Girl Scouts River Valleys is one of 111 council across America and is charted by Girl Scouts USA.  GSRV is an independent 501(c)(3) organization that covers southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin and is headquartered in St. Paul. GSRV has 28,000 girl members and our work is supported by more than 9,000 volunteers. The issues that Girl Scouts River Valley (GRSV) wanted to explore with Assume Goodwill were Membership, Diversification of GSRV revenue and property and program utilization. Each of these issues were strategically important to GRSV as they focus on continuing to evolve to meet the needs of today’s girls, their families and the needs of the community.


The Session

For each non-profit Assume Goodwill meets with, they are tasked with a few requirements. The Girl Scout leadership were asked to write down two or three issues that the group could discuss. “We like to send this document out to the group before the session.   This allows our group to preview the issues that are top-of-mind. Truth: sending the issues helps the group self-select attendance,” said GL.

The start time was 5:30pm  but due to a late afternoon rainstorm and slower-than-usual traffic, everyone got to the conference room closer the 6 pm.  The taco buffet was a nice touch although some of us were hoping for a Girl Scout cookie dessert (they showed up in our goodie bag later).

After introductions, our facilitator Jackie Colburn got us started by asking us to pick the first topic to discuss.   The overwhelming winner was “membership concerns.” The 9 Assume Goodwill members ranged from college professors and a hospice doctor, to an architect and a board game creator with a Tuck MBA.  Only one member did not have an advanced degree.

Jackie had the group work individually some, but mostly discussed ideas as a group.  We were not judging any ideas, hitchhiked off others and soon filled several large post-it easel sheets that Jackie posted up front.  Like a pro, Jackie synthesized and summarized our ideas into near-conclusions and action recommendations. Drawing pictures on 3 by 5 post its, and then presenting to the group was funny…and effective.

Gayle Hayhurst, the GSRV outside chair was at the table, with CFO Chris Amundson and CEO Tisha Bolger. “It was quickly apparent that this was a very bright group and their ideas were useful, even insightful.  They understood us. It was awesome to be a part of.”

The night ended promptly at 8 pm with most of the attendees wishing we could go longer, “ we only discussed one issue out the three, I wanted to go to the next one,” said John Stanoch.

Interested in your own Assume Goodwill Session? Contact us here to get started.


Take a look at some of the other non-profits Assume Goodwill has helped