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Strategic Plan 2015-2020


Mission: Our purpose, as Christians united, is to share Christian fellowship and to minister to the material, emotional, spiritual and educational needs of the people of Harris County, Georgia.

Vision: A leader in meeting the needs of those in need by being there for others as Christ is there for us.

• Christian principles are at the center everything we do.
• First and foremost, we are servants in our world around us.
• As citizens in a community, we have responsibilities for the overall well-being of the community.
• Our work never ends.

SWOT Analysis:

• Longevity – FOCUS has existed and thrived in Harris County for 30 years, a testament of the need for FOCUS to exist and to the community itself for its continued support, while building a name for the organization as well as the institutional knowledge we’ve gained.
• Volunteers – Staffing for FOCUS programs are volunteer-driven and have been so since its beginning. The “volunteer culture” of the community is a plus in feeding the people resources needed. Many of these volunteers have remained with FOCUS for a number of years, thereby building knowledge and experience.
• Community environment – Harris County is a community with primarily conservative, Christian values and a desire by many to support organizations such as FOCUS through donations and/or volunteering.
• Leadership – Throughout its history, FOCUS has been blessed with strong, determined leadership and that continues today.
• Supportive media – Harris County Journal regularly prints information, press releases and other communication as requested by FOCUS. Andy Kober, a Journal staff writer, has been a supporter and willingly submits articles/photos on behalf of FOCUS for publication.

Volunteer pool – The number of volunteers has declined some over the last year or so, but not at a level that would prevent programs from operating. However, maintaining a core of volunteers and growing that number as current programs expand or new programs are added could present a challenge. FOCUS could find itself spreading people too thin or taxing the people resources we have, which could impact morale and efficiency.
Space/facilities — Growth of the Thrift Shop and food bank has FOCUS busting at the seams at its current location in Hamilton. Any additional programs or staff would severely challenge our ability to operate, assuming more space was needed for such programs. Unless changed, this could restrict FOCUS’ growth and limit opportunities to serve.
Revenue streams – On average, FOCUS generates between 60-70% of its annual revenues from the Thrift Shop. Another 30-35% comes from donations by individuals, organizations, and agencies. A small percentage comes from events such as Empty Bowl. FOCUS currently has a healthy reserve; however, should much of those monies be designated to address new programs, additional facilities, or staff, then more pressure would be placed on our current revenue streams – Thrift Shop and donations – either of which can be impacted by the economy, competing organizations with similar strategies, or other factors that may develop.
Visibility – Although centrally located and positioned to serve the entire county, FOCUS is primarily known only in the northern portion of Harris County in the Hamilton, Pine Mountain, West Point communities. The southern part of the county identifies more with Columbus and Muscogee County programs and businesses, since many of those folks work in Columbus and migrated from there. This somewhat limits FOCUS ability to tap into a potential pool of donors and volunteers.

Education/schools – A need for adult mentoring and tutoring at all levels of education in the county has been identified by school administrators, government officials, civic leaders and others. At-risk students, whether for academic or other reasons, often need one-on-one attention that a classroom teacher with 25 or so other students, cannot provide. There are also needs in the area of truancy prevention and homeless students that should be assessed. Children clearly are our future and FOCUS has an opportunity to partner with the school system to bring more stability and hope into the lives of those students.
Increased revenues through additional streams – Harris County has untapped revenue sources such as in the southern end of the county and the possibilities for sponsoring and coordinating charitable events that raise dollars. These events could vary as could partnering with the schools, organizations and businesses. There are also grants available at various levels through state and federal programs or foundations that could help or totally fund new programs, as well as augment the support of current programs.
Broader participation by community leaders – FOCUS’ mission serves as a shining light in the Harris County community; therefore reaching out to community leaders in each part of the county to help them understand that mission would not only raise visibility but also could lead to broader participation and support at all levels of FOCUS’ work.
Additional partnerships– FOCUS should not feel the need to tackle current or future programs alone. Partnerships can be forged among the schools, businesses, civic organizations, churches and others to help not only fund but also execute the various efforts under FOCUS’ umbrella. Those entities should be identified and approached as needed by the executive director and board chair to solicit interest and willingness to support the FOCUS mission.

