A longstanding HIV advocacy organization with expertise in global prevention research and development, was presented with a high-risk opportunity that would require significant, rapid organizational change. Prompted by population bulges and growing concern over HIV in sub-Saharan Africa, government donors and a large family foundation sought to find a grantee organization that they believed could improve the implementation of HIV prevention tools in the region.
Despite being a small, advocacy-focused organization, our client was selected to receive this joint grant, which would triple their budget and thrust the organization into an unfamiliar arena of implementing HIV prevention tools. Bright Spring was selected to tackle this challenging growth strategy project given our background in global health and advocacy, and our demonstrated success in guiding international NGOs through organizational change.
Our client was now faced with executing operational workflow that was not necessary in a smaller, more focused organization. The team would undergo major shifts in the type of work they were doing, and with the actors they were working with. Bright Spring assisted the organization in identifying the three primary challenges they would need to overcome to ensure smooth transition among all its stakeholders, including:
1. Cultural challenge in expanding a tight-knit, specialized management team
2. Staff and management concerns associated with taking on a new and risky effort
3. A lack of demonstrated expertise in the implementation arena, especially given the scale of the new, highly visible, grant
Bright Spring conducted full one on one interviews with all of the organization’s staff members and created a sophisticated model to analyze their relevant skills and aspirations. We then conducted in-depth interviews with members of the leadership team to surface gaps in skill sets and reveal pain points. Our team also conducted interviews of ten external stakeholders to understand our client’s brand and public reputation, and reflect those values back to the leadership team for standard setting.
Bright Spring advised the organization on growing its team to include managers with content knowledge in implementation and product development, while balancing potential threats posed by adding in new skill sets, as these could potentially undermine our client’s reputation as an independent advocacy voice. We provided thorough internal and external messaging that provided a clear rationale for the organization’s expanding role in the field.
Our guidance to the Executive Director allowed him to maximize his skill set while creating space for additional leaders, and ensured smooth and continuous communication with staff throughout the transition.
The advocacy organization implemented Bright Spring’s recommendations and models for restructuring, including frequent all staff meetings to explain the immediacy and importance of the new work, and readying of the organization for the addition of four or five key new staff members. In the months following Bright Spring’s guidance, our client reported that the new hires aligned well with the organization and its culture, and contributed to a successful transition to its expanded role in the HIV advocacy and prevention arena.