Leadership Lackawanna
Northeastern Pennsylvania’s premier community leadership and professional development organization

Strategic Plan

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2019-2021 Strategic Plan

BACKGROUND:

Over a six-month period, Leadership Greater Hartford’s (“LGH”) President and CEO, Ted Carroll, worked with the Director and the Board of Directors of Leadership Lackawanna (LL) to:

•  Query alumni, sponsors and key stakeholders to determine how they perceive LL, where they felt the organization is making a difference, and where it might potentially do more to impact Lackawanna County

•  Update its mission statement

•  Articulate the values that would guide its work

•  Identify the key areas of strategic focus (program, organization and financial)

•  Draft work plans with key action steps and accountability around these areas of focus

This work entailed electronic surveys to alumni and sponsors, two focus group discussions, two half-day board retreats, and three meetings with executive leadership, including one with the president of The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce as a key organizational partner.

FINDINGS:

Results of the electronic surveys completed by both alumni and sponsors of LL were given to the Director and Board of Directors. They show, and subsequent focus group discussions confirmed, that LL is highly valued by its alumni and its sponsors.  The organization is particularly respected for how well it educates employees and high school students about the local community and how it engages them in helping to strengthen non-profit agencies and the community as a whole. We also learned that there is a need in Lackawanna County to educate, connect and engage more of its citizens and an appetite from the Board and Director to respond to that need.  In order to do so, however, LL needs to grow its capacity consistent with its mission and values.

CURRENT MISSION:

to enhance the skills and knowledge of the area’s emerging professionals through premier leadership development programs enabling them to better serve their organizations and communities.

REVISED MISSION:

to enhance the skills, connections and knowledge of emerging and established leaders, enabling them to better serve in our communities, workplaces and organizations.

VALUES:

•  Leadership - We believe that the potential for leadership resides within everyone and that it can grow if continuously nurtured.

•  Community - We build strong communities by developing and connecting leaders committed to the common good

•  Diversity and Inclusion - We respect, appreciate and engage the unique perspectives and contributions of all members of our community

•  Personal and Professional Growth – We are committed to helping participants, alumni, volunteers and staff discover and develop their full potential

•  Empowerment – We inspire leaders to develop other leaders

MAJOR STRATEGIC GOALS:

1.  To hire a Program Coordinator primarily to handle the day-to-day administrative responsibilities of running the Core and the Youth programs.

2.  To shift the focus of the Director to allow more time and energy on fundraising, marketing, alumni engagement, governance, evaluation and new program development.

3.  To create a fourth program under the LL umbrella

4.  To organize and empower committees, comprised of both board members and other alumni, to work with the director on generating new resources, evaluating and developing programs
and strengthening governance and staff capacity

ACTION PLANS:

Specific objectives, accountabilities and timetables have been provided, which complement and steer the three areas of strategic focus.  The LGH consultant will dedicate up to six additional hours to aid in the implementation of this plan and/or the three areas of focus.

CONSULTANT RECOMMENDATIONS:

The following are formed by combining the data collected during this process, along with the LGH consultant’s experience in running and assisting other community leadership efforts. 

1.  Generating New Resources:

a. Programs - On the strength of how much alumni and sponsors value both the Core and Executive programs, there seems to be an opportunity to raise the tuition in a significant way (25–30%).  This increase could take place over a 2–3 year period if the board determines more graduated hikes were necessary.  To protect smaller businesses, public agencies and non-profit groups that might not be able to absorb these increases, the board could develop a sliding tuition scale for the Core Program, with larger, for-profit entities paying the higher rate and smaller, non-profit agencies paying at the lower rate.  Additional opportunities include expanding the TLT Program, increasing the class size of all three programs and adding a fourth program under the LL umbrella, which will create new income and additional opportunities for the citizens of Lackawanna County.

b.  Embark on an aggressive campaign to attract individual gifts - LL does not currently have an aggressive campaign for individual donations.  Its alumni and other friends could be approached more often to support the Youth Program and to help fund a larger pool of scholarship dollars for those who need tuition assistance.  The board could lead the way by coming up with a collective annual goal for itself and by suggesting a range of gifts that reflect the varying levels of giving capacity among board members.

c.  Enlist more corporate sponsorships – as the number of activities increase, there will be opportunities for various corporate and larger non-profit partners to become sponsors.

d.  Seek more grant support for Youth Program – to ensure that this program is on solid financial footing and can grow in the future efforts could be made to identify additional corporate and foundation support.

e.  Add an annual breakfast event with a notable speaker - will create new revenue and attract alumni who aren’t interested in night/social events

2.  Evaluating and developing programs:

a.  Continue assessing needs and opportunities – Building on the survey results, LL should make a determination of the county’s highest leadership and community education needs.  They should also determine interest and future capacity for addressing those needs.  Among the strongest possibilities may be:

•  Continuing education and civic engagement for program alumni

•  A new program

•  More robust leadership training for those in the Core program

•  Expansion of the Youth Program

b.  Clarifying metrics for success – LL should set clear, measurable criteria for gauging its success on an annual basis.  There are many metrics that could be used, and LL might want to limit its focus to those they see as important, but some areas of interest might include:

•  The number of citizens who get served in a year

•  The number of alumni who come to at least one event in a year

•  The percentage of program participants who connect to at least one non-profit group or leadership opportunity upon graduation

•  The percentage of Core alumni who say the program helped them experience significant growth in their leadership

•  The number of donors who support LL each year

c.  Conduct regular reviews and program adjustments – LL staff should conduct regular assessments of its programs and report to the board the organization’s success in addressing its key metrics.

3. Strengthening Governance and Staff Capacity:

LL enjoys the services of talented and deeply committed board members, who have helped make this strategic plan a reality and who currently serve on a variety of different sub-committees, like selection, events, finance and alumni.  However, the development and growth of LL’s governance committee should take top priority during the next 2-4 months.  The board must also continue to work on the three strategic action committees.  Engaging alumni to participate on these special committees will be an excellent way to deepen their commitment to the organization and to groom future board leaders.

Good work has already happened to define a new staffing structure.  The addition of a Program Coordinator will be critical to the organization’s overall success as it will free up time for the Director to focus on strategic goals and development.  With this shift, LL should consider changing the title of their Director to Executive Director.  In addition, LL should consider the benefits of an intern.

Continuing a coordinated business relationship with The Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce is essential.  The Chamber supports LL in several ways, including acting as its fiscal agent, payroll and fringe benefit administrator, landlord and key strategic partner.  However, as LL focuses on becoming a stronger, more sustainable and impactful organization, a clear description of its relationship as an affiliate to the Chamber needs to be established to ensure that its Director and Board of Directors can advance the work of the organization.  By creating a Memorandum of Understanding between the Chamber and LL, this relationship will be detailed and described in writing. This will allow for their mutually beneficial partnership to continue, and even thrive.  This agreement should be reviewed on an annual basis and a committee should be created to review and oversee its progress, development and implementation.