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Case Study

Executive Team Workshop Facilitation

Best Friends

Helping end the killing in America's animal shelters through building community programs and partnerships all across the nation.

The Challenge

Utah-based Best Friends operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals along with providing adoption, spay/neuter, and educational programs. Their goal? To make every shelter and every community no-kill by 2025.
Over the last 10 years, Best Friends impressively scaled from $30M to $120M in annual revenue. And while this amply powered their mission, significant growth in both size and complexity resulted in challenges involving decision-making and alignment across the organization.
Moreover, Chief Officers and departments alike tended to operate in silos instead of working collaboratively. This compounded management’s barriers to determining effective solutions and priorities for the organization as a whole.


So CauseMic was brought in to address one primary question:

  • How might we improve and clarify our decision-making process in pursuit of our mission?



Our Solution

To determine the essence of Best Friends’ challenges regarding decisions and priorities:

  • CauseMic conducted discovery sessions with 21 Chief Officers and Senior Directors (Leadership) to (a) gather feedback on current processes, (b) align priorities, and (c) understand barriers to decision making. We also asked which problem each would like to solve.

  • We facilitated a half-day How Might We workshop for Leadership to align on key challenges to an effective decision-making process. Among other considerations, this primarily included bringing clarity to such aspects as:
    • What successful problem-solving looks like

    • Clearly defining a problem for all key decisions

    • Determining the decision maker and who’s accountable

  • Our facilitation also surfaced underlying issues that did not come out in discovery, including:
    • Lack of Leadership alignment on priorities and resources
    • Inconsistent communication among Leadership
    • No formal process for making and communicating important decisions

The Results

To address both the original challenges and those subsequently unearthed during discovery and facilitation:
  • We partnered with key Best Friends stakeholders to design and launch a pilot decision-making framework, custom-tailored to promote clear and organized decision-making from Leadership.

* Most of this was raised during June 2023 in spite of (a) the U.S. debt-ceiling talks creating greater economic uncertainty, and (b) following a year when nonprofit spending online was down 4% year over year

“We really appreciated how CauseMic took the time to truly understand our team and what we were trying to accomplish.

After just a short time working with us, they had an impressively precise understanding of our work and the specific challenges and opportunities we were trying to tackle.

This allowed us to hit the ground running and not have to do a lot of legwork to bring them up to speed. I found them to be incredibly thoughtful and responsive partners in this work.”

Best Friends

Elise Traub
Chief External Affairs Officer and Chief of Staff

Make the most of your top-level meetings.

Adopting an inclusive workshop process helps ensure the best, most feasible notions surface from all your meeting participants. With CauseMic’s expert, facilitated structure, you’re well on your way to a successful, solution-oriented gathering.

A collage of CauseMic leadership