These are extraordinary times for nonprofit health and human services organizations. While demands for services are increasing, funding from government programs and philanthropic donors is less available. Meanwhile, New York State is redesigning its Medicaid program and the fee-for-service payment model is being replaced.
If community-based providers can’t find a way to succeed in this new fiscal reality, there’s a risk that the quality of services for vulnerable older adults and children impacted by poverty will suffer.
To help organizations change how they think and how they work within this shifting environment, the Foundation partnered with The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation and The John R. Oishei Foundation to design a capacity building initiative called GetSET: Success in Extraordinary Times.
GetSET is a two-year, team-based approach to capacity building to help mid-sized health, behavioral health, and human services organizations strengthen their internal infrastructure, while identifying their value proposition and responding to new business opportunities. Organizations invited to participate in GetSET receive limited capacity building grants while:
- Working with an organizational development consultant for two years;
- Completing an online organizational self-assessment to measure the organization’s strengths in six core competencies;
- Development and implementing a capacity-building plan based on assessment results; and
- Participating in group education sessions and peer learning with other GetSET organizations.
The first cohort of GetSET grantees were selected in 2013 and a second cohort was selected in 2014. A third cohort launched in western New York in early 2017.
The first cohort of GetSET grantees reported the program brought their organizational strengths and weaknesses to the surface. They also said GetSET gave them tools and support to begin making the changes necessary to shape themselves into smarter, more efficient and higher-performing organizations.
Most grantees reported solid buy-in among their leadership for the value of an organizational development approach to capacity building. Some made basic changes in infrastructure such as their staffing, bylaws and a marketing plan.
“GetSET has become a part of the language and culture,” said one agency executive. “It is already becoming integrated into [our] work.”