A well-developed strategic plan is an essential tool for nonprofit organizations to advance their missions. Strategic planning consultants provide professional guidance and facilitation to help nonprofit Boards develop their long-range goals, objectives, and strategies. However, smaller organization often lack the financial resources to acquire quality strategic planning services.

The Community Foundation is now accepting applications for its first Strategic Planning Consortium. Four organizations with an annual organizational budget of $500,000 or less will be selected to receive professional strategic planning services from Sandi Marra, Consultant, Capacity Partners, Inc. Selected organizations will be required to contribute $1,000 of the consulting fees for these professional services valued between $10,000 and $15,000 per organization.

About the Donors
Funding for the Strategic Planning Consortium is made possible by 100WomenStrong and the County of Loudoun as part of the Community Foundation’s Social Impact Institute, offering “deeper dive” training and capacity building programing for local nonprofit organizations.

Program Design
Selected organizations will be required to participate in an orientation conference call, in which Sandi Marra will review the Consortium’s timeline and provide list of tasks for the Board to complete. Completed tasks will help each selectee to prepare for a one-day workshop attended by all selectee organizations. Executive staff and at least one Board member from each organization are required to attend. After the strategic planning workshop, Sandi Marra will work directly with each organization to facilitate the development of a personalized strategic plan.

Selected organizations must understand and demonstrate in their application that strategic planning is a Board-driven process in partnership with the Executive Director. The strategic planning consultant provides valuable facilitation and strategic expertise to an organization’s planning process, but ultimately the organization’s Board of Directors, working in partnership with the Executive Director, will be responsible for completing the work to fully develop the strategic plan.

About Sandi

Sandi Marra, Partner Consultant with Capacity Partners, offers expertise in facilitating strategic planning and implementation, as well as board development and creating positive board­ staff interactions. Having led organizations in both executive staff and board chair roles, Sandi understands the importance of respecting cultural norms and traditions while creating the impetus for bringing about needed organiza­tional change. She was the chief operating officer of St. Coletta of Greater Washington, guiding the strategic growth of the organization from $5 million to $20 million in operating budget. In a volunteer role, she is the chair of the board of directors of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, a $10 million national nonprofit membership organization.

Eligibility Requirements for Applicant Organizations:
• Must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity;
• Must serve Loudoun County in the human services sector;
• Current fiscal year’s operating budget shall be $500,000 or less;
• Must have a paid Executive Director (part-time or full-time) and a Board of Directors with at least five members, with no more than 30% of those Directors comprised of family members (the term “family member” shall mean any sibling, ancestor, descendant, or a spouse thereof);
• Must currently lacking strategic plan, or, be an organization with a strategic plan that needs to be updated or redeveloped;
• Priority will be given to successful grantees of 100WomenStrong and the County of Loudoun competitive grants process over the last two years; and,
• Consideration may also be offered to regional organizations. However, those groups must have (a) a Loudoun-based budget that is $500,000 or less, (b) a Loudoun-assigned paid executive leader, and (c) a Loudoun-based advisory board/committee.

Commitments for Selected Organizations:
• Selected organizations must pay $1,000 consultant fee to the Community Foundation by August 1, 2019;
• Board of Directors must identify one Board member to “chair” the Board’s strategic planning process (typically, not the Chair or Board President), working in partnership with the Executive Director;
• Executive Director and minimum of one Board member (ideally, your Strategic Planning Chair) must participate in a preliminary conference call and attend a one-day workshop (it is encouraged that as many Board members as possible attend) set for August 24, 2019; and,
• Executive Director and Board of Directors must commit to participation in strategic planning sessions with Sandi Marra, and completion of final strategic plan document and final program evaluation by February 28, 2020. Completed Strategic Plans shall be submitted as a “final report.”

Application Submission and Review
Application and supporting documents must be submitted electronically via email to Nicole Acosta at [email protected] on or before July 8, 2019, 5:00 p.m. (subject line: Strategic Planning Consortium Application).

Program Timeline, Selection and Final Reporting
Applications will be reviewed and selected by a review committee convened by the Community Foundation. Selected organizations will be required to complete a program evaluation at the conclusion of the program. Program timeline is as follows:
• July 19, 2019 – Applicants notified of final selections
• July-August 2019 – Executive Director and Board Strategic Planning Chair participate in video conference call for workshop preparation (date TBD based on participant availability)
• August 24, 2019 – One-day strategic planning workshop (Executive Director and minimum of Board Strategic Planning Chair required; it is encouraged that as many Board members as possible attend)
• September 2019-February 2020 – Organizations work individually with Sandi Marra to develop strategic plans
• February 28, 2020 – Strategic plans must be finalized; organizations must complete final program evaluation and submit completed plan as a final report.

Download the full guidelines and application here.

Questions?  Contact Nicole Acosta at [email protected] or 703-779-3505, x3.