Strategic Roadmap 2012 - 2014

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In September 2011, the Board of Neighborhood Funders Group received a report on a new strategic plan. After nearly nine months of extensive field research and considerable deliberation, the board approved the new strategic plan at its December board meeting. 

The new strategic plan will guide the organization’s work through 2014. In January 2012, the NFG board and staff set out to develop a responsive program agenda based on the snapshot of the findings and recommendations presented at the Annual Conference in New Mexico in October. 

The field research revealed several key themes which will serve as important guideposts for the work from 2012 through 2014, and particularly in 2012. 

  • Members want NFG to be a responsive leader, risk taker and learning community. NFG must go beyond “professional development” and be a leader in the field in both thought and action.  NFG’s social justice orientation enables broad reach in the field, connecting members across issue silos, as well as strategies and paradigms. But NFG needs to take more risks by taking positions on various issues or by explicitly exploring controversial topics within the field, such as the power and resource imbalance among funders.
  • NFG stands alone as being a safe space for difficult and honest conversations about race and class.  NFG publications, teleconferences and webinars provide vehicles for “deeper dives” on particularly important issues that comprise the social justice/community change landscape, such as power, race and class.  The Social Justice Institute was often mentioned as a valuable developmental outlet particularly for young and newer people just entering the field of philanthropy.  The website and social media allows NFG to reach the masses and connects them around various interests.
  • Members expressed universal love for the NFG Annual Conference, and it was highly praised for its inclusion of practitioners, not just funders. To many, this sets NFG apart from many other affinity groups which tend to isolate their members from prospective grant seekers.  Moreover given that an annual conference is a big endeavor to pull off, coupled with the challenges of budget-strapped program officers to attend each year.  NFG should experiment with regional and local convenings that capture the breadth of topics of the national conference but with more opportunities to connect with others in closer geographic proximity. 
  • Members want a greater field presence throughout the year and they say Working Groups stand out as ways that different interests can find each other within the NFG tent. Working Groups have been successful experiments in keeping colleagues connected and together between convenings and focusing on strategies that are critical to success.  The learning tours are also a unique feature of NFG convenings that stand alone in their depth of connections to on-the-ground work. 
  • Members say that, given NFG’s social justice role in philanthropy, fundraising should not follow the traditional model of relying heavily on foundation grants.  Rather, NFG should more aggressively pursue institutional commitments from member institutions.  While pursuing these options, members emphasized that NFG still has an important role to play in the field, and must ramp up its staff and technological capacity to match the strategic priorities.


NFG Today

In response to the valuable and insightful input from our members and other key stakeholders, NFG is very excited to share with you an outline of our 2012 and 2013 programming, inspired by our new Strategic Roadmap, which puts Members at the Center.  Putting members at the center means ensuring that members are the core function and value of NFG. Our programming is member-driven and member-led. This allows us to deepen our on-the-ground presence in regions across the country, serve as a platform to showcase innovations spearheaded by members, and connect members with one another and our colleagues in the field. In everything we do, asking, “How do we engage members?”

During the first two years of this new strategic plan, we we have aimed to explore a range of innovative and robust events and activities, in collaboration with our partners and other affinity group allies.  During 2012 and 2013 we have aimed to feature:

  • more in-person Regional Gatherings,
  • additional Working Groups,
  • an expanded and newly mobile Social Justice Institute,
  • more Co-Sponsored Programming to reflect our deepening relationships with our affinity group allies,
  • more robust and engaging use of our Web Site and Social Media,
  • more aggressive development of our Partnerships with Federal Agencies,
  • and a Special Election-Focused Annual Member Meeting in the fall.