Nonprofit Agile Case Studies

Nonprofit Agile Case studies help people understand and learn how Agile and/or Scrum has helped organizations reach their missions and goals each day, week, month, and year by working happier and faster as a team. 

Our team has sat down with numerous professionals and spoke with them about how they got started in Agile and how it has affected their nonprofit and organization.

Hear from JJ Sutherland, CEO of Scrum, Inc. who also has personal experience using Agile in the nonprofit field. This is a great overview of how the Scrum framework can work in your nonprofit.

It is our mutual love of sprints as a cadence for the way we approach our work that we were excited to have a chance so sit down together and chat with Eric Ressler, the Founder & Creative Director of a company called Cosmic. We reached out to Eric and asked if he would be willing to participate in an interview with us because his article, “Why We Sprint — and Why Your Nonprofit Should, Too,” really got us excited about how Cosmic is helping nonprofits adopt Agile principles and values!

Eric Engelmann from NewBoCo

Our vision at Agile in Nonprofits is to support nonprofit organizations in their Agile transformation so that they can achieve a greater impact in their communities faster than ever before. Usually, we are talking with existing nonprofits about how it is that they can first start utilizing the Scrum framework within their existing organizational structure and culture. But it leaves us wondering…what if the way that for-profit start-up businesses embrace Agile, a nonprofit, uses the Scrum framework to launch the organization? Would they grow faster than other new nonprofits? Would they collaborate more? Would they look or sound different from other nonprofits?

There are so many questions about what it looks like to have a nonprofit founded using Agile principles! Therefore, Jessica and I were excited to have a chance to hear directly from Eric Englemann to learn about how he used Agile principles and the Scrum framework to found and grow the nonprofit New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo).

Solomon Belette from John F Kennedy University

Solomon Belette is the Director of the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy JFK University and the author of an article, “Agility of the Nonprofit Enterprise in this Period of Pandemic”. Diane and Jessica from the Agile in Nonprofits team had the opportunity to interview Solomon and find out what inspired him to write this article and understand how COVID-19 has impacted nonprofits in his region.

Beth Tuttle Formerly of MetStrategies

Our opportunity to talk with Beth Tuttle, former President and CEO of DataArts (now known as SMU DataArts) was an interesting intersection of our work with our grant writing clients at DH Leonard Consulting and our Agile capacity building activities through Agile in Nonprofits. We have had numerous clients that are arts organizations over the years, and as could then be expected, numerous clients that have had to utilize the Cultural Data Profile as part of their grant application work. When we had the opportunity to talk with Beth, one of the things we were so excited to learn about was how the Agile and Scrum learnings from one project spread within the organization.

Alice Ferris of Goal Busters Consulting

I’ve always enjoyed following about the work of Alice Ferris and her team at GoalBusters Consulting, *especially* following along on her team’s travels and dining experiences related to the wide range of topics they speak about on the different #GoalBustersWorldTour trips. Last year, you can imagine my excitement when I happened to catch a post on social media about a presentation where she was talking about Scrum to fundraisers. I was thrilled that long-time social media friend Alice agreed to chat with Jessica Crowley and I about her experiences using Scrum.

Jamie Cox from United Way of Northern New York

The Scrum framework is heavily focused on empiricism. Using data to help make decisions. Nonprofit organizations are so rich in the data they collect from clients they serve to donors that support their work. We were curious to hear from Jamie about how United Way of Northern New York would be measuring and tracking their success moving forward now that they have implemented the Scrum framework.

Marc Pitman from Fundraising Coach and Concord Leadership Group

Many of you may know Marc Pitman as The Fundraising Coach, but that is only part of his work as The Concord Leadership Group. I was thrilled that I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Marc about leadership in nonprofits including Agile, Scrum, and the Enneagram. There are lots of great nuggets here for nonprofit leaders regardless of whether you are using the Scrum framework or not!

Dominic Bruno

The work of a Scrum Master in particular requires strong facilitation skills. Those skills include listening skills. Listening for impediments as the team discusses their current and future work. Listening for potential Kaizen ideas (a change for the better) during the team’s Sprint Retrospective. Yet this is a skill that I believe needs to be learned, actually, more likely, relearned for many of us. We likely learned about “having our listening ears on” back in school, but as adults, may not have continued to have reminders about how important that skills is for us. If you’re going to serve as a Scrum Master, consider this your gentle reminder 

Jacquelyn Gitzes with MANNA

In our conversation, Jax shared what lessons have been learned along the way as the Agile journey for the grant team has unfolded at MANNA. A grant department of one within a larger development, it is a common scenario with a Development Director that is serving as the Product Owner (whether called that or not) that provides input on the priorities for seeking grant funds. That leaves Jax as the Scrum Master (again, whether called that or not) to facilitate the process and use the Scrum framework to help create twice the impact with the grant-seeking work in half the time.

Shelley Loethen CEO of Encore Institute

It’s also this question about tools that made me so excited to have a chance to chat with Shelley Loethen of Encore Institute for Social Impact about the steps they took to get started on their Agile journey and how they have taken their existing technology infrastructure and skills and used it to select and customize the tool that would best support their Agile journey.

Mark Peiffer of Community Markets Inc.

Blog in process

Nonprofit Agile Case Studies

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