Economic downturn – No one can predict the economy but downturns could impact our two primary revenue streams – donations and Thrift Shop. Although some may say the Thrift Shop could fare well because people may have less available cash, therefore, will be looking for bargains. However, the food bank could be impacted via more demand as could emergency services.
Growing needs from client base – Again, depending on the needs of the clients, demand for support could increase or decrease, though it has steadily increased of late.
Splintered efforts across the county – Other similar efforts across the county competing for dollars and goods such as food could affect resources available specifically to FOCUS over time. So far, does not appear an issue and may never materialize.

Competitive advantage:
FOCUS is a well-established organization with a successful track record known by community leaders, donors, volunteers and the media. Located centrally in the county, in the county seat, it is easily accessible. Its long-time supporters and staff (full-time and volunteers) represent a broad, multi-denominational mix of individuals, with extensive life knowledge and experience. FOCUS is led by a Board of Directors consisting of community and regional leaders with varied backgrounds and strengths that feed into the decision-making for future growth and strategies. Current board members bring legal, business, financial and communication expertise to the table.

Long-term strategic objectives: Answers the questions of what we must focus on over the next three years or more to achieve our vision
Additional revenue streams – Assuming needs will grow in the community, programs will be expanded and added and that significant portions of current reserve could be set aside to address facilities’ issues, additional sources for funds should be identified.
Staffing – As FOCUS executes a strategy to grow, either of current programs or by adding programs, it could lead to the need for additional paid staff, or at the least, the need to increase hours of current paid staff. An assessment is needed of what added work might do to staffing requirements. Training may also be needed for current staff as work grows and responsibilities evolve.
Facilities – Finite space is an issue that will impact FOCUS’ ability to expand and serve over time. A thorough assessment of current space usage and options for expanding FOCUS facilities should begin – options such as adding to current building, re-locating all of FOCUS to a larger space, or relocating services (food bank, emergency services, etc.) to another location apart from the Thrift Shop should be researched, among others.
Added or expanded programs supporting education – An identified need among school-age children should be a priority as FOCUS examines ways to broaden its reach and services. A stepped-plan should be developed in partnership with the Harris County School System.
Addressing “generational poverty” – FOCUS should establish a committee of community, educational and civic leaders to identify how FOCUS in partnership with appropriate groups can begin to address this issue.

Strategies: The general, umbrella methods we intend to use to reach our vision
• Improve and/or enhance current programs– emergency services, food bank, home repair, Thrift Shop – and launch additional efforts as needed
• Establish training programs for volunteers to enhance knowledge and grow leadership, while increasing staff of volunteers
• Broaden and improve communications to reach all of Harris County and beyond
• Pursue partnerships that complement the need for additional resources and revenue, such as through like-minded organizations, churches and local agencies.

Short-term goals/priorities/initiatives: Items that convert the strategic objectives into specific performance targets, which then fall within our timeframe. It’s the what, when, and who and are measurable.
• Identify grants, additional fund-raisers and public campaigns to add to current revenue stream
• Evaluate need – including staffing numbers — for additional paid staffing and steps needed to recruit additional volunteers for all programs
• Expand current facilities or seek new facilities to accommodate present and future growth
• Launch tutoring/mentoring program in cooperation with Harris County School System
• Initiate and led a dialogue with community and political leaders on “generational poverty,” and how might it be addressed in Harris County

Action items/plans: Explains how we accomplish our goals. These are the steps that move our strategy to operations and are generally executed by teams or individuals within one to two years.

• Development or fund-raising committee will take on the task of identifying grants, fund-raisers and other sustainable revenue streams, as appropriate
• Executive committee will evaluate current staffing and volunteer levels, with appropriate input, and recommend to Board actions to take
• Establish a Facilities Committee to evaluate and recommend to Board near to long-term actions needed for expansion
• Develop and submit to the Harris County School superintendent a near and long-range plan to put in place a tutoring/mentoring program beginning at the elementary school level and grow as needed

A way to report our key performance indicators (KPIs) and track performance against monthly or annual targets. Needs development or may not be needed.
• Annual revenues – where and/or from whom
• Client numbers and assessment of repeat/chronic support
• Success of new programs – such as number of clients helped, level of support, and results from that support
• Staffing – growth in number and variety of volunteers, as well as evolution of paid staff’s knowledge, expertise and versatility
• Outreach/visibility – assessment of FOCUS’ mission and identity across a broad base of individuals and locations in Harris County.

Financial assessment: Monthly treasurer’s report.