Harbor Homes, Inc. provides quality residential and supportive services for individuals and families challenged by mental illness and/or homelessness. The agency seeks long-term solutions to addressing homelessness and employment for the people they serve in the greater Nashua, NH area Executive Service Corp (ESC) teamed with Harbor Homes to create a five-year strategic plan. Two years later, Harbor Homes has increased revenue, strengthened their staff and board, and most importantly, provides permanent housing for over 750 people per year.
In 2007, Harbor Homes needed to update their strategic plan to help them chart their course for the next five years. Senior management and the board set out to explore:
- Homeless community needs. Do we clearly understand the needs of
the homeless and how well are we addressing those needs?
- Best direction for growth. Should we add more permanent housing or
job training and counseling for clients?
- Improving financials. Total revenue was growing but net asset value
- Improving operations. Should we consider changes to the makeup
and management of board and staff?
How ESC Helped
ESC formed a strategic planning team consisting of ESC consultants and Harbor Homes executive staff and board members. To gather input for the process, the team conducted an extensive survey with 17 community leaders on how Harbor Homes was addressing the needs of the homeless community. The team met bi-weekly for 15 weeks after which ESC presented key strategic issues and recommendations to the board at a planning retreat in late 2007. As a result, the planning team set the following goals:
Increase funding from private donors in an amount equal to 10% of
the organizational budget.
- Strengthen capabilities of staff to meet the anticipated increase in demand for services.
- Expand the board to 25 members by 2012 and recruit members skilled in nonprofit governance and fundraising.
- Create a transparent financial reporting system, reduce the line of credit balance, develop operating reserves, and decrease G&A costs.
- Use software technology more effectively to promote accuracy, efficiency and productivity for budgets and financial reports.
According to Peter Kelleher, president and CEO of Harbor Homes, “Due to ESC’s outstanding contribution, we’ve made great progress on each of the goals laid out in the strategic plan.” Specific outcomes include:
- A strengthened staff includes a new VP of finance, HR director, and healthcare clinic director as well as a 20% increase in employees.
- The Board has grown from 18 to 25 members, including members with nonprofit governance skills.
- New accounting software provides better visibility to both the board and the public.
- Other new technology includes electronic medical records, HR software and fundraising software.
The 2007 strategic plan has enabled Harbor Homes to better meet their mission to provide services for the homeless and mentally ill. In 2008, Harbor Homes and its partner agencies served over 100,000 meals, distributed 10,000 bags of food, provided over 11,000 nights of emergency shelter, provided permanent housing for 740 people (half of whom are mentally ill) and provided substance abuse services to over 650 people. In recognition of their operational effectiveness, they have received the Walter J. Dunfey Corporate Fund Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and were a finalist for the NH Business Review Business Excellence Award.