Read and the comment on the following two discussions attached. Ask at least two questions for Person 1 and Person 2. Just comment in at least 2 small paragraphs and ask up to two questions. For example-Wow you have done a good job in ……….how did you acomplish this in such a short amount of time.
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Collapse SubdiscussionPia Eisenberg
11:22amSep 3 at 11:22am
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Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia (JFCS) has a robust
program for adults living with disabilities. This is just one of many programs that
JFCS implements in the larger community—not only the Jewish community. JFCS’
largest annual donor supports this program, known as PLWD: People Living with
Disabilities. This donor has an adult daughter with intellectual disabilities who
participates in the program; and while her daughter is well provided for, the donor is
truly concerned for others in the community who do not have the same means as
her daughter. Over the years, the donor has increased her giving significantly to
provide enrichment activities and life skills education for JFCS clients in this
program. However, she always made it clear to me that her ultimate charitable goal
was to build a residential facility for adults with special needs. She also made it
known that she would be willing to give JFCS a seven-figure gift to name a
residential facility if we were to build one.
This presented several dilemmas for us, which begged the following questions: Is
this something JFCS should pursue? Is it financially prudent for JFCS to build and
operate a residential facility? Is this even mission-aligned? Equally important, if we
determine that this is something we should NOT pursue, how do we make this key
stakeholder understand, without alienating her, that owning and operating a
residential facility is not part of JFCS’ mission? Lastly, how does a non-profit walk
away from a potential seven-figure gift? As you can imagine, this situation was
fraught with unknowns and a highly-valued stakeholder relationship was at risk—
thus the matter required finessing and management.
We decided to approach this by conducting a due-diligence process in which we
visited comparable residential facilities to determine the operational and financial
aspects of owning/running a residential facility, interviewed thought leaders and
families involved in housing for adults with intellectual disabilities, and discussed the
possibility with our Board of Directors. I informed the donor that we would be
conducting this research and kept her apprised of our findings along the way.
Simultaneously, JFCS was in the midst of a strategic planning process that
coincidentally was completed around the same time as the due diligence process.
Both processes informed my follow-up conversation with the donor.
The due diligence process told us:
It would not be financially prudent for JFCS to own a residential facility.
It is not best practices for an organization to both own a residential facility
and provide the programming at the facility.
Running a residential facility is not mission-aligned for JFCS.
Families of adults with special needs do not wish for their loved-ones to
live in residential facilities and have developed more creative options for the
adults with special needs.
Interestingly, the strategic planning process identified the need for JFCS to build a
therapeutic center to carry out our well-established group programming. This would
ultimately enable JFCS to connect our clients to the community and provide our
donors with opportunities to experience JFCS in a hands-on way, which we saw as a
long-term sustainability plan for JFCS, given the younger generation’s desire to be a
part of their charitable involvement.
Armed with the information gathered by these two separate, but coinciding
processes, I was able to have a productive discussion with our donor. I explained
why JFCS could not partner with her to build a residential facility but offered to
introduce her to another organization whose mission aligned with that particular
charitable goal she established for herself. I also took the opportunity to share the
vision that came from our strategic planning process to build a therapeutic center in
a prominent area of the region and asked her to be the lead donor for the building.
Without hesitation, she said, “I’m in.” With her lead gift and a successful capital
campaign, JFCS now owns and operates an 18,000 square-foot enrichment center
in Bala Cynwyd.
I think it is important to point out that this ended well for JFCS because we were able
to reference two processes that informed our decision to NOT build a residential
facility. The donor understood that we didn’t just make a random decision, thus she
still felt valued and heard. Additionally, JFCS was willing to walk away from a sevenfigure gift because what was being proposed by our donor was not mission-aligned
and did not meet the organizational goals dictated by a formal strategic planning
process. It is because of our approach with this key stakeholder and our desire to
stay true to our mission that I believe this stakeholder management effort was
ReplyReply to Comment
2:36pmSep 3 at 2:36pm
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The first thing that came to mind after reading this prompt was the planning of my
sister’s bridal shower several years ago. The event was held on a Saturday
afternoon at one of her favorite restaurants and was a casual lunch gathering that
included about 70-80 guests. As the Matron of Honor, I was responsible for
spearheading the planning and had a number of different stakeholder relationships
to manage, including: my sister, my mom, the other bridesmaids (my co-planners),
the guests, the staff at the venue, and the florist who provided centerpieces. In an
attempt to manage stakeholder relations, I began communication about dates,
budgets, and details with my mom and the other bridesmaids very early on in the
process, discussed with each one what type of role they felt comfortable with in the
planning, and checked in regularly with them about any updates anyone had
throughout the process. During all of these planning conversations and check-ins, I
also made sure to keep my sister and her style/tastes in mind, as she was the
specific stakeholder that we were planning the event for.
