Organizational Development and Planning

WolfBrown consultants have led strategic planning processes for organizations of all sizes, and at all stages of development, across the arts and culture sector. Each planning project is tailored to the organization’s needs, and starts with a dialogue about what sort of planning process will yield the best result. Will the organization be served by scenario planning? Is it ready for paradigmatic change? Should the planning process investigate multiple visions for the future, or just one? How will the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion be manifest in the planning work? How will progress toward plan goals and strategies be measured and adjusted as needed? How can the planning process contribute to organizational sustainability?

While written plans memorialize institutional thinking about the future at a given point in time, we understand planning as a continuous rather than episodic activity, especially given the rapidly changing environment. Our plans are flexible and ensure that board and staff together can adjust and add components in the years of implementation. We see ourselves as thought partners with our clients for as long as they have a need for our services, even after written plans have been completed and approved.

Planning projects often start with an in-depth analysis of an organization’s competitive environment, its mission, values, programs, marketing, fundraising, governance, staffing, and overall business model and capitalization structure. The results of this research help to identify key opportunities and challenges, as the launching pad for a collaborative process to develop programmatic, organizational and financial strategies for delivering on the mission and desired impact. At the heart of strategic planning is creative thinking about strategy. Some planning projects end with the articulation of an overall set of institutional goals, values and strategies, while others go on to create concrete, action-oriented, financially achievable action steps and desired outcomes for all areas of the organization. Planning is important work. Achieving organization-wide alignment around vision, goals, and strategies is crucial to motivating stakeholders to fulfill the promise of mission and funders to maximize their support.

In-depth financial analysis and projection is a critical component of much of our planning work and WolfBrown plans are often utilized in developing fund raising strategy, and as first steps in analyzing financial need in advance of capital campaigns. The plans can be used to develop the tools for managing operating budgets, as well as forecasting capital needs, including for reserves and endowment.

Finally, WolfBrown understands that human capital is the linchpin of organizational success. Without a motivated and skilled workforce, organizational strategy has little chance of successful implementation. Yet the expertise required to manage a nonprofit workforce in the 21st century is significantly more complex than it was even 10 years ago. In strategic plan after strategic plan, we see institutions making serious commitments to workforce improvement, but falling short on implementation. We also offer a range of services to assist nonprofit arts organizations in making sure they have the right people, with the right skills and experience, in the right positions, doing the right work in the right way. 

Services Offered:

Organizational Services:

Organizational strategic plan development

Organizational Assessment

Mergers, alliances, and collaborations

Plan implementation advice and counsel

Impact assessment and public value audits

Facilitation and leadership summits

Human Capital Services:

Executive/Artistic leader succession planning

Executive performance review and compensation benchmark analysis

Governance assessment and development of “best practices” policies and procedures

Executive coaching

Decision mapping; authority and responsibility charting