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 “Nell helped us chart a course for the future that meets the needs of our current students and allows us to expand to serve even more. She was skilled at developing a framework that allowed us to grapple with the tough questions of strategy and sustainability. We are thrilled we made this investment and look forward to the coming years with a plan firmly in place!”


– Michael Griffith, Executive Director, Breakthrough Austin


The Problem:

Breakthrough is a very successful program that identifies cohorts of 6th grade students who want to be the first in their families to graduate from college and then Breakthrough supports those students over the next 12 years so that they reach that goal. Over their 10+ year history, Breakthrough has achieved impressive student outcomes and the support of a deep donor base. In fact, Breakthrough has been so successful that other schools and school districts have asked to add the Breakthrough program. In the Spring of 2015, Breakthrough board and staff wanted to grow to reach more students, but they didn’t know how to determine when and where. They needed a strategic plan that could help them chart a growth trajectory to reach more students in a sustainable way.

The Solution:

Breakthrough hired Social Velocity to lead their strategic planning effort. With Social Velocity’s guidance, Breakthrough created an advisory committee of board, staff and key external stakeholders. Social Velocity led the group to analyze the external environment in which Breakthrough operates, develop Breakthrough’s theory of change, refine Breakthrough’s vision and mission statements, and articulate the goals and objectives and corresponding financial projections of the next 3 years for the organization.

What Social Velocity Delivered:

Marketplace Map

Theory of Change

Strategic Growth Filters

Revised Vision and Mission Statements

3-Year Strategic Plan and Budget

Year 1 Operational Plan Template

System for Monitoring the Plan Going Forward

The Results:

Breakthrough board and staff are excited about their new strategic plan and the clarity it gives them about how and when to grow. They are already putting the pieces in place for expansion and are beginning to build the additional capacity necessary to get there.

If you want to talk with Nell about whether a consulting engagement might be right for your nonprofit, fill out this form. We’ll get back to you within 24 hours to schedule a time to talk.

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