Generating useful feedback may be one of the most important and difficult challenges a nonprofit faces. Good feedback helps an organization understand who they serve and how to serve those people better. When it comes to distributing surveys however, an organization is lucky if 5% of recipients respond. G.A.L.A. is asking the community to help prove this statistic wrong by participating in their five-year strategic planning survey designed to improve programming and more accurately meet the needs and desires of the community. In addition to influencing the way G.A.L.A. evolves over the next five years, some participants will also be entered to win two tickets to the 2010 Greater Waters Music Festival. Click here to begin the survey now!
The opportunity to embark on strategic planning came in late 2008 when G.A.L.A. was granted $1,000 from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund and $5,000 from the NH Charitable Foundation for the purpose of long-term strategic planning and capacity building. Awarded funds were initially utilized for internal training that allowed G.A.L.A.’s Executive Director Josh Arnold and members of the Board to participate in a series of nonprofit management workshops offered last winter by the Mt. Washington Valley Economic Council. Workshop subjects included Nonprofit Organization and Governance; Strategic Positioning and Planning; The Human Element; Financial Development and Fundraising; Marketing and Communications; and Operations Finance. Today, G.A.L.A.’s remaining capacity-building funds are being used to facilitate a five-year strategic planning process with the goal of publishing a final document by the end of March.
G.A.L.A. began the planning process by building a strategic planning advisory committee. Among many other community leaders bringing important organizational expertise and experience to the table, the committee includes former Director of Appalachian Mountain Teen Project, Donna SanAntonio; Ashoka Changemakers Program Manager, Dana Frasz; Project Laundry List Executive Director, Alex Lee; G.A.L.A. 2009 Volunteer of the Year, Barbara Laverick; Watershed and Resource Conservation Project Facilitator, Noreen McDonald; International Youth Foundation Communication Consultant, Sheila Kinkade; as well as the entire G.A.L.A. Board of Directors. Josh will be working closely with this strategic planning team over the next several weeks to complete a situational analysis, assessment of the organization’s strengths and weaknesses, identification of strategic issues, and development of action plans to address those issues. G.A.L.A. will use their completed plan to leverage operational support from the NH Charitable Foundation and Wolfeboro Fund, as well as other public and private donors.
While G.A.L.A.’s Board and Director are grateful for the work of their planning committee, they hope that community members will also be important contributors by completing a short “getting to know you better” survey. The survey is estimated to take no more than 10 minutes and includes mostly multiple-choice questions. G.A.L.A.’s goal is to find out which programs people appreciate the most, what aspects of sustainability are the most important to the community, as well as gather general demographic information. When asked about the importance of this survey, Josh emphasized that, “This feedback will help guide the way G.A.L.A. invests limited time, money and resources over the next five years. It will also help us get to know our community better and learn what interests them the most about our services. Sustainability is a broad topic, so this will help us prioritize and define the way we work toward our mission of building a sustainable community.”
The Greater Waters Music Festival, an organization that can empathize with the difficulties of generating feedback from stakeholders, is helping G.A.L.A. by providing additional incentive for participation in G.A.L.A.’s survey. All participants who contact G.A.L.A. directly by emailing a survey request to email@example.com will be automatically entered for a chance to win two tickets to the 2010 Great Waters Music Festival. Winners will be notified in April. If you are not interested in the tickets but would still like to participate, click here and begin taking the survey right away. All surveys must be completed by Friday, March 5th. Contact Josh Arnold for more information by email or by calling 603.539.6460.