SCORE Greater Seattle
Describe how the chapter culture supports SCORE values - [Culture]
SCORE Greater Seattle is a large chapter consisting of a dedicated group of volunteers that are passionate and committed to a culture of thoughtful practices supporting the mission of SCORE and its strategic goals.
- Diversity & Inclusion: We promote and value a culture of diversity and inclusion. We have a dedicated volunteer as the diversity champion assigned to participate with local and national teams on inclusion best practices. With a focus on growing our women volunteer base, we conducted our first successful Women in Business conference this past year with a sold out attendance of 150 women entrepreneurs and have a second conference planned this year.
- Client Engagement: Our top priority is serving and growing our client base through excellence in mentoring and educational services. We redesigned our workshop curriculum to integrate with our mentoring services. We opened four branches in outlying areas in order better serve our clients where they live and work.
- Volunteer Engagement: Our Volunteer Engagement Committee enhances the new volunteer experience using coaches to assist new volunteers with onboarding, understanding SLATE methodology importance, technology, best practices and becoming more engaged in chapter activities. We developed a formal monthly volunteer training program with best practice guidelines.
- Community Engagement: We have strong partnerships with community organizations and resource partners to ensure lasting and meaningful relationships which enrich programs and services that we offer. Agreements with local chambers, libraries, EDCs, and local small business work spaces enable us to broaden our mentoring reach. Respected partnerships with the State of Washington, local universities, surrounding city development offices allow us to build collaborative opportunities.
Describe how the chapter interacts with other chapters, the district, or SCORE HQ - [Culture]
SCORE Greater Seattle strongly supports the One SCORE concept. Collaborating and interacting with SCORE Headquarters, the district and other chapters across the nation is key to cohesiveness as an organization, building the SCORE brand, and providing a consistent client experience.
- SCORE Headquarters: Members of our leadership team each year are requested by SCORE National to present at the National Leadership Conference on key topics. We met with SCORE headquarters to participate in a workshop development program with other key chapters in order to develop a workshop foundation that can be used by all chapters.
- District: Chapters in Washington State meet on a regular basis to share best practices and to collaborate on initiatives. Chapters in the district are invited and regularly join Seattle Chapter meetings remotely. We regularly share workshop presentations and processes with other chapters in our district. We host the SEAP (Self Employment Assistance Program) program for all chapters in the district. Our administrative support provides client matching services for other chapters in the state as well as technology support. Our mentors share their expertise with the smaller chapter clients and mentors.
- Chapters: Chapters from across the nation reach out and vice-versa to collaborate and share best practices. Most recently, we have worked closely with the Phoenix Chapter to help them reestablish their workshop program by sharing our program catalog and strategies. We are sharing with Phoenix and other chapters our success in fundraising strategy. We invite and have other chapters attend our chapter meetings remotely.
- Branch: We continue to share our branch strategy with Chapter Chairs, District Directors and Regional VPs by presenting at the NLC, NW Regional Conference, and direct calls with Chapter Chairs and District Directors. We serve outer communities with four successful branches working together with the common goal of the One SCORE, One Chapter mentality when it comes to educational programs, scheduling and branding.
Describe how does the chapter attract new volunteers and where the chapter's new volunteers have come from (i.e. local network, score.org, LinkedIn, etc.) - [Culture]
Engaged, passionate volunteers are our best recruiters and source of leads. Our Volunteer Engagement Committee interviews and vets new candidates. We take full advantage of the broader volunteer roles. In FY2019 we received 96 applications and we on-boarded 40 new certified mentors. This was increase of seven more than the previous year. We continue to recruit talent with a strong focus on recruiting women and minorities.
- Outreach: Outreach activities are a key driver for recruiting new volunteers. Events, panels and chamber meetings inspire inquiries. The ability for volunteers to join SCORE and remain in their own communities has been a huge draw for new volunteers.
- Culture of Continual Recruiting: We encourage chapter volunteers to refer new potential volunteers. We recruit friends, family and clients. We report on areas of greatest need at chapter meetings to keep recruiting front of mind. We encourage volunteers to invite clients, friends, business associates, family and any other potential new volunteers to our chapter meetings so they can see first-hand how we help our community, entrepreneurs and small businesses.
- Subject Matter Experts: We solicit businesses and the partner community in search of SME's in areas of expertise that we want to target.
- Marketing: Volunteer Match, Website, LinkedIn, Facebook
Describe how the chapter manages volunteer engagement - [Culture]
Volunteer engagement starts with a strong leadership team backed by our Volunteer Engagement Committee that ensures our volunteers have the guidance, support and encouragement to be successful. This gives the volunteers a sense of direction, belonging and cultivates connection with our team to build a cohesive chapter that fosters inclusion.
