Pro bono work isn’t just for lawyers
A team of bankers is helping Brooklyn Workforce Innovations secure the future of its Brooklyn Woods skills training program.
Liz here from EFS Solutions, reporting on how our team’s pro bono project is progressing. The last few weeks have been dedicated to a combination of research, market analysis and producing our deliverables for the non-profit job training program, Brooklyn Woods (BWI). If you remember from my last post, our areas of focus were market research, as well as a bathroom vanity pricing model and exploring optimal production numbers.
Brooklyn Woods connected the team with several of their key clients to share perspective on the industry and non-profit. While each member of my team is focusing on different areas, this dialogue and client insight was helpful to all of us. These calls not only helped us understand how client relationships form in this specific industry and how the pricing and bidding for jobs occur, but also how Brooklyn Woods fits in to each client’s business model in terms of production goals and strategy.
Clients gave us feedback on the business relationship, and the amount of work BWI had done with them compared to other supply partners. These insights gave us an idea of market opportunity and production volumes, in terms of the typical number of projects completed. We’re using this information to anticipate the number of projects BWI will do in the upcoming year. This is important because it will help the program develop their own business plan and future pipeline to allow for stable and consistent project, staffing and cash flows. This is helpful to them because it will allow them to plan ahead to ensure they have sufficient timing and staff and are using their resources efficiently. Additionally, this will allow them to adapt quickly in the event of project changes, capacity constraints and other things.
For my market opportunity analysis, I found the quantitative data more relevant, whereas other group members focusing on Brooklyn Wood’s marketing efforts found the relationship development and client feedback to be the most helpful. These client calls also reinforced something important the group already knew – Brooklyn Woods is a truly unique business that produces high quality products and has a meaningful social impact on its community that resonates with clients.
Separately, our group also spent time catching up one-on-one with Brooklyn Woods to share our findings, discuss follow ups and receive feedback on how the deliverables were coming together. These meetings ensure we deliver what we promised in the most useful way possible. Also, given that my fellow project members and I were all focused on more individual work, we continued to catch up weekly with each other to stay on target and provide updates on our respective topics.
As we progress in the project, it’s been rewarding to see individual pieces of work coming together. While we have been working independently, each person’s work is a piece of the puzzle that forms the deliverable that we promised. Each piece is important, but together they form the whole picture and become more powerful. For instance, the pricing model by itself will be a valuable tool for BWI in accurately and appropriately pricing their products. Additionally, the market research and analysis is helpful to determine how much opportunity exists in the market, and how much of that business BWI can reasonably capture. When you bring the pricing model and the market research together, BWI can make an informed and efficient decision about the type of business it makes sense to compete for and spend time on, while considering costs and capacity constraints. As we move into the final phase of our project, it is exciting to see everything come together and how our work with Brooklyn Woods can make an impact on both their business and the community.