CASE STUDY: Transforming Global-Scale Development Operations with Human Rights Watch

Fundraising Systems & Analytics Team Reorganization (2023)

Over the course of 4 months, Justin worked with HRW’s Chief Development Officer and Development Operations team to transform their team roles and structures, for the purpose of streamlining cross-team collaboration; optimizing HRW’s fundraising systems and business processes for future growth; and enabling data-driven decision making.

A new Chief Development Officer joined Human Rights Watch in 2022 with a robust, future-facing vision for HRW’s fundraising organization. HRW’s fundraising teams are distributed globally, aligned around geographic regions and serviced by small, centralized Development Operations team using Salesforce as their donor CRM. In order to support staff around the world, DevOps was made up of strong generalists with responsibilities related to a broad swath of DevOps tasks (gift processing, data hygiene, Salesforce reports, ticket support, user training, business analysis, etc.).

However, DevOps was too lean for the growing Development team, and could only deliver “wide,” not “deep,” support across a number of topics. This kept DevOps in a reactive posture, lacing dedicating capacity to enable proactive assessment of HRW’s systems, training, and support gaps. HRW worked with Skeleton Key to revamp its DevOps team and better align it with its new global fundraising staffing model.

Activities and outcomes for this project included:

  • Developing expanded, specialized sub-teams focused on CRM and Digital Product Management; Training & Support; Revenue Operations; and Data & Analytics
  • Conducting skills and interest assessments of current staff to align them with new roles, identify skill gaps, and recommend training to prepare staff to take on new roles
  • Developing position descriptions for all new roles
  • Creating new operating frameworks to enable a 3-tiered support service model and integrated Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) with the IT Department CRM Team
  • Supporting the recruitment of a Managing Director of Fundraising Systems & Analytics