Transitioning a non-profit community organization towards being results-based and outcomes-focused: The Mountain Safety Council

In this case study, a non-profit used the DoView® Visual Planning process to transition to being a results-based, outcomes-focused, organization. More on the Five-Step DoView®process here

The Mountain Safety Council's Outcomes DoView® 

Click within the DoView below to look around it. 

 the  a case study  study case study w is of how outcomes modeling can be used when working with a relatively small community organization. The work which this case study reports on with the Mountain Safety Council was funded by the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs Lotteries Grants Board as a demonstration project in the way in which a relatively small community organization could use an outcomes modeling approach to evaluate its outcomes. This approach is based on the outcomes work of Dr Paul Duignan. One of the key aspect of this approach (Easy Outcomes) is that it integrates identifying an organization's outcomes, monitoring and evaluation into a framework which can at the same time be used for doing the organization's strategic planning. 

This is particularly important in the case of smaller community organizations and is really the only realistic way in which an outcomes-focused approach is likely to ever be successful with such small organizations. The reason for this is that such organizations are always stretched for resources. A new requirement, such as that which is being introduced by the Lotteries Grants Board for organizations receiving funding from it to be outcomes focused, can be very demanding on the organizations very limited resources. The approach used here provides a fully outcomes focused approach but it does it in a way that the organization can use the work which has been done to replace traditional work it has had to do, and so once the approach is set up it should not require additional resources to run. Such savings in time mean that small organizations are much more likely to adopt the approach. So the approach both potentially saves time and brings the organization into a tighter alignment with achieving its outcomes. 

The Mountain Safety Council is an organization made up of a national office and a volunteer network which undertakes training and other activities related to promoting safety in the outdoors. It receives Lotteries Grants Board funding for a number of its training and other activities. (The models shown in this case study are 'works in progress' and should not be taken to necessarily represent Mountain Safety Council thinking at this point in time).

The project was lead by Annie Dignan the Council's Research Officer and Dr Paul Duignan worked with the Council as on the project. The steps used in the process were first to build an outcomes model for the Mountain Safety Council. This model sets out the high-level outcomes the Council is attempting to achieve plus all of the important steps which it is believed are needed to achieve its outcomes. The outcomes model was build in a series of sessions with relevant Coucil Staff. The DoView version of the model was dataprojected onto a screen during all sessions when the model was built. In addition it was tidied up after the sessions by Annie Dignan and Dr Paul Duignan in telephone calls with Annie Dignan viewing DoView on Dr Paul Duignan's screen as he amended the model - this virtual DoView outcomes model drawing could be used by any organization and represents a saving in travel time and inconvenience. 

Once the outcomes model had been built, it was then taken to a strategic planning workshop for the Council's Executive. They went through the model and marked up those area in the model which they believe are key priorities for action (A, B, C, and marked BAU (Business as Usual) those areas where work needed to continue as normal. This is a very powerful and efficient way for an Executive Team to provide guidance on the strategic direction of an organization.

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