Lending a hand to an organization creating generational impact

Since its founding in 2012, Propeller gives back each year to social impact organizations in our local communities. It’s a pro bono effort we call, “Uplift”, and we are proud to support and serve organizations that are changing lives for the better. 

Some of the exemplary nonprofits we’ve partnered with over the past eight years includes: Oregon Food Bank, Mercy Corps NW, Together SF, KairosPDX, Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute, Ella Baker Center, Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights – San Francisco, Impact NW, and FutureMap, among others. 

For Propeller, our commitment to community and corporate responsibility reflects a core principle. In a year that challenged organizations everywhere, our ability to continue our support for these nonprofits is especially gratifying. FutureMap is one of these remarkable organizations. 

FutureMap: worthy of the spotlight 

Founded by Sruti Bharat and Sharon Yang, FutureMap helps first generation college graduates prepare for the job market. Their programs target the 50%+ of undergraduates in the U.S., predominantly low-income students of color, who are first in their family to pursue a degree. These students often face systemic employment barriers. FutureMap coaches them through the process of landing their first job, connects them with potential employers, and provides ongoing support to set them up for success. Essentially, they create employment outcomes that can create cascading impacts for generations. 

The team at FutureMap had always envisioned working directly with employers to support first-gen students. This past summer, we all saw a huge shift in the national dialogue around race and equity. FutureMap wanted to align with companies that were open and receptive to conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and recruiting—so Propeller partnered with them to provide the right level of market analysis to identify these employers. 

Additionally, one of the FutureMap founders is an ex-consultant and knew that having a valuable outside perspective from experienced consultants could help kickstart this initiative. 

Letting the data point the way 

With the guidance of founder Sruti Bharat, my colleague Riley Smith and I partnered on a competitive analysis and cost and pricing estimates for FutureMap’s job-placement services. To start, we conducted high-level market and competitor research on a number of parameters, looking across size of target companies (customers), diversity, equity and inclusion maturity, community partners, and more. Then, we created maturity and target personas to test our analysis and identify a niche for FutureMap’s services. 

Part of our process also involved conducting interviews with each FutureMap founder to define the offering and identify time commitment and hourly rates against each specific service. We then created a financial model to allow FutureMap to flex variables and services, in order to determine an optimal cost range. 

One huge value prop for me was the support I got from Propeller to price our services closer to the true value of the services, which had been difficult for me as the leader of a nonprofit organization. They brought their own experience with staffing agencies and procurement organizations to offer some incredibly valuable pricing benchmarks. — Sruti Bharat, founder, FutureMap

Both non-profit and for-profit organizations benefit from the same rigor 

Partnering with FutureMap and its talented, passionate team was an inspiring experience. It would be easy to assume that the challenges and solutions for a nonprofit differ greatly from those of a Fortune 500 company, but our engagement with FutureMap proves that is not the case. In all the consulting work our teams take on, the following three tenets consistently guide the results we deliver to our clients. 

1. Align on scope. A clear, defined scope results in a targeted and satisfying outcome for the client. 

2. Display curiosity. Show a passion for the project by asking good questions about the why and the how. This helps locate the problem statement, any anticipated challenges, and significantly increases the likelihood of a positive, value-added outcome. 

3. Keep the project moving forward. Projects are about delivery, and there are always challenges and obstacles to getting there. To ensure progress, we give our clients something to react to in every touch-base or check-in, getting alignment on actions and next steps so everyone is on the same page—and moving forward. 

The joy of partnering to make a difference 

Propeller consultants love the opportunity to work with a wide range of nonprofit partners—especially powerful when they are all in the communities in which we live. Our goal is to make a lasting impact and uplift organizations through strategy, professional development, or direct service. 

Interested in partnering with our passionate team on a pro-bono project? Learn more about our Uplift Initiative and tell us about your project.

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