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Talking Information Center Inc

 PO Box 519, 130 Enterprise Drive
 Marshfield, MA 02050
[P] (781) 8344400
[F] (781) 8347716
www.ticnetwork.org
[email protected]
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Facebook
INCORPORATED: 1978
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 04-2652490

LAST UPDATED: 01/07/2015
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

To provide print disabled people access to the printed word by bringing them the information necessary to lead inclusive, independent and productive lives. 

Mission Statement

To provide print disabled people access to the printed word by bringing them the information necessary to lead inclusive, independent and productive lives. 

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year July 01, 2011 to June 30, 2012
Projected Income $761,057.00
Projected Expense $746,528.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • National Radio Reading Service
  • Radio Reading Service
  • VOICE (Vocational Opportunities in Communication Education)

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

To provide print disabled people access to the printed word by bringing them the information necessary to lead inclusive, independent and productive lives. 

Background Statement

The Talking Information Center (TIC) is a premier award winning radio reading service that has been turning print into sound for over 25,000 listeners throughout Massachusetts and beyond for more than 30 years. Established in 1977, TIC was created from a passion and desire to bring newsworthy information to the blind and print impaired community. TIC originally only broadcast an hour each of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald along with a book each afternoon. Today, TIC offers over 100 programs including broadcast of newspapers, magazines, books, special consumer information, story hours for children and a teen hour along with live broadcasts that include political debates as well as coverage of pertinent information to the blind and handicapped community 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. What distinguishes us from other reading services across the country is our ability to offer more specialized programming

 


Impact Statement

In 2010, TIC in collaboration with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, launched the first in the nation one of a kind VOICE (Vocational Opportunities In Communication Education) program. This program addresses the alarming 70% unemployment rate among the blind community.  Since its inception, we have completed 2 cycles of training and employed 2 of its graduates in the radio reading service.

In the fall of 2011, with a grant from the Verizon Foundation, we established a National Radio Reading Service to address the alarming trend of severe cutbacks and discontinuation of service among many radio reading services across the nation. More than 20 states now depend on us to provide the bulk of their programming.

We were awarded a national award for excellence from the IAAIS (International Association for Audio Informational Services) for Program of the Year/Newspapers. In 2011 we were also awarded a license for a full power FM station for Middleboro, making access to our programming among the print handicapped and visually impaired in the area even easier in the upcoming year.

In the upcoming year, our immediate goals are to expand the VOICE program in Lowell Affiliate, put the Middleboro Station on the air, increase private funding opportunities, Increase participation of all affiliates in network programming and to conduct a thorough survey among our listeners.
 

Needs Statement

One of the biggest needs TIC is facing is to develop a long range strategic plan. Within that planning we aim to address our need to develop and broaden our board profile to reflect both the direction and constituency in which TIC serves while inspiring the opportunity for growth and awareness through strategic collaborations. Also contained within that plan would be an outline for transition to new management. In addition, we would also like to begin to update all our radio and recording equipment in our Marshfield studios. The current equipment is almost 7 years old. Other upgrades include the purchase of internet radios for our listeners that have internet access.


CEO Statement

For more than 30 years, TIC has been recognized for its award winning programming that serves the blind, legally blind and print handicapped residents of Massachusetts by providing them access to information.  Most importantly, we have been helping them regain much of their independence.  A great example of this is our shopper’s guide program that outlines the upcoming week’s specials. No longer do they need to rely on someone else to tell them what is on sale. The service is free and available 24/7/365 in a variety of ways including closed-circuit radio, open channel radio, cable audio and the Internet. Programming is wide-ranging and includes daily newspapers, current periodicals, best selling books, consumer information, voter information and talk shows focusing on matters important to the blind. In addition, local news is presented in every area of the state. All our programming is archived on our web site and available at any time. 

 

In 2011, responding to a need after many reading services in other areas of the country suffered severe cutbacks and faced elimination; we developed a national reading service with a grant from Verizon of Massachusetts. The service features programs of national interests, making it easy for other radio reading services to download our material and enabling them to leverage their depleted resources. Currently, over 20 states depend on us to provide the bulk of their programming. 

 

In collaboration with the Commission for the Blind, we successfully launched the first and only VOICE (Vocational Opportunities in Communication Education) program. This program addresses the overwhelming need within the blind community to combat the alarming unemployment rate which stands at 70%. We have graduated two classes; of and 2 of the students are now employed in the reading service. One of its features is “MCB Horizons”; a live broadcast show featuring Janet LaBreck, Commissioner for the Blind, conducting weekly interviews focusing on important issues of benefit to our audience. This is another example of TIC’s commitment to the community we serve to provide them with the tools necessary to lead more independent and inclusive lives.

