In the meantime, you can read along with the Business Fellows: