CASA of Southwest Missouri is a non-profit organization whose mission is to recruit, train, and support community volunteers who assist the court in protecting the best interests of abused and neglected children in Southwest Missouri.
CASA is a small non-profit that recruits, trains, and supports volunteers (called CASAs) to advocate for the best interest of children in foster care. CASA chose to implement The Great Game of Business®(GGOB) in order to grow their program and to serve more children. “We needed more transparency, communication, and teamwork to reach our vision of serving every foster child in southwest Missouri,” says Laura Farmer, CASA’s executive director.
Farmer says she first heard about GGOB through Rich Armstrong, who previously served on the CASA Board of Directors. She then attended a GGOB workshop in 2018 and wanted to begin implementing The Game right away. The full staff attended another GGOB workshop after earning a scholarship through the United Way of the Ozarks in 2019. Katie Davis served as their coach throughout the implementation process in 2019.
GGOB has helped CASA positively impact both its financial and program goals. They’ve seen a 46% increase in revenue and a 98% net increase in the number of their volunteers. In three years, they have gone from serving 200 foster children to over 350 foster children—with plans to serve 400 in 2021. “GGOB has led to deeper discussions within our organization regarding how we can all make a difference and impact our organization,” says Farmer. “Everyone has a role to play, and we each understand that. We are accountable to each other and the goals we set. Each employee is plugged in and bought in to the work we are doing.”
“I feel like GGOB has helped CASA build a stronger team and a clearer financial and program vision for all staff. As the staff with the most seniority, I have seen amazing changes to the organization, and I credit much of it to GGOB. The staff all come together as a team every Monday morning and I feel they actually look forward to reviewing the numbers and learning where we are at both in fundraising and our program status.” ~ Julie Good, Development Director
Spotlight on the Pandemic
The CASA team had already developed and relied on their weekly Huddle rhythm by the time the pandemic shut down Springfield, MO, in March 2020. As they shifted to virtual communications, the team was able to troubleshoot and develop contingency plans that could activate in ways that they could continue their mission to the children in their community. “Our Huddles allowed our staff to show their innovation and creativity,” says Farmer. One of the big shifts the team made was to shift the training programs they used for their volunteers from in-person to online. “We had to become experts very quickly in using Zoom and breakout rooms,” says Farmer. At the same time, due to the limitations of meeting in person, the CASA team helped volunteers find ways to keep in touch with children online as well, including finding ways to play games together like “I Spy.” “It was a cool way for our volunteers to connect and have some fun with kids during a scary time,” says Farmer, adding that they have continued some of those online training programs as the city has opened up.
The CASA team played several successful MiniGames over the course of the year, each one was played over a three-month period with structured goals and prizes. “The MiniGames helped us refine our services and troubleshoot a few things we needed to do better,” says Farmer. For example, in one game, they discovered that their database was not always accurately tracking contact hours for their volunteers. So that became an opportunity to fix that problem. “We likely would not have discovered the issue without the MiniGame,” says Farmer.
“The culture of the workplace has completely changed for the better since we started The Great Game of Business. It has been great to have complete transparency with our finances, so everyone is on the same page. The MiniGames have also increased everyone's stake in the agency and has pushed up to meet goals and celebrate our successes. I also believe it has brought us all closer as a team and has made the workplace a much more positive environment to work in.”
~ Anna Martin, Advocate Supervisor
To “level up” their game in 2021, Farmer says the CASA team has added some new metrics to their scoreboard and redefined what success looks like. Ultimately, we have kept net revenue and net CASA volunteers as our Critical Numbers. She also sees an opportunity, now that they are back in their office, to make their MiniGame boards more creative, as well as take more pictures of the boards and celebrations.
“GGOB has provided us all with unique roles and responsibilities that allow us to have a personal stake in the success of our organization. Everyone is invested in our mission and is working together to achieve common goals. GGOB provides us with a fun way to push ourselves to grow our organization and to work together as a team.”
~ Racheal Hunt, Advocate Supervisor/Older Youth Specialist