Last fall, we announced our partnership with Innivee Strategies, Inc., a Deaf-owned organizational and leadership development consulting business, to undertake a needs assessment and strategic planning initiative for CSD of South Dakota (CSD of SD). The needs assessment included a statewide survey that was distributed in English, ASL (American Sign Language), and Spanish to various stakeholders in the community, and for which we received over 85 responses. In addition, Innivee Strategies also completed various focus groups, including deaf, hard of hearing, and deafblind adults; parents of deaf/hard of hearing children; current CSD of SD staff; government/medical/educational professionals; and organizational partners. We are very appreciative of the community’s involvement in this effort.
Summary of Key Data Point from survey and focus groups:
CSD of SD’s strengths and successes include:
- One-of-a-kind services and programming within the state of South Dakota – many respondents emphasized how essential CSD of SD’s services are;
- Dedicated staff members – often going above and beyond to connect with children, families, and teach ASL;
- Invaluable youth, family, and advocacy services – empowering hearing families and their deaf children through role model support, peer engagement opportunities, and more.
CSD of SD’s continued strategic development and growth:
- Clarity of Identity, Programs, and Services & Increased Visibility: The majority of respondents were in agreement that CSD of SD would benefit from clarifying what services the organization provides and increasing its overall visibility within the state of South Dakota.
- Additional Opportunities to Connect: Participants, both deaf and hearing, expressed a near-universal desire for more opportunities to connect, socialize, and learn, especially because of South Dakota’s geography and remoteness, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Enhanced Early Intervention, Youth, and Family Support: One of CSD of SD’s strongest programmatic offerings, it is no surprise that many survey and focus group respondents also expressed interest in seeing additional early intervention, youth, and family services provided.
- Community & Staff Development: Respondents want to see more deaf awareness training for the community, businesses, and organizations, more education that empowers deaf and hard of hearing community members, and more staff and staff development so they can continue doing their important work.
- Diversify Relationships, Funding & Resources: The organization has only two major sources of resources and funding, the CSD national headquarters and the State of SD. A number of respondents expressed concern that the demand for CSD of SD’s services outpaces the funding and resources currently available to the organization; they want to see the organization do more, which requires more funding and other resources.
Based on the data provided from the needs assessment, Innivee Strategies and an ad-hoc committee, compromised of a diverse group of stakeholders, will identify top priorities and recommend what CSD of SD’s strategic plan should include. We look forward to receiving their recommendations and sharing the next steps of our plan with our community in late Spring 2022.