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What would be the best way to structure a non for profit where they want to expand their locations?

Anonymous A asked on May 05, 2019 - 3 answers

A client has a non for profit business model operating in one university but would like to expand that into others. Which type of case framework would be best to solve this case?

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replied on May 06, 2019
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As usual - the best framework is no framework!

You have to think from first principles.

  • Start with the core question and the underlying obective. For non-profit cases, you usually have to distill a precise definition of your focus metric (e.g., "Quality of education" --> how is it defined?) before you can even start your structure!
  • Then you define the criterion to answer the core question and then break it down by means of a logic tree.
  • For each branch of your logic tree, you brainstorm a couple of qualitative areas which impact this branch.
  • Then all you need to do for the rest of the case is to go through the logic tree, analyze the branches in order to check whether/how your criterion can be met or not

This is how you work as a strategy consultant! And your case approach should mirror this. A case structure is a LOGIC, not a list of "buckets" to look into.

Cheers, Sidi

replied on May 05, 2019
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You need to ask the clarifying questions first:

  1. What's the objective of the non-profit? - Even though it's not for profit there is always some numerical objective
  2. What is the operating model? How is it working? - without understanding the context and the business it's impossible to structure the case


Alexander updated his answer on May 05, 2019

I don't think that there is one single framework that you can use. In fact, filling the unknowns in the given description would let you spin this into different cases. Let's take two examples that both fit the description:

(a) The non-profit provides sexual violence counselling services in the US. In that case, you'd need to take state law and Title IX into account, as well as potential public funding. This might sound obscure, but any US student applying straight out of college would know to check those things. They would also know that certain states will be more susceptible to the idea and so on. In short, I'd prioritize a PESTLE analysis.

(b) The non-profit organizes exhibitions for promising student artists and invites wealthy members of the public to them, thereby kickstarting the students career. In that case, you'd probably start by identifying which traits make a university a good target. For example, you might go for universities in wealthy towns with an easily mobilized upper class and try to define key members of society who would be willing to head the local chapter of the organization.

I hope that these examples show that there is no single framework you can use - ask clarifying questions and take it from there. Particularly relevant would be how they define their goals - in most cases, it's market penetration or profits, but a non-profit might define its goals very differently.


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