- Onboarding: New volunteers participate in an onboarding program that includes training in best practices for mentoring clients. New volunteers share a short bio at chapter meetings and are featured in our monthly newsletter when they become certified. We encourage volunteers to use their skills and expertise as a meaningful contribution whether mentoring, presenting or working towards our strategic goals. At each monthly chapter meeting, we devote time for mentor development/education, outside speakers and clients present on topics that inspire mentor intellectual growth.
- Volunteer Recognition: Volunteer recognition is essential. We recognize multiple volunteers at every chapter meeting for receiving great client comments on NPS surveys (reinforcing key SLATE practices), years of service, extra effort such as speaking engagements, and any other opportunity to give a them pat on the back.
- Relationship Building: We foster relationships and inclusion by providing networking opportunities, such as lunch at our chapter and branch meetings, recognizing volunteers in chapter meetings and our monthly newsletter. We want volunteers to engage, have fun and enjoy the experience of helping small business while building community. We have a Mentors Having Fun section in our newsletter where mentors share vacation pictures and a brief summary of their trip.
Describe how the chapter ensures that its volunteers are providing mentoring and education that is relevant to SCORE's clients - [Culture]
Thoughtful matching of client and mentor, careful vetting of new volunteers, continual mentor development and use of SMEs and working volunteers are key to ensuring our volunteers are providing mentoring and education that is relevant to our clients.
- Mentor Development: We dedicate time in every chapter meeting to mentor development and continuous learning. We invite guest speakers and resource partners to present on educational topics. We invite clients to share their stories and how SCORE helped them pursue their dreams. We broadcast our chapter meetings for remote volunteers and record the meetings so everyone has the option to view. We often use our own volunteers to present in their specific areas of expertise and bring in outside presenters with the depth of knowledge on the subject that only an outside presenter can provide. We include educational articles in our mentor monthly chapter newsletter. We encourage volunteers to review training resources, attend monthly workshops and outreach events.
- Self-Development, Co-Mentoring, SMEs and Working Volunteers: We look for mentors who are self-developers and self-directed. We require co-mentoring during the provisional phase (and encourage it thereafter) and use SMEs and working volunteers where appropriate. Clients receive a higher quality of service, and mentors learn from each other's experience and perspectives.
- NPS Feedback: We review client NPS responses at our chapter meetings to reinforce SLATE. By using the new volunteer training orientation to provide a best practice template along with having new volunteers co-mentor with at least three different mentors we have found a great deal of improvement in new volunteer NPS scores. In 2019 we ended the year with a NPS score of 89.2%.
- Client/Mentor Match: We call all new clients in order to gain a greater understanding of their needs and build rapport before matching them with a mentor. We encourage our mentors to reach out to the client before the initial meeting to introduce themselves, share information and clarify meeting objectives.
- Vetting of New Volunteers: Beyond assessing business backgrounds, resumes, and experience, our interview team ensures new volunteers have the right passion, attitude and listening skills. We look for dedicated lifelong learners, constantly striving to improve themselves and their clients.
Describe how the chapter manages client engagement - [Culture]
We ensure every client feels important and welcome in our organization. Our focus on client service and satisfaction resulted in an improvement on our NPS score from 87 in FY18 to 89 in FY19.
- Outreach/Events/Workshops: We continue to provide outreach events in different communities to be more inclusive. We hosted our first successful Women in Business Event to engage more women clients. Our new workshop curriculum is geared specifically to the type of business which is appealing to client and the resource partners that recommend clients. Workshop evaluation results help us continue to provide a quality workshop program. We have expanded our workshop program to our branches to reach more clients.
- Mentor/Client Match: We call all new clients to schedule their first mentoring session, welcome them to SCORE and get to know them on a more personal level. We strive to understand how we can best serve their needs before scheduling the client with a mentor. We consider the specific business needs of the client, preferred location to meet, as well as the temperament of the client.
- Pre-Meeting Communication/Research: We encourage our mentors to reach out to the client before the first meeting to introduce themselves, share information and clarify meeting objectives. This gives both the client and mentor the opportunity to determine if additional research or preparation is required on either party's part in order to ensure a productive first meeting.
- Client Sessions: We created branches to reach and better serve our clients in neighboring communities to Seattle. In addition to the required SLATE training, our mentors participate in our best practices training where we recommend what to do prior to the meeting, how to conduct the first meeting and what to do after the meeting. We encourage co-mentoring and use of mentors with different skills in order to provide a higher quality of service to our clients.
- NPS Surveys: Every client NPS survey is reviewed each month and corrective action is taken, if needed. Client comments are shared at Chapter Meetings, reinforcing SLATE and providing an opportunity to recognize mentors.
