The United Church of Christ’s Neighborhood Houses had a dilemma: how to redefine its identity and messaging so that the community would understand its outreach work. The solution? Partnering with orgstory, a member of the CHHSM Consultants Network.
“Orgstory helped Neighborhood Houses transition to its new identity as Unleashing Potential, changes that included rethinking how it tells its story to the communities it serves,” says Michael J. Readinger, president and CEO of CHHSM.
The CHHSM Consultants Network provides a variety of professional services to CHHSM-member ministries, with expertise in everything from marketing, management, writing and graphic design to short- and long-term planning and governance.
“The CHHSM staff does consulting and retreat work with our members, but those are more relationship-based kinds of engagement,” Readinger says. “The Consultants Network puts member ministries in contact with people who bring different skill sets and expertise to the table.”
The outside consultants have been vetted by CHHSM and offer their services at a reduced rate. For example, Rion Safier Accounting, LLC provides CPA and bookkeeping services, and is experienced in the particular accounting issues and complexities faced by health care agencies.
“Utilizing our various services — which are offered on an ‘ala carte’ basis — provides an opportunity to complete back office functions in a cost-effective manner,” says Rion Safier, president. “Outsourcing has proven to be effective for organizations with rapid growth or those seeking cost efficiencies. We provide our services in a unique manner, utilizing various cloud computing and paperless applications, which provides further cost savings.”
Other consultants in the network include K. Edward (Ed) Holderle III, a partner at Spencer Fane, LLC. The firm provides legal representation and advice for nonprofits, and Holderle specializes in religious and denominationally-affiliated nonprofits.
“Spencer Fane has a long history of the representation of religiously-affiliated nonprofits,” he says. “Because that’s all we do, we have sensitivities to the issues presented. We are able to see and understand issues through a nonprofit lens.”
The work of the companies that are part of the network extend beyond CHHSM member ministries, says Readinger. Orgstory, for example, also partnered with the United Church of Christ’s national setting in its recent branding makeover, including the UCC’s Three Great Loves Initiative.
For some network consultants, the chance to partner with CHHSM members is a way to continue a vocation. For Barb Powell, owner of JLP Creative — a marketing and communication consulting firm — offering discounted services to CHHSM-member ministries who need help conceiving and creating resources is just a logical next step.
“My call is to aid UCC-related ministries and their partners,” says Powell, former associate director of communication for the UCC who also serves CHHSM as a consultant. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to use my experience as a writer, editor, designer, production manager and content producer to create resources for CHHSM members.”
CHHSM members interested in utilizing companies in the network contact them directly and negotiate contracts with them based on organizational needs. So whether member ministries need fresh ways to tell their stories, or would like assistance in such areas as capital campaigns, marketing, accounting, governance and legal issues, a member of the Consultants Network is standing by to help.
CHHSM members can access the full list of consultants here.