BHAS Unveils Five-Year Strategic Plan
by Elizabeth Rodrick, Vice President – At our August 2018 Board Retreat, we tackled the sometimes dreaded task of creating a strategic plan for our chapter. One of our members, Ed Adelson, had professionally facilitated strategic planning for groups and generously volunteered to do this for our Board. We are grateful to him for a pleasant and rewarding experience. Much of the following information is from Ed’s summary. We started by brainstorming answers to five broad topics:
Who are we now?
What is our context?
What are our goals?
What are measurable strategies to further these goals?
Where do we go from here?
Who are we now? We believe that our mission statement is still as relevant as ever. “Our mission is to promote environmental education and recreation and to maintain and protect our ecosystems for future generations.” We are mindful of important themes from the National Audubon Strategic Plan: conservation efforts, broad public reach and commitment along with commitment of member participation and networking with other organizations, climate action, focusing on flyways, diverse participation, and use of sound science. Our state annual report provides some mutual priorities as well: building bridges with industry, landowners, and other geographic stakeholders in our communities; collaborating and partnering with other organizations on behalf of birds and wildlife in our region, addressing climate action legislation, and stressing the importance of grass roots efforts. In addition, recognizing who we serve is paramount to this planning effort: our members, the general public, birds, and our natural world.
What is our context? This exercise identified our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Our strengths are conservation work, quality volunteers, flexibility and responsiveness. Weaknesses include lack of diversity, low number of active members, and reactive conservation. Opportunities for improvement are collaboration with other non-profits and outreach to the community. Possible threats to our organization are a shrinking membership, political changes, and technological changes.
What are our goals? Under four major themes we identified several goals to help fulfill our mission.
1. Environmental Education – develop new classes, collaborate with schools, and develop new adult learning opportunities.
2. Recreation and Enrichment – develop a cadre of field trip leaders, increase attendance at program meetings, broaden and increase field trip sites and participation.
3. Protect Ecosystems – reduce risks from and costs associated with climate change by taking actions to lower greenhouse gas emissions and implement adaptation strategies, protect biological diversity and ecosystem services in our three county area, develop new member activists and expertise, and increase public awareness of political and environmental threats to local habitats.
4. Organizational Concerns – nurture leadership and consider new leadership models, increase outreach to the community and diversity of members, re-establish the Ways and Means Committee, devise a long-term fundraising and investment strategy, improve communications with members and the local community and reduce costs, create a new committee to solicit and coordinate participants for avian science and habitat conservation projects.
Next, the Board delivered these goals to our standing committees and asked them to develop strategies with metrics for success and a timeline that will advance the goals. This will allow us to evaluate our progress and report to the membership on an annual basis. You may view the strategies on our website, Strategic Plan. If you are interested in more information such as the metrics and the point persons responsible for each strategy, please contact Elizabeth Rodrick, email@example.com.