October 29, 2019

Message from Chairman Michael M. Kaiser

A strong strategic plan provides a practical roadmap for advancing an organization’s mission while navigating rapid changes in technology, demographics, and the economy.

Over the past several years, my colleague, Brett Egan, and I have had the privilege to partner with organizations across the country on a variety of planning initiatives, ranging from strategic planning processes to directing major capital campaigns, from the conception of new organizations to the planning for new venues.

Our plans are in-depth, comprehensive, and most importantly, implementable. Our recent strategic plans – for organizations including The Apollo Theater, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Mural Arts Philadelphia, and numerous others – have outlined strategies that embolden organizations as leaders in their industry, enhance programming efforts, align marketing and fundraising efforts with this programming, engage board members in the life of the organization and as major contributors, deepen engagement with community, and expand the organization’s family of audiences, patrons, and volunteers. Strategic plans are also critical tools for organizations in turnaround or in leadership transitions; this was the case in our work with the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Arts.

In some cases, strategic plans clarify the necessity of embarking on a transformational fundraising campaign. Following our strategic planning process, the MUNY in St. Louis has mounted a highly successful capital campaign. Following the development of a strategic plan for The Cooper Union, our team restructured and realigned the development department resulting in tripling annual fundraising levels. Our capital campaign processes position each organization to reach its goals while building institutional visibility and creating a compelling case statement.

I have also been honored to serve as a planning partner on a series of new buildings including the Alameda Theater in San Antonio, the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts opened by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (for whom we also authored a strategic plan), the Schwarzman Center at Yale University and the Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor, Michigan. From consultations on architectural building design and program planning to staffing and operations, we are always excited to envision new spaces.

At the heart of all of this work is a commitment to helping organizations across the United States and around the world thrive in their communities and produce exemplary programming. Is your organization in need of strategic reboot or on the eve of a major project? I’d love to hear your story – please reach out to me at mkaiser@devosinstitute.net.

Michael M. Kaiser
DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the University of Maryland

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 410        Washington, DC 20004        P: 301.314.0963     

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