by Marilyn S. Jones
“Penn State is a classic case of disintegration played out in front of the whole world,” said Greg Woodman, CEO of Affinity Connection of State College. Concerned and seeking to address the situation, he and his colleagues decided to use their expertise “to shed light” on the problem, and to help make things better.
Affinity Connection, a local business that helps organizations, mostly nonprofits, to “build community amongst their membership” and to “grow, raise money, and get healthier as an organization,” uses a process of identification, questioning and clarification to help clients improve their situation when they “know something is wrong and not working.”
Woodman’s business begins by doing a “stakeholder audit.” Meaning they ask clients to identify those people who have an interest in the organization. They seek to elicit “their core values,” and to “define the reason the organization exists and who they serve.”
These responses are then compiled into a report that summarizes the data and reveals the responses. The goal is for the client to move forward with one voice, so they can “tap into their membership base for donations, to support their case for [financial] support.” This, then, enables the client to function in an integrated way to reach their objectives and to raise funds.
The staff of Affinity Connection saw this very problem in their midst: the lack of integration among the stakeholders of the Penn State communit