Supporting a Non-Profit Organization with Project Management Services

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Organizations of any size, service, or industry can benefit from utilizing project management methodologies and practices, which often improve their efficiency and profitability. On occasion, however, we have the opportunity to work with organizations with a greater purpose than profit. This is the case for Zaman International which strives to break the cycle of poverty in its community and globally. MP is grateful for the opportunity to volunteer our project management services in support of their endeavors.

Zaman International is a Michigan-based non-profit organization “dedicated to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty by empowering marginalized women and children to advance their lives through basic needs assistance, education, and workforce development.”

As an organization committed to building a sustainable, fair, and healthy society, MP began supporting Zaman in 2023 to give back to our communities directly. Thanks to the talented and dedicated professionals in our company, we were able to volunteer our resources financially, intellectually, and personally to support Zaman’s project delivery.

Learn more about MP’s commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

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Opportunities with Zaman

With the support of over 500 partners across different sectors, Zaman is growing quickly to further expand their services and ability to reach more people in need. However, Zaman found it increasingly difficult to track the partnership data and effectively keep up with the needs of the organization.

To manage these partnerships, Zaman was using a variety of platforms and technologies, but they were unsure how to categorize the entities across their various platforms and technologies used for day-to-day operations. They knew that they needed to centralize their partnership data, but also needed to consider maintaining the privacy and security of their customers and partners.

MP not only needed to enhance a centralized database to manage their partnership support, but also needed to manage Zaman’s adaptation to the new framework without disrupting their workflows. Therefore, the MP team proposed to implement the partner management framework by utilizing an organizational change management approach to quickly deliver results.

Zaman International Founder and CEO Najah Bazzy, with members of the Zaman team.

Implementing a Partner Management Framework

MP follows a three-phased Change Management model, which was used here to deliver the framework for partnership management. Step one, building change foundation, included understanding Zaman’s mission and evaluating the current state of their partnerships.

Then, the team moved on to managing the change, by clearly defining, labeling, and categorizing each partner. This allowed MP to provide data that would feed into a dashboard and help Zaman seamlessly manage new and existing partners all at once. To ensure the proper implementation and utilization of these changes, the MP team provided an implementation roadmap and governance guidelines to ensure that Zaman was able to sustain the change.

Build Change Foundation

The MP team first needed to listen and understand both the mission and culture of Zaman’s business. The consultant team conducted a Current State Assessment through a series of interviews with different department heads and key stakeholders. With sensitive data being managed, it was important that Zaman felt comfortable in their relationship with MP.

Once the bridge of trust was built, an open and collaborative line of communication was established.

Manage the Change

To accurately sort the partnership data, MP’s consultants first needed to define and categorize each partner. Zaman International defines a partnership as “an organization that has more than a transactional relationship and whose relationship provides benefit to the client’s customers whether directly or indirectly.”

To eliminate ambiguity across the various partners, the team needed to redefine partnerships to distinguish various groups working with the organization. After evaluating the titles, departments, characteristics, and categories from over 500 different partnerships, some patterns and similarities emerged. The terms “Partnership Type” and “Partnership Measurable” were created and used as parameters to organize the 500-plus companies.

Now that “partnerships” were redefined, the next task was to prioritize or rank the different partnerships that provide different values in their own ways. Ultimately, the team had to ask themselves, “How do we compare apples to oranges?”

“Partnership Type” helped label similar characteristics or functions of a partner, and “Partnership Measurables” helped quantify the partner’s investment by using currency, frequency, hours, or pounds. Providing a matrix for each measurable allowed the team to quantify, sort, and evaluate all 500+ partnerships.

Once the partners were clearly defined, Zaman wanted to expand their current dashboard’s capacities to include this valuable partnership data. With all the details of the partnership types, partnership matrix, and partnership ranking, a tree diagram was created to help visualize the organization of data and how the data would be incorporated into the existing dashboard.

The consultants created this diagram, along with a dashboard mockup, to clarify the functionality of the partnership data for Zaman without requiring them to grant access to the existing dashboard and therefore ensuring the privacy and security of their customers and partners was maintained.

Image by Ruthson Zimmerman on Unsplash

Build Change Foundation

While the new process that MP proposed enhanced the partnership database and gave clear visibility between departments, it also created many organizational changes for Zaman’s employees. Their teams were familiar with the previous methods for managing partnerships, and now needed to be trained in the new process and automated interface.

To aid in the smooth transition from using multiple platforms to a centralized and automated dashboard, MP provided an implementation roadmap detailing the steps to traverse the next stages from beginning to end. The consultant team also delivered guidelines to govern key roles, metrics, meetings, training, automation, and risk management. MP ensured that Zaman’s team was equipped with anything they might need to sustain a partnership management program.

Learn more about implementing digital dashboards into your organization.

Successful Delivery Benefits

With more efficient and unified partnership management processes, Zaman International’s busy staff can focus on other pressing matters while working as one unit striving for a common goal. This will also provide clarity on how to evolve their current partnership strategy.

By gaining insight into partnership value through automated dashboards and tracking, Zaman will be able to bring on more partners and offer even greater assistance to those in need. Additionally, the impact of work MP provided to Zaman can very well transcend this project, as non-profits often collaborate to implement similar solutions.

"Our interaction with the MP team was top-notch from start to finish. The expertise that each member brought to the table ensured the success of this project and will continue to enhance Zaman’s impact for years to come."

At the end of the project, Zaman’s Chief Impact Officer, Monica Boomer, said, “MP’s generous donation of services empowered us to fast-track a key initiative that has been slow to progress for over three years. Their work helped us create a system for partnership management that will ensure our ability to build, maintain and grow relationships with fellow non-profits, corporations, small businesses, schools, and faith groups. In turn, our client families will benefit from additional resources. Our interaction with the MP team was top-notch from start to finish. The expertise that each member brought to the table ensured the success of this project and will continue to enhance Zaman’s impact for years to come.”

Zaman International now has a clear understanding of how to advance its current processes to achieve a successful partner management system. MP is excited to work with Zaman again soon to execute future developments.

This article was written by Aric Morley and Anthony Crook

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