SAGE Community Resource Exchange
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CRE Success Stories
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Our Team
At CRE, our staff is our greatest asset - an intellectually and culturally diverse team able to offer an array of services with a commitment to results.

"CRE's goal is to enable client organizations to build what we consider the "three-legged stool" for high-performing organizations: solid, visionary leadership, strong and efficient organizational systems, and effective programming that links strategy, planning and outcomes."

- Holly Delany Cole
CRE Co-Director

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"CRE is unequaled in terms of its understanding of managing human services nonprofits.  It is important for a consulting firm to "get" nonprofit management. CRE understands that intrinsically."

- David Mensah, ED, Hetrick Martin Institute

Our Services: Case Studies: SAGE

SAGE

Services Provided:  Organizational Restructuring, Fiscal Management, Government Contracts, Employee Measurement Analysis

Our Successes:

  • Helped CRE create a new level of senior management to alleviate some of the executive director’s expanding workload
  • Created a new comprehensive managerial-level training program to support and nurture SAGE’s new deputy directors
  • Also helped SAGE replace antiquated accounting and employee measurement programs with modern, state-of-the-art systems.
Like many nonprofits, as SAGE (Service & Advocacy for GLBT Elders), the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit agency addressing the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders, grew larger and expanded its services, its executive director had to wear an increasing number of hats.
But when the number of direct reports to ED Michael Adams reached seven (including five senior directors, a mid-level manager, and an assistant) it was clearly time to re-examine SAGE’s organizational structure. And when they came up with what they thought was a good solution, SAGE turned to Community Resource Exchange (CRE) to make it work.

The answer SAGE ultimately came up with was to create a new level of senior management, the Deputy Directors, each of whom would individually cover Programs, Development and External Affairs, and Finance and Operations.

“We believe that this new structure will relieve the heavy burden that had been previously placed on the executive director,” says Alan Francisco-Tipgos, formerly the Director of Development and Operations and now the Deputy Director for Finance and Operations. “Instead of seven weekly meetings with each of his direct reports on top of his other responsibilities as executive director, Michael now needs only to meet with his three Deputy Directors and his assistant.”

While the new structure provides the ED with time to focus on strategic-level issues, it placed the new Deputy Directors at a level of managerial responsibility that they had not previously faced.

Recognizing that training, mentorship and guidance are the key factors to success for any new employee taking on new responsibilities, SAGE called up CRE to explore creating a comprehensive managerial-level program which would support and nurture SAGE’s new Deputy Directors. “It wasn’t long before CRE came back with what we all thought would be a perfect curriculum,” says Alan, which includes 360-degree feedback, personal mentorship from experienced CRE consultants, team meetings and problem solving sessions.

Alan said the process is on-going but it has “already created noticeably increased cohesion that will eventually lead to a strong leadership team.”

It’s not the first time that the two old nonprofits –SAGE was founded in 1978 and CRE a year later – have collaborated.

“CRE has provided a host of solutions to various organizational issues that SAGE has faced over many years,” Alan said.

In fact just in recent times, he said, CRE has also worked with SAGE on two other important  projects.
The first was that CRE was able to direct much needed technical assistance to SAGE around issues of fiscal management. Through a collaboration with New York City’s Department for the Aging, CRE engaged and teamed up with an accounting firm specializing in non-profit fiscal management to help SAGE develop a more sophisticated internal accounting system, especially around the complicated requirements of SAGE’s government contracts that make up a large portion of SAGE’s budget. SAGE’s prior system, according to Alan, was antiquated and often resulted in “chronic cash flow and budgetary problems.” The result has been that “SAGE’s fiscal health has strengthened enormously.”

“Since the CRE initiative, SAGE has ended three straight fiscal years in the positive,” Alan says. “Moreover, SAGE’s renewed ability to meet government funding and accounting requirements has increased the confidence of almost all of SAGE’s government partners which has led to even further support.”

CRE has also helped SAGE retool its employee performance measurement system, replacing one that Alan says was “outdated and ineffective.”

“Prior to engaging with CRE, formal standardized reviews had not been completed for several years,” Alan said. “And when reviews had been completed they were done in various methods according to the whims of each department.” CRE helped to create “an objective performance evaluation tool” that is now used uniformly throughout the organizations and, Alan says, now provides  a fair means to determine merit increases and adjustments as well as constructive job feedback.

“On almost all measurable levels, CRE's work with SAGE has strengthened the organization. The improved fiscal systems have led to better fiscal management and better alignment of annual support with our expenses. The performance management system has given employees clear roadmaps for job improvement which has benefitted the organization as a whole, while at the same time ensuring a just and equitable system for providing annual incentives. And the mentorship that CRE will provide for the senior team will only strengthen SAGE's ability to do its work more efficiently and will promote strong leadership in the three critical areas of programs, fundraising, and fiscal management. In these tough economic times, CRE has certainly helped to provide SAGE with the stability and strong foundation it long needed and which has allowed SAGE not only to survive these times but to prosper and grow in a rational manner.”

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