JANUARY 5, 2020

“None of this was meant to be a one-time thing. As our company grows, so will our partnership [with Horizons for Youth].”

Brad Abt, Manager at Strive Consulting

Strive Consulting is a leading business and technology consulting firm, whose mission is to create opportunity for growth while influencing positive change along the way. They excel in helping Fortune 1000 clients enhance business performance, optimize operations and achieve exceptional growth. They recognize that their greatest asset is their people, and they aspire to be the most impactful place their employees have ever worked, both inside and outside of their office walls. 

Our connection with Strive Consulting started in 2018 through Brad Abt, current Manager at Strive. New to Chicago and looking to get involved in the community, Brad met with a Horizons for Youth staff member to discuss volunteer opportunities. That discussion led to a whiteboard full of ideas for how to involve Brad’s company, Strive, as their core values tightly aligned with Horizons for Youth’s mission and they had skills and resources that would be immediately helpful to Horizons. 

Strive works with Horizons in three ways. First, they provide pro bono consulting services to the organization, which this article will highlight. Second, they serve as fill-in mentors at Horizons for Youth monthly outings. Nick Ngo, Consultant at Strive, organizes Strive volunteers to pair up with their students when their Big Sibs cannot attend the events. Finally, Strive designs, builds, and delivers a Leadership Series to Horizons for Youth high school students. Elissa White, Senior Consultant at Strive, led a 3-part series in 2019, which included classes on active listening & conflict management, interview skills, and a personality workshop. 

From that initial white board of ideas, a Strive team of four (Nora Willgren, Brad Abt, Nick Ngo, and Beth Kelly) tackled the highest priority pro bono project on the list: conversion from Horizons’ legacy donation management platform. The final solution delivered included a new donation and event management platform in Eventbrite, a workflow tool called Workato to integrate the overall solution, a new CRM in Salesforce, and a tight integration with QuickBooks, the organization’s accounting platform. 

Strive Consulting staff pictured with Horizons for Youth staff.

Throughout the year-long project, Strive worked with our Development Team to convert almost two decades of donor data and fundraising notes into the database. Moving away from the legacy platform, eTapestry, the Strive team provided support from start to finish ensuring data integrity throughout the entire process.

“They helped us build processes that will trickle down from staff, to families, to our students. It’s going to make a huge impact on the organization.” 

Adriana Martinez, Development Manager at Horizons for Youth

After 12 months of intensive data clean-up, trial uploads, and several Saturdays later, Horizons for Youth and Strive Consulting hit the ‘go-live’ button on the project on September 14th. When it was all said and done, the year-long project resulted in 16,000 historical records cleaned up, 50,000 records of donor and transactions data transferred, tens of millions of dollars in historical transactions migrated, and 12 new automated workflows and reports built. 

“This project allowed me to better understand how organizations like Horizons for Youth work. I enjoyed gaining an understanding of how their business operates, the challenges they face, and I took a lot from it personally.” 

Nora Willgren, Manager at Strive Consulting

The passion and purpose of Strive Consulting is truly ingrained in the company and its staff. The entire Strive team approached Horizons for Youth in a way that aligned with our personal mission, which is why we believe our partnership has been so successful. By meeting the organization where it was, listening to our needs, and filling the gaps we had, our partnership has allowed for many accomplishments, and has saved the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in professional services. 

“The opportunity to volunteer as a substitute mentor helped me see the potential impacts of our work first-hand. Giving back in this way was an incredibly rewarding experience, and one that would not have been possible without our partnership with Horizons.”

Nick Ngo, Management Consultant at Strive Consulting

We are so proud to highlight Strive Consulting, its staff, and leaders in this month’s Corporate Partner Spotlight.