Last year, SVP Denver piloted a cohort of four nonprofit investees for a series of workshops led by an expert facilitator to create their organization’s Theory of Change to demonstrate their organization’s impact on the community. We caught up with Law School Yes We Can’s founder, Judge Christina Arguello, and their executive director, Maria Arias to learn about their experience participating in our fall cohort.
Law School Yes We Can expands the pipeline to law school for diverse applicants by matching students with mentors who guide them through college with the goal of helping them receive admission to the law school of their choice. Fellows participate in a tailored pre-law curriculum and additional workshops, such as Emotional Intelligence and Myers-Briggs. They also provide scholarship support and facilitate Law School Admissions Test prep courses. Here are excerpts from that conversation.
Why did you decide to participate in SVP’s Theory of Change cohort?
Our organization is at a critical point. We started with a working board and part-time staff and based on conversations with SVP Denver, realized that creating a Theory of Change would be a powerful starting place to focus on our organization’s vision and goals as a precursor to creating a more long-term strategic plan. We also saw it as an opportunity to engage a board member in the process.
What was the experience like for your team?
We especially appreciated how organized the entire process was. The feedback we received along the way as we developed our Theory of Change was incredibly important to help broaden our vision. At the workshops, it was nice to hear from other organizations and learn what they’re doing.
What did your team get out of the experience?
We were able to create very concrete and aspirational goals. It helped us crystalize what our focus should be and how to simplify the message of everything we do and our impact
What advice would you give to future cohort investees?
Get board members involved! This is an invaluable engagement opportunity.
What are your biggest take-aways on the topic of creating a Theory of Change?
Putting everything that we do in graphic form was the most challenging aspect as well as the most impressive and helpful. This experience enabled us to show the who and why of what we do in a single page which is really powerful.