Every year we (like many other businesses) do a bit of “free work” for some of the nonprofits in our community. We do it because we realize that organizations that are doing really good work often don’t have the resources to bring in outside help when they need it – and we do it because we really love what we do and have a whole lot of fun working with and learning from great folks whose agencies do a lot of the “heavy lifting” in this community.
While it has always been enjoyable work, we don’t always have the opportunity to see if the work has made a difference. As a consequence, that is a weird place for all of us at Community Solutions, Inc. (CSI), because if you have been around us at all, you know that we preach and preach…and preach about how important it is to have a Results Orientation and be able to measure “is anyone better off” from the work that you do. We found ourselves doing exactly what we caution our clients against….doing what we were sure was “good stuff,” but not being able to say it was making a difference. So we changed the way we do our pro bono work … or as I would say to our clients: “We changed the system.”
We decided to become intentional and focus on the results with our pro bono work. Earlier this year we released an application and asked organizations to tell us “what result do you want to achieve?”; “how can we help you achieve that result?”; and what would be the “indicators of success?” From the pool of 21 applicants who responded, we chose one organization that we felt we could have the biggest impact on. We have set up indicators for measuring the ways we have improved the agency and we are well on our way with our one year commitment to them.
We are so excited to be working with Rock Steady Boxing (RSB). RSB is an organization working to improve the quality of life for people battling Parkinson’s disease through non-contact, boxing-inspired fitness training. They are a perfect example of an organization that has been growing quickly to include a staff with their heads and hearts working furiously to respond to the needs of those they serve (people impacted by Parkinson’s disease), so much so that they have very little time left to take a step back and make sure the organization can continue to respond to the demand for their services across the country and even worldwide. The perfect opportunity for a little outside help to have a big impact on a first rate organization – and therefore have an impact on people across the globe who are living with Parkinson’s.
Pretty cool work…. CSI does not have the knowledge, skills or gifts to directly serve people with Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, we can help make sure the folks at Rock Steady Boxing are around for a very long time, and are able to achieve their vision that all people living with Parkinson’s disease have access to Rock Steady Boxing programs that improve their quality of life.
– Lena Hackett, Founder Community Solutions, Inc.
CSI founder, Lena Hackett, has a broad background and extensive expertise in public policy, human services and community development. Through her work with a wide variety of service of providers; local, state, and national policy makers; and a myriad of funders, Lena has been an integral part of community change in the Indianapolis community.