Describe how the chapter manages service quality - [Culture]
Service quality is critical to the success of our clients and SCORE's reputation. In order to ensure a high quality of service we focus on new volunteer training, ongoing mentor development and regular monitoring and reporting of key service metrics.
- New Volunteer Training: Initial training of new volunteers on the fundamentals of mentoring and how we operate at SCORE is key to them becoming successful mentors. Our Volunteer Engagement Committee enhances the new volunteer experience using volunteer mentor coaches to assist new volunteers with onboarding, establishing SLATE methodology importance, technology, best practices and becoming more engaged in chapter activities.
- On-going Mentor Development: Mentor development at monthly chapter meetings, as well as continual self-improvement is essential to keeping skills current and relevant. New volunteers bring new skills, ideas, energy, and enthusiasm, and help energize the entire team. They initially co-mentor with our current mentors which allows us to provide better, more elite service to our clients with more current, relevant advice, and is a great learning experience for both new and existing mentors.
- NPS Surveys: We regularly monitor client NPS comments and scores and use these as learning opportunities.
- Workshops: Clients are surveyed after each workshop. Their feedback is used to continually enhance our workshop program. When a workshop is not at the highest standard the workshop committee reviews the outcome and takes the appropriate action based on the issues discovered. By ensuring that all workshops have a SCORE volunteer in attendance the high quality standard is enforced. Results are closely monitored by the Workshop Committee, Chapter Chair, Chapter Administrator and workshop presenters. All new proposed workshops (and presenters) are vetted by our Workshop Chair to ensure that they meet our quality standards.
Describe how the chapter engages with the communities that they serve - [Culture]
We strongly believe that being actively engaged in the communities we serve is crucial to our long-term growth and success.
- Outreach: Our Outreach Committee reviews all speaking opportunities and ensures that SCORE is represented at the appropriate conferences, business fairs and community events.
- Community Events: In 2019 we assumed responsibility for hosting the Annual Small Business Awards Gala and we are hosting it again this year. In 2020 we took the lead in organizing the annual Washington State BizFair, coordinating state agencies and resource partners that serve small businesses.
- Branches: Volunteers at our branches represent SCORE at countless community events, serve on boards of local organizations, act as liaisons at local chambers and libraries, and meet with local business leaders whenever needs or opportunities arise. We partner with three local universities and support their Entrepreneurial Programs.
- Sno-Isle Branch: We Co-Chaired the Program Committee for the North Puget Sound Business Summit, conducted a number of educational sessions, and participated in a number of panels. One of our volunteers is on the Board of the Native American Tulalip Chamber.
- Kitsap Branch: We regularly present on various business topics at the six chambers in our territory, which generates additional clients and volunteers.
- Southeast Seattle Branch: For 22 years, the NW SBA District has sponsored an all-day business resource fair (BizFair) at a local college. In 2019 our SCORE mentors presented to many of the 300 participants in various business workshops.
- Eastside Branch: Since the formation of the Eastside branch in 2016, the number of mentors has grown over 300% (from 9 to 30), number of women mentors has grown 300% (from 3 to 9) and minority mentors comprise about 25%.
We formed a strategic partnership with five local city governments in developing an entrepreneurship program named Startup425 to provide an education series for startups and young businesses. As part of Phase 1 of this partnership through 2019 we have offered a total of 105 sessions consisting of 210 workshop hours with a total of 1,365 participants and contributing a revenue of $9,100 to the chapter. For Phase 2 and beyond, we have added fee based workshops to be delivered by us and become integral to Startup425's 5-year strategic plan to foster startups and young businesses thereby increasing local employment.
In 2019, we received a contract for $4,950 from King County Library System (KCLS) to develop and deliver 3 custom workshops to patrons in underserved communities in the county. Discussions will continue in 2020 to strengthen this community relationship to for developing additional curriculums and workshops targeting underserved and immigrant communities in the county.
We also partner with OneRedmond Foundation for our mentors to help provide small business support services for all levels of business in and around the town of Redmond, WA. We are collocated with the local SBDC trading clients and services as appropriate.
Describe the chapter workshop program strategy - [Outcomes and Successes]
One of the fundamental services we provide is client education. Statistics show that chapters with strong workshop programs have higher client satisfaction overall. Our strategy is to set ourselves apart by offering a high quality, low-cost curriculum-based program that attracts individuals looking for the essentials necessary to start or operate a successful business. In FY19 our workshop program generated over $60,000 in program revenue for the chapter.
Program Objectives: We have three key objectives to our workshop program:
1. To provide current and future small business owners the knowledge and tools they need to more effectively and efficiently manage and grow their businesses.
2. To provide a source of new clients for the chapter, along with increasing the number of client mentoring sessions with new and existing clients.
3. To provide a viable and dependable revenue stream for the chapter, contributing at least one-third of the chapter's total annual revenue needs.
