I (Secretly) Love It!

Written by Laura Ringo on September 27th 2016.

One of the things often referred to with dread in the nonprofit world is strategic planning. I try not to admit it too often for fear of looking like a nonprofit-nerd, but I love the process! I think it is energizing to step back and look at successes and failures, make course corrections, revamp, and dream of what else can be accomplished.

Last spring and into this summer the PAL board of directors did just that and developed a strategic plan for the next three years.

Partners for Active Living will:

  1. Increase the number of venues for outdoor activities by completing 15 continuous miles of trails in Spartanburg and Forest Avenue park by June 2019.
  2. Improve health of students in 8-9 targeted schools.
  3. Promote active living and community connectivity through ongoing programs.
  4. Increase unrestricted funds to 30% of the annual budget resulting in a 3-month operating reserve.
  5. Strengthen the effectiveness and inclusiveness of the Board of Directors to enable it to fulfill the mission.

I am excited about our steps forward but to accomplish some of our goals with our capacity and resources, we are having to let go of some initiatives too.

Instead of highlighting each goal, I am providing information on goal #3 – the vaguest: “Promote active living and community connectivity through ongoing programs.”

When the PAL staff met to turn these grand goals into an operational plan, we wrestled with what goal #3 meant and so went back to the PAL board and asked for more direction and definition. This led to many meetings, discussions, analysis, evaluation…you get the picture.

Our conclusions and approved work scope –

Strategy 1: Evaluate all programs, including Hub Cycle and BCycle programs, to determine mission impact (i.e. are we significantly impacting health with the funds and staff dedicated to each?).

  1. All programs shown to have a high impact toward the mission.
  2. Management options identified for Hub Cycle and BCycle programs.
  3. Cost- efficiency options identified for both programs.
  4. Agreement reached by the Board of Directors to determine future of both programs.

Strategy 2: Serve as a resource for the community on active living policies, procedures, and infrastructure.

  1. Serve as an advocate for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in the City of Spartanburg in partnership with the City Bike/Ped Commission.
  2. Build faith-based partnerships focused on improving healthy eating and active living.
  3. Support Way to Wellville obesity prevention efforts: City residents within a half mile of a place to be active and access healthy food.
  4. Promote and encourage volunteer-driven programming.

Stay tuned for more on our progress and challenges as we embark on three exciting years.

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