Abi’s Place is dedicated to building the skills of children with autism and complex disabilities through a program of education, outpatient services, family support, and community involvement. The core of Abi’s Place is a non-profit school specifically designed to meet the learning and behavioral needs of exceptional children ages 3-16 with moderate to severe challenges. Each child receives a personalized education plan that sets individual goals in the areas of language, communication, and functional life skills. Parental input is encouraged during the goal setting process to promote activities that maximize the student’s independence at home. Abi’s Place integrates classroom instruction with speech, physical, and occupational therapy to help each child achieve his or her full potential.
Abi’s Place was having difficulty translating their strategic plan into an effective blueprint for action. Though they had developed a strategic plan a year earlier, the action items were incomplete or never initiated. With the arrival of several new Board members, the time was right to breathe life into the strategic planning process.
The goal was to develop a strategic plan for marketing and governance that will support and enhance the organization’s ability to serve the families who need them.
During the initial meeting between the NESC Consultant and the Board Chair they agreed to address the challenge at a day-long Board retreat. The retreat covered strategic planning, Board effectiveness, and revenue development, focusing primarily on updating the strategic plan based on RACI principles (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed).
Abi’s Place now has an updated strategic plan geared towards action. The core of the plan is a matrix defining specific tasks, outcomes desired, timeline, Board or team members responsible, and benchmarks for measuring success. This methodology has allowed them to overcome organizational inertia and initiate programs that will increase their visibility in the community, utilize social media, enhance organizational growth, and promote board development. Abi’s Place will be able to use this methodology as a template for future projects, and the Board committees formed as a result of this effort will enhance the organization’s ability to translate future plans into action.
These improvements will add to the effectiveness of the programs and services offered by Abi’s Place, and ultimately benefit the children, families and community they serve.