Moving America Forward

The Partnership That Helped Save a Nonprofit

October 7, 2019
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The Partnership That Helped Save a Nonprofit
The Austin chapter of Dress for Success was struggling. Then came an unexpected offer of help.

Imagine a job that encourages you to not only look for problems in the world, but to actively play a role in solving them. That’s just one of the things that drew Austin, Texas-based Brooke Currie to join GLG, the world’s largest knowledge marketplace, as a recent college graduate.

GLG’s mission is to bring the power of insight to every professional decision by connecting clients who have questions to subject-matter experts who can answer them. As a team leader in GLG’s Austin, Texas, office, Currie primarily works with professional-services clients; her colleagues serve financial-services firms, life-sciences companies, corporations and law firms — yet that’s only a handful of the types of organizations GLG supports. 

Through its Social Impact initiative, GLG helps organizations across the social sector. The GLG Social Impact Fellowship provides two years of free platform access to high-impact, scaling nonprofit and social-enterprise teams. GLG Social Impact partners with grantmaking foundations, nonprofit advisory firms and impact investors to maximize their solutions. And the GLG Social Impact partners program enables every GLGer, regardless of role, tenure or geography, to connect nonprofits of their choosing with pro bono expert consultations.

For Currie, that meant helping women who are trying to advance their careers.

“As a young woman in the corporate world, it seemed like a good way to give back,” she said. “I know I have tried and erred a few times myself. If I could be a tiny help to anyone, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Last spring, Currie reached out to Mia Johns, the executive director of the Austin affiliate of Dress for Success. Launched in 2003, the central Texas affiliate helps approximately 1,000 women each year — and not just by providing them with suitable clothes to wear to an interview or a new job. They also offer workforce development skills and professional support to women entering the job market. 

“Dress for Success is a really strong worldwide brand, but each affiliate is responsible for raising their own funding,” Johns said. “We rely on our community [for support].”

When Currie reached out to offer the organization (free!) expertise, Johns’ emailed response included  “many, many exclamation marks.” 

“They were very excited we were offering help to them,” Currie said.

Over several phone calls and emails, Currie narrowed in on what Dress for Success Austin needed to work on most — namely, updated promotional materials that would provide potential clients with a clearer sense of the services offered. The organization also saw a need for fine-tuning communications among their network of 300 volunteers. And Johns asked what else they could do to help clients continue improving their skills in pursuit of more lucrative jobs.

“Nearly three-fourths of our clients who get jobs make less than $15 an hour,” Johns said. “It’s important for us to think of creative ways to increase their skills so they can get better-paying jobs.” 

Any one of the issues facing Dress for Success would have taken time and money to find just the right expert to help — “and most of the time, nonprofits don’t have the staff or the funding to do that,” Johns pointed out. But thanks to GLG’s extensive database of industry-specific experts, Currie had the answers at her fingertips. 

“The most challenging part for me — which I enjoyed — was figuring out who were the right experts to help,” said Currie. “The options were kind of limitless.”

Within weeks, Johns was put in touch with three professionals, each of whom spent an hour on the phone with her, including a director who’d worked on the American Music Awards, a human resources specialist, and an expert on labor management who previously worked for Amazon.

“The consultants I worked with were stellar,” Johns said. “I felt so privileged to talk to them. They were sincere and all very helpful.”

The conversations sparked action: Johns hung up the phone understanding how to better communicate Dress for Success’s programs on their website and social channels. She developed leads on companies that could offer clients higher-paying jobs. And she implemented the advice from the human resources expert on how to best disclose recent turnover in the affiliate’s volunteer-coordinator position. 

Currie called the entire experience “super-eye-opening,” in terms of how GLG is uniquely positioned to give an organization a leg up.

“It’s really rewarding to think creatively to help nonprofits problem-solve,” she said. “I love my job.”

This article was paid for and produced in partnership with GLG. GLG Social Impact delivers the power of GLG’s platform to the social sector.  

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