I decided how to approach the stakeholders who were serving as co-planners largely
based on past experiences that I had had as a bridesmaid – and made sure to
incorporate what I found helpful, while avoiding doing things t hat felt unproductive or
frustrating to me. I believe that my approach with this group of stakeholders was
fairly effective. I began our planning conversations by suggesting certain ideas for
dates, venues, formats (based on my sister’s preferences), budgets etc., but made
sure to invite feedback and ideas from everyone. It was really important to me to be
transparent about costs and make an effort to keep expenses low, as spending
exorbitant amounts of money on showers is a common complaint in the bridesmaid
world. In the end, we ended up blending a variety of suggestions into what became
the plan for the shower and to my knowledge, everyone felt like their input what
heard and respected and avoided feeling shocked or blindsided by any of the
Another thing that I believe helped me to find success in this example of stakeholder
management was my ability to use different approaches with different stakeholders
in order to draw out their strengths. For example, one of the bridesmaids had a
neighbor who owned a flower shop, so she was instrumental in selecting appropriate
center pieces and negotiating a discounted price. Another bridesmaid worked for
years in the restaurant industry and felt very comfortable making arrangements for
the venue, food, and beverages. Those who felt more compelled to take on a
passive role were tasked as the ones who would be in charge of selecting and
dispersing invitations and managing the guest list. Identifying different roles that
suited the various personalities from our group was very critical to helping things run
I’ve been referencing my co-planners quite a bit, but of course there were other
stakeholders involved as well and I also found it helpful to approach these different
groups in different ways. The other bridesmaids and I found that our various
stakeholders preferred different forms of communication and becoming familiar with
what to expect in that manner aided us in the success of our planning efforts. For
example, while all of the bridesmaids and I preferred communicating through email
or text (including invitations), we acknowledged that there would be older people on
the guest list who would be accustomed to receiving a physical invite in the mail.
Therefore, we decided to send out e-vites to younger guests from our generation
and physical invites to those from older generations. We include my e-mail and cell
phone, but also my parent’s landline, as options for RSVP, as I knew some of my
older family members are not fans of cell phones in any capacity. Similarly, we
learned that the manager of the venue preferred communicating via email, because
she worked many off-hours, but the florist preferred speaking on the phone, as he
felt more comfortable explaining his ideas verbally. Being flexible and open in our
communication styles, based on the preferences of these various groups of
stakeholders, served us very well throughout the process.
Because we began the planning process early and had clear communication, there
were not many surprises that we had to address. But there were a few small things
that occurred the day of the shower that were able to be managed thanks to my dad.
I did not list him as an original stakeholder, because when it came to the actual
planning or attendance at the event, he initially did not have a role. However, when
the restaurant informed us that their ice machine had broken the morning of the
event, my dad was able to pick up several bags that we used during the shower.
When my cousin showed up with her with her 3 year old son (to the kid-free event),
she apologetically explained that her sitter cancelled last minute, but she did not
want to miss the celebration, and my dad volunteered to take him to the park for the
afternoon. When my sister’s car was full of gifts, but there were still a few big items
to take, he was able to call a neighbor with a truck to transport the rest of them to
her house. As I type this, I realize that although I did not include my dad as a main
stakeholder initially, he was sort of a peripheral one by proxy; if a positive
relationship had not been maintained there, so that we were able to call on him
when unexpected situations arose, the day could have gone a lot differently than we
Overall, I believe that the management of all stakeholder groups went well in
connection with planning this event. I credit the planners’ early and ongoing clear
and transparent communication, capacity to be mindful and considerate of the needs
of other stakeholders, and our ability to be flexible when last minute changes
occurred as the reasons that this event was able to be successfully planned and
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