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Our service is unique. No other service offers the diversity of programming through human voice alongside vocational training, at no cost to the consumer. We have been able to do so as a result of our drive, passion, more than 200 dedicated volunteers and by collaborating with many of the social organizations that serve the same population.


 


Board Chair Statement

I became involved with Talking Information Center (TIC) before there was a TIC. In 1978, I was approached by a long-time friend to provide legal assistance for a group attempting to start a radio reading service. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what a radio reading service was, but I believed it would be a project that wood be an important complement to my life-long desire reach out and help others.

In high school, I always wanted to take on responsibilities. As student council President, I was concerned with the dangers of drunken driving and secured a wrecked car to demonstrate what could happen if someone drove drunk. In law school, I actively pursued and was able to become a member on the Presidential Commission on Civil Disobedience in the turbulent 1960’s.

After law school, I joined the Peace Corps because I viewed it as an opportunity to learn from others, give back and help my fellow man. 

I have been a member of the state Bar Association since 1989 because I firmly believe in the rule of law and have a desire to defend the practice of law against anything that would tarnish or destroy it. 

Over the past 34 years, we have faced enormous challenges at TIC. There have been times when our state funding has been cut and nearly eliminated, when private contributions have suffered due to economic downturns and when changing technology dictated new means of serving our clients. In 2004, a new Federal Communications Commission ruling on the delivery of Descriptive Video Services to the blind via television secondary audio program channels, we had six months to devise a new broadcast and network system and raise $60,000 to implement it.  Pulling together with great support from foundations, corporations and private donors, we were successful.

We are fortunate to have had strong leadership over the past thirty-four years. It has provided the kind of vision to see and adapt to a changing landscape in serving our clients we have continued to be a powerfully relevant service. A change in our delivery technology has taken place seamlessly. In 1978, our service was delivered in one way – over FM radio sub-carriers. Within five years, we added cable television audio channels in many locations. With the explosion of the Internet and improved voice-over-IP quality, we began streaming our service and now produce eight separate audio streams including our national service. In 2005, we sought and were awarded a license for a low power FM station in Pittsfield. This is an over-the-air signal available without a special radio. In 2011, we were warded a full power FM station in Middleboro. With live streaming, archiving of all programs on our web site, cable audio and open-channel FM access available we have many ways of providing our service.

We are very proud of our VOICE Program, begun in 2011 in a cooperative effort with the Commission for the Blind. This program trains blind students in communications providing them with the kind of real life experience necessary to put them on a level playing field in a competitive job market. Additionally, it gives blind persons the opportunity to not only learn many valuable skills, but to produce programming aired on the reading service. Our blind students are serving the needs of other blind persons.


Geographic Area Served

Massachusetts-All Regions
As of the fall of 2011, we now provide a national radio reading service accessible to all radio reading services and individuals across the country and the world at no charge. 

Organization Categories

  1. Human Services - Blind/Visually Impaired Centers, Services
  2. Employment - Job Training
  3. Human Services - Senior Centers/Services

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

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Programs

National Radio Reading Service

Launched in the fall of 2011, our national radio reading service allows other radio reading services across the nation to leverage their limited resources without having to give up programming. Everything that is aired on the National service is on national interest, allowing the other radio readings services to fill the gaps with their own local news.

Budget  $30,000.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens People/Families with of People with Disabilities Elderly and/or Disabled
Program Short-Term Success  Since its launch in the fall of 2011, 20 other states are now downloading at least some segment of our programming for use in their broadcast.
Program Long-Term Success  The Talking Information Center is a member of the IAAIS (International Association of Audible Services) and through this association our goal is to reach out to all radio reading services across the country to inform them of the programming available to them.  The long term goal, would be that all Radio Reading Services would be using at least a portion of our programming.
Program Success Monitored By  TIC will monitor its success through tracking IP addresses via the internet.  We are currently doing this and has shown success.  More than 20 other states are downloading at least some portion of our programming.
Examples of Program Success  Information is gathered via the computer as to who is downloading our programming via the internet.  Currently, we can assume that radio reading services in 20 other states are using our programming to supplement their services.  Additionally, we periodically receive phone calls and emails across the country and the world commenting on our programs; specifically, we routinely hear from Pennsylvania's Radio Reading Service.

Radio Reading Service

The Talking Information Center’s Main Program or area of service is its Radio Reading Service.   With the support of more than 200 volunteers, we broadcast the printed word. They read newspapers, magazines, and books of varying interest. Our programs are diverse in interest and range from The Wall Street Journal and Kiplinger’s to Pet’s interest and a show called Dirty Laundry (consists of Star and The National Enquirer). We broadcast to more than 25,000 individuals across the statewide and are now streaming a national radio reading service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Currently, we produce close to 100 different programs.

