The Phoenix

Literacy Council and RSVP form planning dream team

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When Eileen Hallstrom became executive director of the Literacy Council of Norristown last June, change was in the air.

“We were starting to come out of the pandemic,” she said. “Our board had new members. As we looked at our prior strategic plan, we realized we needed to refresh it.”

The Council serves some 300 adults each year in the greater Norristown area of

Montgomery County. About 200 are learning English as a second language (ESL). Others are receiving basic education in reading, writing and math.

Hallstrom and other senior leaders wanted to expand into family literacy, providing programs for parents while their children receive reading support. But how would they get there?

A strategic plan “is a roadmap of where you want your organizati­on to go,” said RSVP board chairman Ron Gawel.

RSVP, which connects Philadelph­ia-area volunteers to community service opportunit­ies, has helped dozens of area nonprofits through its Volunteer Executive Consultant­s (VEC). The group has 26 active projects focused on strategic planning, board developmen­t, fundraisin­g, management, marketing and communicat­ions.

“VEC came highly recommende­d,” Hallstrom said.

In her previous jobs, most recently as Youth Job

Center’s director of strategic initiative­s, Hallstrom had worked on several strategic plans.

“To get outside help to create a plan can cost $30,000 to $50,000,” she said. “And what you come up with in the end might not drive your organizati­on forward.”

VEC’s services are free to nonprofits.

High-powered team

After Hallstrom con

PLANNING DREAM TEAM »

 ?? COURTESY OF RSVP ?? The Literacy Council of Norristown serves some 300adults each year in the greater Norristown area of Montgomery County..
COURTESY OF RSVP The Literacy Council of Norristown serves some 300adults each year in the greater Norristown area of Montgomery County..

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