In mid-2011, YWCA USA engaged The Alford Group to conduct a comprehensive organizational assessment of the structure of the YWCA across the country and across various levels of the organization. Each regional and affiliate member YWCA was operating as a separate entity supported by a regional structure as well as the national office. The YWCA had recently undergone re-branding of the organization, but did not have continuity in services or practices across the country, or clear standards for accountability. The organization was also looking for recommendations regarding best practices for governance and mechanisms to measure impact on a national level.
The assessment focused on areas of governance, operations and mission and vision metrics. Between May and November 2011, The Alford Group conducted individual and group interviews, an internal assessment, a national online survey and conducted a benchmarking study using five similar organizations to determine the best organizational and network “fit” for the organization as a whole. The Alford Group also worked with a number of leadership groups developed for the assessment to ensure representation of the national office, regional chapters, and local affiliates in the process. Through regular meetings with those groups and executive staff at the national office, The Alford Group was able to successfully manage the assessment, and craft recommendations that were presented at a two-day retreat with all of the leadership groups in attendance.
All of the recommendations presented at the retreat were approved by the national Board of Directors. As a follow up, The Alford Group was engaged as ongoing counsel as the YWCA USA developed a plan to implement The Alford Group’s recommendations for enhancing the organizational structure. From January 2012 through June 2012, The Alford Group worked in partnership with YWCA leadership to execute an organizational restructuring process, addressing areas such as the development of policies and procedures, a national support fees structure, a revenue-sharing model, a new governance structure and the overall change in culture that was necessary to successfully implement the organizational change.