HOW DO WE GROW OUR ORGANIZATION?

CASE STUDIES

The John Jay Institute

and

The Center for Western Civilization

For nonprofits faced with daunting social challenges, aspirations often outstrip resources. To achieve success, it's best to have a plan. This is true whether an organization is looking to increase revenue, build capacity, or communicate more effectively.

But not just any plan will do. It must be a plan that has a good chance of working. Strategic plans work when they fit an organization's particular situation, account for its strengths and weaknesses, and wisely marshal its human and financial capital. Successful strategic plans tell the story of where an organization has been, where it's going, and how it's going to get there.

For many organizations putting together a strategic plan is hard. Refereeing different organizational interests and factions is risky. Carving out time to plan is burdensome. To action-oriented managers, executives, and trustees, planning may even seem like navel-gazing. And while it is easy to proliferate documents like "wish lists," these activities are not strategic. So the strategic planning process is indeed formidable, but it can be successful with experienced and independent support.

THE JOHN JAY INSTITUTE:

The John Jay Institute was founded by Alan Crippen to restore American civilization through an ambitious leadership development program. The Institute seeks to prepare young leaders of faith for principled public leadership through a combination of intensive residential seminar courses and real-world experience. Graduates of its programs have gone on to gain prestigious positions on Capitol Hill, at major think tanks, and in the halls of academia.

In early 2011, the John Jay Institute was facing a period of transition. Institute headquarters were moving from Colorado Springs to Philadelphia, and its leadership wanted to debut new programs aimed at business executives and active-duty military members. The organization was facing a new phase of existence. The John Jay Institute approached American Philanthropic excited about the future, but in need of a solid strategic plan to manage swift growth and change.

The Institute needed clear objectives and concrete benchmarks for its programs, communications, and development in order to leverage its new location and expansion. After meeting with and extensively interviewing the organization’s leadership, American Philanthropic delivered a detailed plan and schedule to step up development efforts, increase staff resources, and leverage a loyal alumni network to advance the Institute’s goals. 

 

THE CENTER FOR WESTERN CIVILIZATION:

The Center for Western Civilization at the University of Colorado at Boulder "seeks to encourage critical reflection on the distinctive traditions, languages, and issues that characterize the cultures of Western civilization, in order to help the citizens of Colorado and the United States understand and appreciate their past in itself and as the basis of a free and creative future."

As a wildly popular teacher, Director E. Christian Kopff knew how to share his vision with college students. But he knew he needed help in figuring out how better to share his vision with other stakeholders—including prospective donors. He also wanted help in concisely and compellingly articulating the Center's mission, vision, and goals. He needed a strategic plan.

American Philanthropic walked Dr. Kopff and his colleagues through the strategic planning process. As a consequence, the Center gained insights into what its main objectives ought to be, and how it would get there. The Center also emerged with a beautiful, four-color document that it could use to communicate its plans and vision with others.

RELATED SERVICES:

  • Strategic planning.
  • Messaging development.
  • Development-program audit.
  • Annual reports, prospectuses, brochures, and other collateral material.