Kaye M. Englin, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa
As the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa prepared to launch our 60th year of service to our Region, we realized the great importance of strengthening our Mission and the need to develop a clear strategic path to set the direction for the next 3-5 years. We were also anxious to add value and service to our Fund holders by providing additional resources to facilitate their advising through a donor portal option.
Our planning journey began in the summer of 2015 as staff independently read “The Five Most important questions you will ever ask about your organization” by Peter Drucker. We then spent time in a retreat discussing the book, with conversations lead by Dr. Bill Withers. As a relatively new Foundation team, it really helped us as a group articulate our shared goals and vision for CFNEIA. Step #2 was to analyze options for facilitating a strategic planning process. We understood the importance of bringing in an outside consultant to lead our board, staff and volunteers through the planning process. We then contracted with CF Leads, (a branch of the Council on Foundations) and arranged for a CEO visit. Jennifer Leonard from the Rochester NY Community Foundation came to Iowa and spent a day with our board, committee volunteers, and staff talking about her Foundation’s journey and she helped us articulate what we see in the future for our Community Foundation. To have a base line of understanding of how our stakeholders see CFNEIA, we did a typical SWAT analysis of seeking feedback from current board members, staff and volunteers. We then had two consultants from CF Leads come for a day-long strategic planning session, where we developed key strategic goal focus areas, added clarity to our mission focus, and developed a plan to move forward in the refinement of the goals and tactics to achieve our mission. We then spent several months as a staff, meeting in small groups to further define the 4 strategic goals and developing a work plan and timeline to accomplish them.
We are proud to share our 4 key goals:
#1 – Grow Region’s Strengths by Expanding Community leadership Role
#2 – Increase Community Impact by Growing and Preserving Endowed Assets
#3 – Increase Regional Impact by Strengthening Affiliate Capacity
#4 – Increase Community Understanding of the Foundation’s Mission
During this same timeframe, we had a team-approach to implement Donor First, the online donor portal that was selected. We are in the testing phase of that system now with a small sampling of our stakeholders, and plan to do a full roll-out this spring. Early this year, we launched our new brand, mission, vision and values as well as our strategic direction. (Not to mention moved into our new office building!) I would like to give Kudos to a fabulous team of dedicated staff that is driven to carry out our new mission “To inspire people and connect resources to enrich our communities.” Celebrating 60 years of impacts, and “Here for good!” as our new tag line shares.
We are grateful to ICOF for helping CFNEIA fund a portion of our Strategic planning process and donor portal implementation. We are excited about the strategies and increased resources we will be able to share with all of our regional partners in the coming years. Here’s to a great year!