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Union of Concerned Scientists: Organizational Alignment and Implementation

Case Overview

FSG conducted a robust organizational assessment of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) to ensure UCS had the appropriate structure, practices and culture in place as the organization evolved.

The Challenge

During its evolution from a small to a medium-sized nonprofit, UCS found that some aspects of its organization, working processes and culture were not fully aligned with the emerging demands of managing a larger and increasingly more complex organization.

Approach & Solutions

FSG began its work by gaining a better understanding of UCS’ organizational and operational priorities thorough reviewing internal documents, facilitating workshops with executive leadership and conducting internal interviews with key members of the Board and staff. FSG also conducted benchmarking analysis on peer organizations to understand insights and lessons from other similar nonprofits.

FSG synthesized the findings from the internal and external assessments, identified UCS’ areas of strengths and weakness, and provided tangible recommendations to improve UCS’ organizational effectiveness. UCS could build upon its range of strengths including its passionate, competent and committed staff and Board, strong culture, reputation for high quality and rigorous reports, and successful fundraising track record. FSG identified opportunities to improve organizational decision-making, reduce workload challenges, increase cross-programmatic coordination and instill a strong project management culture.

Based on findings from the internal and external assessments, FSG developed a set of recommendations to improve UCS’ organizational effectiveness:

  • Improve UCS’ organizational structure by creating a new Management Team with organization-wide authority and integrating several program areas into a consolidated program
  • Enhance managerial capacity by increasing project management skills such as scoping, planning and executing
  • Establish a culture that enables organizational effectiveness by instilling new accountability processes, creating culturally appropriate incentives and instilling organizational learning
By investing in a stronger and more nimble organization, UCS positioned itself to maximize the national and global opportunities that lay ahead.

About the Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices and consumer choices.

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