Program Structure: A curriculum-based program that sets ourselves apart from others offering similar programs. We did this by:
- Developing a Small Business Essential Task List
- We developed a curriculum track for each business entity
- We produced a Workshop Catalog with 40 high quality workshops
- We developed a vetting process to ensure quality presenters and content
- We have developed a new marketing plan to increase attendance
- A client evaluation is given after each workshop for necessary feedback
- Volunteers attend each workshop for quality control and SCORE presence
- We mix free and fee-based programs so everyone can participate
Describe any expansion efforts the chapter has taken to better serve their geography and the resulting impact - [Outcomes and Successes]
Over the past three years, we have opened four branches and expanded our reach from four to seven counties.
- Sno-Isle Branch: The Sno-Isle Branch serves three counties. We have established a close working relationship with the Sno-Isle library system, offering scheduled mentoring at each location. We work with the library system in their community education programs and offered dozens of workshops in FY2019. We also offer Boots to Business courses at the local military bases and partner with the Tulalip Indian Tribe.
- Eastside Branch: We began by first introducing SCORE to city governments. We also appointed a volunteer liaison to strengthen our existing relationship with the library system where our mentors keep regular counseling hours. We joined various chambers to which local mentors were assigned as ambassadors. SCORE is embraced as a key partner of Eastside's overall community entrepreneurship program. We have grown from 12 mentors to over 40.
- Kitsap Branch: The Kitsap Branch has grown from three mentors to eight, with three more in training. We have handshake memberships from all six chambers, and their staff members frequently send us referrals. We work hard to be visible and receive many referrals from banks, credit unions, accountants, attorneys, elected officials and business networking groups.
- Southeast Seattle Branch: The Southeast Seattle Branch was founded to serve minorities who live in this area. There are 98 languages or dialects spoken in one zip code. This branch has a very active outreach program, participating in over a dozen community events in FY2019. This past year we expanded the branch to include the City of Renton and the Renton Chamber of Commerce.
Describe what has been done to ensure the sustainability of the chapter as a viable entity for the future - [Outcomes and Successes]
Four years ago, we made the decision to modernize and grow our chapter, with a deliberate emphasis on client service, organizational structure, sound financial controls, documented processes, disaster recovery, use of technology and expansion to outlying and underserved areas. Today, without a doubt, our chapter is run more like a business and is more sustainable than at any time in its 50+ year history.
- Leadership: We have a strong Leadership Team with multiple committees. Over the past four years these teams have grown and modernized their programs including: vetting, onboarding and training new volunteers; opening branches in outlying communities and modernizing/growing our workshop program with a curriculum-based approach.
- Community Engagement: We developed a strong, proactive community engagement program partnering with key organizations to serve entrepreneurs and small businesses within our expanded geography.
- Business Development/Fundraising: We formed a business development team and developed a fundraising program to ensure our chapter's long-term financial viability. In 2019 we assumed responsibility of the Annual Small Business Awards Gala, which we used as a fundraising event and generated a net profit over $22,000.
- Organizational Sustainability: We have seen succession planning at work as various leaders have moved on and others (typically someone on their committee) have stepped up to take over.
- Mentor Classifications: We have brought on working volunteers, SMEs and Workshop Presenters to complement our core base of mentors and bring in current skills/expertise.
- Diversity and inclusion: We have become a much more inclusive organization and grown our women and minority base significantly over the past few years. Our focus on different volunteer types and diversity will help ensure a pipeline of future volunteers for years to come.
Why should this chapter be SCORE's chapter of the year? - [Merit Achievement]
SCORE Greater Seattle is executing and excelling on SCORE's mission and vision. Being Chapter of the Year would be a great way to recognize the efforts of so many dedicated and hardworking volunteers that have devoted so much time into growing our presence in our community, serving our clients and supporting SCORE's mission and vision.
- Organizational Impact: Our impact on SCORE goes way beyond our chapter's metrics. SCORE Greater Seattle is viewed as one of the strongest chapters in the country and is looked to for advice and support continuously by chapters throughout the U.S. We regularly assist other chapters with tools and advice on how to grow, improve and manage their chapters. We have developed best-in-class Volunteer Engagement, Client Engagement and Community Engagement practices, which we regularly share with other chapters around the country.
- Branch Development: We have taken our mentoring and education to outlying areas where our clients are living and working, including underserved, highly diversified communities. We have opened four branches and now support seven counties in Washington State. We have a significant impact with our clients and in our communities, as evidenced by our strong, consistent growth and performance metrics.
- Diversity & Inclusion: We have modernized our volunteer base, bringing younger, working volunteers into our organization as SMEs, Workshop Presenters and Mentors. We have also diversified our volunteer base, growing from 18% women and minorities three years ago to over 35% today.