I recently contracted with the Nonprofit Centers Network to help a capacity building organization in Philadelphia understand the local demand for shared services.
We started by asking how groups currently access, or in some cases don’t access, back-office services, for example, accounting, marketing, fundraising, information technology, and human resources. We also asked which, if any, of these functions felt particularly challenging, and why. We then explored whether groups would potentially be interested in developing new shared service strategies, for example, shared staffing or joint contracting.
I understand that for many, researching this back-office stuff may not interesting or “sexy” (look for more on this point in the future) but to me, decisions about operational functions directly reflect an organization’s culture, priorities, and overall health. Furthermore, groups that seek to collaborate and strengthen back-office services are doing so to increase resilience and ultimately mission impact.
All to say, I was really excited to better understand opportunities for shared services in Philadelphia and I look forward to staying in touch as efforts progress.