Streams & Valleys: Development Assessment & Plan
In 1969, Streams & Valleys was created to be the voice for the Trinity River in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. The nonprofit organization helps educate the community, raise money for vital projects, improve community access and beautify the River and trails. Serving as a coordination point for The River Partners and working under the direction of CONFLUENCE: The Trinity River Strategic Master Plan, the organization’s board of directors conducted an extensive strategic planning process.
From these efforts, the board identified five new mission-related areas of impact for the organization: community awareness, advocacy and consensus building, events and programs, special projects, and resources for the river. A significant piece of this work was the strategic effort to increase operational support of the organization as it grows and evolves with the River, with the hope that it will continue to impact the community for many years to come.
With the adoption of this expanded focus and commitment to the River and to the community, Streams & Valleys identified the need to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the organization with the goal of developing an overall fundraising plan that would support its current and future endeavors. The organization selected M. Gale & Associates to be its assessment and planning partner.
M. Gale professionals worked hand-in-hand with Steams & Valleys staff to conduct a thorough assessment of the organization’s structure, governance, staffing, communications, organizational policies and procedures, and its development program. In addition, M. Gale consultants met with several Streams & Valleys board members, volunteers, supporters and friends in the community.
After careful analysis and planning, M. Gale presented a list of recommendations to move the organization forward, including a multi-year development plan. After the Streams & Valleys board approved the plan, M. Gale facilitated regular meetings and check-ins to help implement and ensure the momentum created during planning carried over into execution. Implementing the plan included a broad range of coaching by M. Gale consultants as well as a broad range of activities from board development and training, to setting fundraising benchmarks, creating a new annual giving program and planning cultivation events for stakeholders. In essence, M. Gale served Streams & Valleys as fundraising counsel, coach and partner during planning and implementation.
Specifically, M. Gale facilitated a broad range of assessment, planning, and implementation activities, including:
- Conducted board work sessions to develop organizational objectives and implementation activities for board members.
- Developed additional documentation and resources for the board and new ambassador committee.
- Drafted job descriptions for staff members and provided guidance on hiring a fundraising professional.
- Identified key donors and prospects, helped plan visits with them, participated in meetings to launch gift solicitations, and continually helped plan cultivation and solicitation of prospective major donors.
- Helped develop plans to launch a new annual giving program, while providing a variety of fundraising research and implementation tools.
The strategic development plan provides Streams & Valleys with a framework to adopt priority projects along the River and positions the organization to work within the public/private partnership to build awareness and a solid fundraising program for the River. Working within the scope of CONFLUENCE, Streams & Valleys has taken advantage of timing to begin building a donor base to support the organization. Following the steps outlined in the development plan, the organization’s staff will devote a significant percentage of their time building capacity for the Streams & Valleys, building brand awareness through grassroots marketing efforts, and establishing consistent and timely communications with supporters. They will also engage groups in the community who can help raise awareness, including neighbors, business owners, corporations and civic groups.
Thanks to the development plan, Streams & Valleys should be better positioned to take on an enhanced role in managing private fundraising for priority projects along the River, as outlined by CONFLUENCE and approved by the board.
“We selected M. Gale & Associates as our philanthropic partner because of my past experience working with the firm and because of their deep knowledge of Fort Worth and their broad expertise working with nonprofits in North Texas. Our mission includes aspects that touch on M. Gale’s experience in many areas – environmental, health care, community resources, and more. Having a broad, objective perspective viewed through the many eyes of the M. Gale team was invaluable to me as the only staff person.
They were able to provide numbers and research based on their knowledge of best practices that helped us develop fundraising targets we could use to measure our progress. Their professionalism also helped me work with the board to move the fundraising initiatives forward. They helped us identify the critical things we should do and let go of things we shouldn’t pursue which was extremely helpful. Of course, the entire M. Gale team is personable and easy to work with. At the end of the day, they were able to aggregate a variety of data and information into an easy-to-understand and easy-to-operationalize plan that has helped us move forward.”