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Jaclyn Goris on strategic planning

In Part 2 of our Nonprofit to Social Enterprise series Jaclyn Goris discusses why she prioritizes quick experiments over elaborate planning.
February 08, 2018


Jaclyn Goris is engaged in crucial work to help kids get the nutrition that they need, but she often has to start with the basics when explaining her organization, Feeding Matters. An Arizona-based nonprofit organization, it  partners with families and healthcare professionals to promote awareness of feeding disorders which make it impossible for kids to eat, drink or digest food normally. 

Lacking widespread recognition, the organization sometimes faces challenges trying to attract funding from foundations with more traditional priorities. Therefore, Jaclyn and her team have turned to entrepreneurial methods to test revenue streams as they build awareness for their cause.  

First, they developed a parent support program that offers guidance and resources to families whose children are suffering from feeding disorders. Seeing success with this model, they decided to pilot a similar approach with healthcare providers, but quickly figured out it wouldn’t work in quite the same way. 

“For our parents’ program, families get the equivalent of a friend to listen to their concerns about pediatric feeding disorders. When we tried this with medical professionals, we found they were looking for more of a cohort and network of individuals to learn from different perspectives and identify effective treatments. Once we figured out that the needs were slightly different, we knew we had to rework our approach to serving clinicians. Now we’re looking to build out these education and mentorship programs for medical professionals as our social enterprise.”  

Although they’re still in the early days of developing this revenue stream, Jaclyn has learned to prioritize quick experiments over elaborate planning when it comes to identifying program ideas that will work. “I think it’s important to have a good solid plan, but you should understand that a plan can look more like a Business Model Canvas than a 15-page business plan,” she advises, “Once you start implementing your plan, things will inevitably change. So if you feel restricted by that 15-page plan, you won’t be able to make the necessary adjustments to be successful. At Feeding Matters, we’re using the Business Model Canvas for every one of our programs and initiatives.”

Jaclyn is now Chief Executive Officer at Feeding Matters.


Read part 3:

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Jaclyn Goris

Chief Executive Officer at Feeding Matters, formerly Senior Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives.