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The scope and variety of the services offered by Black CAP have grown substantially over the past two decades. The balance of funds is secured through a combination of shorter term grants from municipal and federal governments and targeted foundations, and through some fundraising.
It is highly committed to the organization and very supportive of Ryan and his staff. Like most non-profits, Black CAP has struggled to keep up with the workload.
An initial cohort of volunteers eventually grew to include a full-time project manager and part-time outreach worker. Today, Black CAP has a paid staff of 19 — ten full-time employees and nine part-time employees and works with about 75 volunteers.
Planning and managing organizational growth through a staffing structure that works The most recent growth spurt occurred after Ryan was hired as the ED. Turnover at the governance level enabled the revitalized board to identify that: There were gaps in the programs and services Black CAP was offering, relationships with funders and potential funders were in need of nurturing and human resources.
Staff roles and responsibilities required clarification and a means of determining how best to use staff to address emerging opportunities that needed to be made a priority. Short of staff, Black CAP was unable to take full advantage of these opportunities.
This led to a major increase in the number of staff over a very short period of time. The growth, Ryan admits, impacted more than the bottom line.
With 12 direct reports and the responsibility for the entire operation, Ryan was not always able to provide staff with an optimal level of supervision and support.
Moreover, the increased time spent on management and supervision meant he had to devote less time and energy to the other parts of his portfolio. Something had to give. The solution came in the form of a human resources collaboration.
Recognizing that individually they could not afford the services of a senior-level manager, yet acknowledging that the issues they were struggling with required just that, they applied for and received a three year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to hire HR consultant Tracy Campbell.
She is also available to the agencies individually; they can call on her on an as-needed basis to work on specific initiatives, to obtain feedback or just to test or brainstorm ideas. For example, Black CAP brought Campbell in to help with a recent round of collective bargaining and to assist with the development of a process to identify Organizational Competencies i.
Campbell also provides training and coaching services. Moreover, this support has allowed Shannon to develop a better understanding of what type of HR management systems and overall HR structure would best serve the organization.
And, the coaching and mentoring he has received is enabling him to build an effective staffing structure and through a cascading model share his newly acquired skills and knowledge with his direct reports who in turn share them with staff reporting to them.
Working with Campbell helped Ryan realize that, in order to grow and thrive, Black CAP required a different staff configuration. He determined that by changing the staffing structure, the organization would be able to support its people better i.
Vesting program responsibility in one person also gives that area the capacity to develop a departmental strategy that encompasses the work of the different coordinators, already stretched to the limit with program delivery.
Previously siloed, individual program plans are now linked to the departmental strategy. This enables the coordinators to see how their collective effort supports the overall organizational vision and mission; and also facilitates sharing information, outcomes and successes with the community and with funders.
By centralizing the program roles and functions, the Executive Director is also able to develop and maintain the high level perspective that is required to keep the organization on track. Like other non-profit leaders Ryan recognizes he cannot compete with the private and public sectors in terms of financial compensation or career path opportunities within the organization.
At the same time, he is aware of the high-cost of turnover in terms of impact on staff left behind, the ongoing need to train new staff, and the additional supervision required. With those realities in mind, Ryan, supported by his board, has made an effort to offer other non-financial benefits to staff.
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