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) to help 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 positively impacted the culture of the organization by ensuring that everyone is on the same page and shares the same goals and vision. “We maintain a transparent, inclusive, and communicative agency where every staff person is recognized as a leader,” says Farmer. “Everyone has a voice, makes an impact, and is rewarded for a job well done.” And the team has a lot to celebrate. The organization has seen an increase of 194% in total revenue, 1,257% net revenue and 108% in cash reserves, while welcoming in an all-time high of new volunteers. “GGOB has put us on the path to secure more funds to add new staff positions, and ultimately, serve more children in foster care,” says Farmer. “Our team fully understands the concept ‘no money, no mission.’”
“GGOB gives us targeted goals and a road to reach them. Keeps us efficient and allows us to have fun. It’s also helped me create a roadmap of success for my goals and allows me to look at barriers or problems differently and in a creative way to reach my goals.”
~ Rebecca Weber, Program Director
Pain Points and Opportunities
Farmer admits that she and her colleagues have a lot going on. While they are pleased with how they’ve been able to grow their organization to meet the needs of the community, it’s a double-edged sword in that the number of children entering foster care continues to grow. “Unfortunately, the number of kids who need our help is outpacing our ability to grow,” says Farmer. Their biggest challenge is to not outpace their funding sources by expanding too rapidly. “We always have to be strategic with our growth and be watchful stewards of the resources we have by stretching every dollar as far as possible,” she says.
“GGOB really promotes ownership in the organization. I use a lot of the principals in my own personal budgeting”
~ Jeff Brossard-Sims, Advocate Supervisor
The CASA team played a couple of MiniGames throughout the year to help progress toward their program Critical Number. One of the games was called “CASAwood Game Night,” which was modeled after Hollywood Game Night. Historically, CASA had averaged 10 volunteer applications a month. The game’s goal was to increase the number of volunteer applications over a three-month period: 12 applications the first month, 15 the second month, and 17 the third month for a total of 44 applications. While the team missed its goal the first month, they rallied and exceeded their total goal after three months. They celebrated with a night of board games, a potluck dinner and a photo shoot.
Part of the CASA’s team vision for its growth includes expanding into two new buildings to help house their growing staff (they’re currently sitting elbow-to-elbow), and also to add room for training volunteers and an activity center for children. Farmer and her team have run a successful capital raising campaign to fund the purchase and expect that they will be able to move into their new headquarters by the end of the year. “We’re excited to see how this kind of investment makes an impact in our organization, our team members, and the children we serve,” says Farmer. “It will also allow us to connect with our community members in different ways. We will now be able to welcome visitors who can come and see firsthand the kind of impact we are making on kids’ lives.”
“We equally have an active role in every aspect of our organization. GGOB has also helped me understand projections in budgeting.”
~ Atlas Dennis, Advocate Supervisor