Planning Session: Goals for 2019

2019 Planning Session

On January 12, thirty-one members met at the North Haven Gardens Meeting Room to explore our issues and develop a plan for our 2019 goals. Following a brief discussion of results of the November 2018 Membership Survey, the group split up into four separate breakout groups to inventory their thoughts on the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) facing the Chapter. (The SWOT analysis is a standard technique used in strategic planning in the business world to identify both internal and external factors that will affect an organization.)

The combined groups’ comments are summarized below.  We then asked each member to identify the most important issue facing the Chapter. The items in blue were selected. The asterisks show how many members selected each one.


  • Passion/enthusiasm/desire to be more diversified
  • Large size of chapter membership
  • Autonomy of chapter
  • Positive financial situation and cash flow
  • Flexibility to volunteer across the DFW region
  • Problem-solving capabilities
  • Background and knowledge of members
  • Long-term committed leadership with knowledge
  • Continuity of projects
  • Resource availability
  • Quality of educational training program
  • Variety of projects and geographic locations
  • Reputation in the community


  • Lack of diversity **
  • Retention
  • Size of chapter ***
  • VMS – Volunteer hours not always recorded
  • Too much administrative work *
  • Lack of public awareness
  • Mission focus – projects sometimes not aligned with mission
  • Geographic size
  • Lack of chapter skills inventory **
  • New member integration *
  • Expensive urban area
  • Budgeting process – transparency
  • Lack of administrative volunteers/job descriptions/succession planning


  • School involvement **
  • Prepare skills inventory of members *
  • Broad range of speakers available in DFW
  • VMS recording education
  • Improve succession planning
  • Additional VH opportunities
  • Improve urban naturalist education
  • Ability to fund more projects *
  • Collaborate with other chapters
  • Manage growth
  • Additional programming ***
  • Improve community impact ***
  • More, better communications and media coverage in community
  • Improve speakers bureau
  • Engage community in a variety of entities including HOAs, government, etc.


  • Financial health *
  • Overlap with other similar organizations
  • Growth leads to loss of connectivity *
  • Too many projects
  • Urban sprawl/outgrowing service area
  • Burn-out of most engaged volunteers
  • Lack of succession planning *
  • Stretched too thin for outreach goals
  • Size – outgrown organization and facilities
  • Funds not being utilized *
  • Retention **
  • Bringing new members on board *
  • Territorialism

Upon completion of the SWOT exercise, the Goals & Research team, assisted by Bruce Stewart, reviewed the list and condensed the groups’ ideas into four major areas that require the focus of our Chapter. These are (1) Financial Situation, (2) Community Impact, (3) New and Old Member Retention, and (4) Chapter Size. Next, we formed four breakout groups which brainstormed about the four major areas of focus. The highlights of those sessions are shown below.


  • Budgeting Process – Operating and Funding
  • Income covers expenses including classes, meetings, insurance, rental fees
  • Funding of special projects
  • Goal – small surplus
  • Surplus cash on hand to determine rainy day fund, cushion to fund special project
  • Communicate request process for new funding; timeline, compile list and review; subject to expense reporting
  • Explore other revenue opportunities
  • Headed by co-treasurers


  • Community Impact, Engagement, Schools, Like Entities
  • Communication Strategy: media, print, online
  • Inventory of Speakers Bureau and other resources
  • Trunks
  • Target Entities: Scouts, Libraries, Nature Centers, HOAs, PTAs, Gardening Clubs, Senior Centers, etc.


  • Increased dues enhance retention
  • Summer social format to welcome new class
  • Inventory of skills to share with new members
  • Ongoing Mentoring
  • Speed Dating
  • Personal Contact


  • Venue and Size
  • Administration Issues
  • Devoting more Budget $ from operating budget to central location for meetings
  • Break up chapter into north/south
  • Solutions for Fall and into 2020
  • More Committees to lessen burden on existing ones
  • Re-brand Summer Social to focus on new members
  • More independence from Board oversight

Our Board will form four committees to address these four focus areas.

If you have any questions about the process or the results, please email If you want to get involved by helping with the planning on one of these goals, please email us at



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