Sutherland Edwards

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is our specialty. We believe that every strategic plan must reflect the organization’s culture and values, the population and type of community it serves, the economic conditions and development potential, and most importantly, the kind of outcomes it seeks. There is no one cookie-cutter solution. We believe that each organization is unique, and while there are certain best practices that we will bring to inform the planning process, each organization must chart its own future based on its unique culture, community and history.

Additionally, no consultant – or for that matter, professional staff alone – can drive a strategic planning process. It must be embedded in the Board leadership of the organization, which ideally reflects the leadership and values of the local community. As consultants to your organization, we will serve as a trusted guide, a facilitator of discussions, an interviewer of your key stakeholders, a provocateur to raise neglected questions or issues, and ultimately as your organization’s scribe, faithfully reflecting the many decisions reached as part of the planning process.


Client: A 40-year-old community foundation with $150 million in assets

Our Work: Conducted a comprehensive, thirteen-month strategic planning process that included work with Board members, staff and community members. Conducted an extensive environmental scan through interviews, online surveys and focus groups with more than 300 internal and external stakeholders to inform the planning process.

Results: The foundation embarked on a significant organizational realignment, and adopted a new focus on raising both endowed and non-endowed funds to meet the short- and long-term needs of the community. An ambitious, yet achievable, community leadership agenda was developed to guide the foundation in this work.


Client: A 25-year-old regional community foundation experiencing rapid growth

Our Work: Facilitated the development of a new strategic plan to help the foundation determine the staffing structure it needed to meet the demands of the community, reinvigorate its asset development efforts, and focus its community leadership efforts.

Results: The new three-year strategic plan redefined the foundation’s course and not only reengaged the board, but also an entire region that was both geographically and socioeconomically diverse, particularly in the urban core.

Any strategic planning process has the tendency to feel like building something out of Jello. Sutherland~Edwards guided us through our efforts skillfully and helped us create a solid plan that is aspirational and achievable."

Dr. Bobby Mukkamala,
Board Chair
Community Foundation of Greater Flint

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