The organization has a mission to facilitate and promote the building of resilient children, healthy families, and strong neighborhoods and communities through collaboration, programming, and resource development.
Community Partnership of the Ozarks (CPO) is a strengths-based agency that works to include staff at all levels into planning, evaluation, and implementation of projects and programming. With 93% of their funding restricted to grants and contracts, CPO had a growing need to raise unrestricted dollars through fundraising and donor development, but their staff didn’t always understand or appreciate the need to fund-raise. They wanted to find a system that could help connect and engage the entire team in fulfilling their shared mission by finding additional ways to help their community.
With the help of a 10-week jumpstart program led by coach Katie Davis, CPO looked to The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) starting in 2017 as a natural fit for their organization’s environment as a way to provide the structure to help them create an empowered team through budget transparency. “As the go-to organization in our community for responding to community issues and convening people to solve those issues it is important for us to be nimble and able to respond quickly,” says Janet Dankert, CPO’s president and CEO. “We saw GGOB as a way to help us to work toward a common goal and help everyone see the ‘big’ picture of CPO.”
As a result of playing Great Game™, there is a more in-depth knowledge among the team of the impact of contributions on CPO’s core budget and how that ripple effect impacts individual programs. In the past three years since starting GGOB, revenues have grown by $1.9 million or 47.5%, and the number of new contracts/grants for programming grew by 46.5%. They also increased their total number of volunteers by 50% and leveraged resources/in-kind donations by over 200%. “GGOB has also helped us move beyond grants by increasing our unrestricted funding, which helps us operate more efficiently and effectively while still maintaining high quality of service in the community,” says Dankert. “GGOB is helping our staff become more financially literate, and it motivates our leadership to see them more empowered to make positive change in our financial and programmatic culture as a result,”
“The Great Game of Business allows for partnership and conversation between employees and allows everyone to have a voice. It is especially nice because it involves the entire organization, not just divisions of the organization. Having the time to do The Great Game of Business allows for relationships to grow. It allows employees to work strategically and keeps the entire team in on what is happening, financially, in the organization.”
~ Katie Weathermon, Prevention Specialist
Spotlight on the Pandemic
The timing of the pandemic could hardly have been worse for CPO, as its primary fundraiser for the year was to be held in May. For health and safety reasons, they were forced to cancel it—which cost them about $75,000 in potential revenue. That followed their decision to postpone other fundraising activities in March and April. Fortunately, with the help of a PPP loan, they were able to avoid layoffs and keep their frontline staff working in the community. The positive news was that thanks to the heightened financial literacy among the team and how their budget worked, the staff understood where things stood and where they were headed. “People are here for their passion,” says Dankert. “But they also need to know we need to be run like a business to sustain our mission, even during the scary times of this pandemic.”
CPO held three MiniGames—all of which focused on their major fundraising events, which are tied to the organization’s Critical Number of raising more unrestricted revenue. All of them met or exceeded their goals. One example was played to support CPO’s signature fundraiser, the CP Open, which is a fun night of games including indoor mini-golf, casino and virtual reality games, and cornhole. Called “Game On,” to echo the spirit of the event, the MiniGame’s focus was to increase the value of items collected for the CPO silent auction by $30,000 over 90 days.
“The Great Game of Business has been an insight for all divisions to understand our organization as sum of our parts and how each employee is instrumental in our successes.”
~ Anna Jones, Prevention Specialist
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on CPO’s operations and fundraising. “We are one of the leaders in coordinating a community response to help those in need,” says Dankert, “so our focus is now on that until further notice. As we start planning for recovery and a ‘next’ normal, we will be able to develop new plans to Level Up our Game in 2021. GGOB has positioned us to think more critically going into the future.”
“The Great Game of Business has allowed for more transparency within our organization pertaining to financials. It has also created a sense of accountability and buy-in since we as an organization are able to see what we are responsible for and what we need to do in order to accomplish our financial goals.”
~ Victoria L. Mitchell, Community Development Specialist