Good, sustainable growth requires careful analysis first

You’ll be reading a lot about growth in this month’s issue. While most of it is strategic growth — related to our ASPIRE conference that will be held Sept. 25 — A Kid Again is growing organically as the nonprofit scales into a national organization.

President and CEO Oyauma Garrison, a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry, says if you’re expanding, there’s a lot of similarity between the for-profit and nonprofit arenas. It requires careful thought to make sure you’re entering into a sustainable market, which means looking at market analytics and data.

With some help from others, A Kid Again has identified five key metrics, and weighted them, to help determine the most viable markets.

“We’re using the rankings of the top national children’s hospitals to give us some barometer of their level of success, the quality of care and their connection to providing services for kids who are facing life-threatening illness,” he says.

Another example, Garrison says, is looking at the city’s dynamics and what kind of amusement can be found within a one- to two-hour drive radius.

But not everything is the same in the nonprofit space.

“When I think about it from my for-profit world, it comes really down to what makes the most business sense, and does the data support our ability to enter into the market?” he says.

However, a number of nonprofits that have grown nationally have told him they’re constricting in and creating mega-regions because they oversaturated the market.

“Unlike an insurance environment, or any other franchise environment, where you would probably want your brand on almost every corner, that is not how we’re designed,” Garrison says. “We’re not looking to open up multiple chapters in a constricted space.”

Another key variable is the availability of corporate, foundation and donor support. It’s a slightly different dynamic than in the consumer world where you’re selling a product, he says.

But as Garrison learns the ropes of the nonprofit space and A Kid Again starts helping more children and families, it’s easy to see the excitement. Companies, individuals and hospitals are all raising their hands to help. Read more about A Kid Again in the Building Stronger Communities feature.