Budget  $746,528.00
Category  Human Services, General/Other Services for Individuals with Disabilities
Population Served Elderly and/or Disabled People/Families with of People with Disabilities Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens
Program Short-Term Success  The success of our programs is evidenced by the outpouring of gratitude from TIC’s listeners expressed by phone calls, emails, and letters regularly received from listeners and their families to thank TIC for its’ valuable service.  If a program’s relevance is questioned, listeners are asked to give their input and on-going over the phone surveys are conducted.  TIC also values the input of volunteers and the organization’s newsletter encourages suggestions.
Program Long-Term Success  Our Radio Reading Service is made up of close to 100 programs.  A program is deemed successful if it meets our listener’s needs.  Our guiding principal is to answer the following questions positively: Does is it inform them on the topics that are relevant to them?  Will it impact them in a way to make them more independent for themselves?  Will this program help them to feel less isolated and to feel more empowered?
Program Success Monitored By  Every 3 years, a major mailing is sent to listeners surveying their satisfaction and seeking input.  The most recent survey took place in 2009 and yielded results that were supportive and informational.  The next mailing will be conducted in 2012.  Above all, TIC is able to receive evaluations from listeners in real time and on a daily basis, as listeners have the ability to call in and comment after every show.  TIC also collaborates with other Massachusetts agencies committed to working on behalf of those who are visually impaired and print handicapped to assess needs throughout the state, allowing the organization to determine the nature of its’ constituents and how to better serve them.
Examples of Program Success 
Comments from our Listener's:
  • “It was such a wonderful service. She had macular for 30 years”, a daughter speaking about her mother, a listener, who has passed away
  • “My mother loved the TIC service for many years! It brought her joy.”
  • “I am an occupational therapist and give information about your wonderful service to clients in the community. You are a great resource!”
  • Always listens to obituaries, saved her life knowing when people she knew had past. Loves In Your Pets Interest! MCB Horizons is good. Also listens to Shoppers Guides, books, Aids and Appliances.
  • Likes Wall St Journal, Globe and Herald, listens more for news than grocery/shopping/daily living info
  • Has been listening for 17 years. Listens to calendar- early AM (Weekend Outlook), MCB Horizons is very good, good info going on regarding devices, just discovered “old time radio”, we should have more old time radio, does not know of any programs like this

VOICE (Vocational Opportunities in Communication Education)

VOICE (Vocational Opportunities In Communication Education) was launched in collaboration with the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. VOICE is an intensive, interactive program focusing on experienced based learning that provides valuable skills for the visually impaired to successfully enter the working world with self-confidence and competitive skill sets. 

Training focuses on communication skills important in the broadcasting industry such as on-air presentation, program producing and digital and new editing. Additionally, participants learn skills that are pertinent to any industry including time management, organizational skills, resume writing, interview techniques, and advanced proficiency of the latest adaptive technologies crucial for any field of work. Additionally, participants produce, edit, and present material that will be used on-air at TIC, creating a unique opportunity for participants to become a collective voice for the blind community from the blind community.

Budget  $15,000.00
Category  Employment, General/Other Youth Job Training & Employment
Population Served At-Risk Populations Other Health/Disability People/Families with of People with Disabilities
Program Short-Term Success  Our short term success is evident by the success of our recent graduates.  Two of our graduates are now employed within the radio reading service and expansion plans of the VOICE program has begun to our Lowell affiliate.
Program Long-Term Success  TIC and MCB's long term goal for this program would be to have training facilities of the VOICE program in all of its affiliates across the state.  In the fall of 2011, we launched the program in the Boston studios.  We would like to train and reach as many students as possible.  Duplicating our program at each affiliate would ensure the success of this program.
Program Success Monitored By  At the end of each cycle, the students are given an exit survey that measures not only what the students feel about the program but also measures whether they were able to grasp the concepts that were taught.
Examples of Program Success 
To date, we have successfully completed two cycles of training and have employed two of the graduates within the radio reading service. 
:
Comments from some of the students are

“The VOICE program is a very hands on experience. One learns many aspects of communications that can be applied to not only the job market but in everyday life as well.”- Mike Gionet

“I’m so grateful to have the chance to work with Jay and others here at MCB during this VOICE training program. This is a great training opportunity in radio and interpersonal communications, and I would definitely recommend it to other consumers looking to expand their skills.”- Katie Crocker

