Career Closet is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that empowers economically disadvantaged women by providing suitable clothing and other services to ensure success in gaining and retaining employment, to enhance career development, and to improve family stability. Almost all clothing is donated; undergarments and plus-size clothing are purchased when necessary.
ACT was asked to review the operations of Career Closet and to help the executive director improve and streamline operations. Specifically, ACT was commissioned to ensure financial stability, to evaluate the infrastructure and systems in order to determine appropriate staffing needs, and to expand visibility by developing key contacts and relationships.
The ACT team first reviewed current operational models, researched similar nonprofits, and interviewed board members and key stakeholders in order to get a better idea of where Career Closet was at. The team then conducted competitive and financial analysis of their findings.
The ACT team assigned highest priority to resolving the budget gap that was discovered during its financial review. ACT recommended immediate action in the following four ways:
- Reduce operating costs by finding a rent-free facility or shifting to a volunteer executive director
- Increase income through board-led fundraising campaign and volunteer-led sales of excess clothing
- Sell designer and excess clothing rather than give it away
- Simplify operations
The team also recommended the following steps, once financial stability is achieved:
- Make operational models and procedures consistent across centers
- Develop a set of financial and program metrics to help board and management track and spot trends
- Solicit donations of new clothing to fill in shortages of certain styles and sizes
- Assign executive director the responsibility of building relationships with key stakeholders
- Review board members’ skill sets and recruit board candidates to fill in gaps, especially in fundraising and financial analysis
- Find a location that would be more accessible for clients
Templates for monthly reporting and tracking:
- Clients served - summary for the month and for the fiscal year
- Income tracking
- Burn rate and date to end of cash