The Heart of the Matter is Your Mission: Catholic Charities of Boston
In baseball’s first modern World Series in 1903, the Boston Americans rallied from a three game deficit to beat out the Pittsburgh Pirates. America was bustling: Henry Ford incorporated his automobile manufacturing company in a Detroit suburb, revolutionizing large-scale assembly, and the Wright brothers piloted their first flight.
Yet as immigrants continued to stream into the United States, the Catholic Archbishop of Boston, John J. Williams, was troubled. All around him he witnessed Boston’s immigrant population—which consisted of mostly Catholics—face horrific social and economic struggles.
That same year, determined to affect change, Archbishop Williams formed the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston (CCAB) with a simple yet profound goal: provide hope by assisting those in need.
Over 100 years later, CCAB faced modern-day challenges: the organization had become too complex, mired by issues that didn't connect with its core mission. Staff was apathetic; the public, unimpressed, unsure of CCAB's true purpose. In short, CCAB had lost its way.
With fresh leadership in place as the Great Recession dug in its heels, resources were scarce. Catholic Charities’ future success depended on the alignment of the board, the leadership team, and employees in pursuit of its mission to serve Boston's neediest citizens. To guide them, CCAB developed a strategic plan of action to anticipate the road ahead with a big-picture understanding of how to return to greatness. The Balanced Scorecard served as a compass to allow management to holistically evaluate and measure impact.
In September 2008, the first Balanced Scorecard report was provided to the board of directors. The report included a strategy map with red, yellow, and green indicators that revealed performance versus plan. Further information was provided through quantitative performance data and qualitative performance assessment and recommendations. Board members were so impressed by the initial comprehensive review that they gave management a standing ovation!
During the holiday season of 2009, CCAB was able to increase its food program recipients by 20 percent as over 90 percent of food requests were met. Press mentions, tracked monthly by the Archdiocese, increased, and Catholic Charities was increasingly called upon to serve as a voice and advocate of the neediest in a positive light. By focusing on the “critical few” measures and projects, Catholic Charities positioned itself to do more with less as it embodied its core mission. We think Archbishop Williams would be proud.
WHY CCAB DESERVED THE APPLAUSE
- The Board aligned with leadership, which strengthened the agency
- Successes and challenges were communicated and monitored
- Middle management had a framework to align their activities with the strategy
- Because resources were better allocated, programs were set up for success
- Charities established a protocol for interfacing with the press to highlight the plight of Massachusetts’ poor
- A clear strategy and measures of effectiveness in achieving that strategy became the cornerstone of large donor acquisition
- Hard benefits became apparent about 18 months after the Balanced Scorecard implementation (sales and ROI increased significantly)
THE APPLAUSE CONTINUES TODAY
Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Boston was inducted into the 2012 Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy on Tuesday, October 16th, during Palladium’s Global Summit for Executing Strategy in Boston. Read our press release for more information.