How often do you have the luxury to articulate your plans and the time to map out how you'll get there?
Could you identify the top three issues your organization faces — the ones that impede it from being fully successful?
It's easy to say "funding," but what would you do with the funding if you got it and how would it strengthen your organization? Would you increase your programs, add staff positions, or launch a marketing campaign?
According to numerous sources, strategic planning has never been more important. Experts such as the Association for Fundraising Professionals and Independent Sector remind us of the enormous competition for contributed dollars. Additionally, there is a heightened pressure for funders to justify their philanthropic decisions to their own boards. Therefore, the more serious your efforts to plan and the more concise your plan is, the more secure decision makers will feel about their investment—and the greater your likelihood of success.
A good planning process is creative yet systematic. It is creative in that it begins with the ideas, insight, and experience from those individuals who are close to—and concerned about—the organization's mission, activities, and constituents. Just as important, it involves systematic research. Gathering information in a thoughtful and unbiased way allows an organization to answer important questions. Sometimes that research confirms a client's beliefs, but sometimes it challenges or adjusts their assumptions. Either way, it positions them to make informed decisions.
- National Performance Network
Retained to help lead two planning processes. Most recently, led the organization's strategic planning process to ensure its sustainability, including designing a participatory research-gathering process among its members, and writing the plan. Previously, facilitated a national team of NPN Partners in a planning process, which culminated in seven-figure funding from a major national foundation.
- Movement Research
Streamlined the organizations leadership transition and finalized a detailed plan to guide and realize the organization's vision.
- Bristol Riverside Theatre
Research on audiences, staff and funders was integrated into a comprehensive plan to address the organization's internal operations, fundraising, marketing and community relations. Culminated in high praise from funders and interest in multi-year support for implementation.
- International Tap Association (ITA)
Illustrates the challenges the field faces, its extensive reach through grass-roots tap festivals, and its potential for growth across the US. Read the full report or executive summary of Tap in the US: An Assessment of the Field.
- The Washington Ballet
Research and planning assisted in the opening this facility at the Town Hall Education and Recreation Center (THEARC) in Anacostia, an area of great historical significance to African American culture in Washington, DC. Recommendations were implemented and the enthusiasm about the report resulted in it being shared broadly with community partners. Enrollment surpassed expectations by 500%.
- Chicago Community Trust
Extensive research culminated in a plan for dance service provision. It illuminated artists' needs to dance leadership in the city, including artists and funders. Read the full report or executive summary of Serving Dance in Chicago.
- Urban Bush Women
Assessed development, internal operations, staffing, and major donor efforts, resulting in enhanced understanding of these major areas of management and new relationships with potential donors.
- Washington Performing Arts Society
Co-directed a planning process that resulted in high-level funding from a major national foundation.
Plan well. Then, Fund It.
Planning for your programs leads to fundraising success.