 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Ron Bersani
CEO Term Start June 1977
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience Ron Bersani has served as the Executive Director of the Talking Information Center since the inception of the service in 1978. Prior to that, Mr. Bersani was a teacher of English in the Marshfield School system and was personnel director for a construction company. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth, with a Bachelor of Arts in English. He is a past Chairman of the Advisory Committee to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program of Plymouth County and a member of the National Association of Radio Reading Services Tape Exchange Committee. Mr. Bersani has the primary responsibility for administering the radio reading services throughout the state, including fundraising at the network level, and studio design and construction. He has worked in every capacity at the center.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
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Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Mr. Robert Daly General Manager Bob Daly served in the United States Army and then attended Boston College. He is a graduate of the New England School of Broadcasting and has been employed in commercial radio in various capacities including on-air disc jockey and special project assignments. Mr. Daly is past president to the Halifax School Committee. He brought three years of volunteer experience at TIC to his current position. He has been employed full time at TIC since 1984. He educated himself on digital radio equipment and successfully updated TIC studios from Analog to Digital. He is responsible for the daily operations of TIC.

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
"Ron Bersani Studios" MCB (Massachusetts Commission for the Blind) 2011
Program of the Year IAAIS (International Association of Audible Information Services) 2010
Program of the Year IAAIS 2009
Program of the Year IAAIS 2007
Best Newspaper Coverage IAAIS 2005
Best Magazine Coverage IAAIS 2004
Best Magazine Coverage IAAIS 2003
Best Public Information and Public Service IAAIS 2003
Best Public Information and Public Service IAAIS 2002
Best Spot Production IAAIS 2001

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? Yes
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

TIC collaborates with all agencies and organizations serving the blind both in Massachusetts and across the nation. We hold a full membership in the International Association of Audio Information Services (IAAIS), the trade organization of radio reading services. We are also members of a collaborative in Massachusetts along with the Perkins School for the Blind; Carroll Center for the Blind; Foundation Fighting Blindness; Massachusetts Commission for the Blind; MAB Community Services; Lowell Association for the Blind; National Braille Press; Sight Loss Services and the Visually Impaired and Blind Users Group. We promote the works of all schools for the blind nationally and of all dog guide schools. In addition, we maintain close contacts with the three consumer groups in Massachusetts – Association of Blind Citizens, Bay State Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts. All three have program segments on the air at TIC and we broadcast the state convention of Bay State and NFB of MA live every year.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 5
Number of Part Time Staff 5
Number of Volunteers 250
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % 100%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: --
Asian American/Pacific Islander: --
Caucasian: --
Hispanic/Latino: --
Native American/American Indian: --
Other: --
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: --
Male: --
Not Specified --

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers N/A
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Jon Davis
Board Chair Company Affiliation Stanton and Davis
Board Chair Term June 2011 - June 2014
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Mr. Al Bennett Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Linda Dirksen Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Susan Donahue Immediate Past President Voting
Dr. Ralph Eaves Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Barbara Elliot Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Beverly Johnston Clerk Voting
Mrs. Jacqueline Keith Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Edward Perry Treasurer Voting
Mrs. Susan Price Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Susan Sommer Community Volunteer Voting
Mrs. Christine Trenz Community Volunteer Voting
Mr. Norman Williamson Community Volunteer Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 13
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): Blind 2
Gender Female: 8
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy No
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 93%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 7%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2013 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2012 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2011 (%)

Fiscal Year July 01, 2011 to June 30, 2012
Projected Income $761,057.00
Projected Expense $746,528.00
Form 990s

2013 990

2012 990

2011 990

2010 990

2009 990

Audit Documents

2013 Audited Financial Report

2012 Audited Financial Report

2011 Audited Financial Reports

2010 Audited Financial Report

2009 Audited Financial Report

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Revenue $852,150 $813,163 $754,889
Total Expenses $863,175 $834,573 $671,993

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- $54,520
Government Contributions $759,957 $719,764 $641,519
    Federal -- -- --
    State $759,957 $719,764 $641,519
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $90,260 $92,636 $57,755
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue -- -- --
Investment Income, Net of Losses $1,933 $763 $1,095
Membership Dues -- -- --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Program Expense $579,935 $565,698 $449,642
Administration Expense $283,240 $268,875 $222,351
Fundraising Expense -- -- --
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 0.99 0.97 1.12
Program Expense/Total Expenses 67% 68% 67%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 0% 0% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Total Assets $466,262 $477,283 $498,121
Current Assets $86,154 $65,768 $71,750
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 --
Current Liabilities $4,178 $4,174 $3,602
Total Net Assets $462,084 $473,109 $494,519

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value $30,000.00
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 20.62 15.76 19.92

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2013 2012 2011
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above is per the nonprofit's audited financials. The organization provide further revenue breakout detail for fiscal year 2011. Contributions from Foundations and Corporations are included under Individuals when the breakout was not available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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