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Do you want to produce Strategic Results?

These case studies illustrate the goals and outcomes of some of The Napa Group’s recent planning projects.

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

Positioned for global growth

The strategic process for Reimagining CASE – a global organization of more than 85,000 advancement professionals in nearly 4000 institutions in 82 countries – was comprehensive and interactive involving CASE’s membership and more than 25 constituent groups in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Latin America. Several major trends influenced CASE’s emerging vision for “advancing education to transform lives and society” – the compelling need for strategic talent management, the challenge of declining resources, the reality of continually changing markets, the constant drive for new technologies, the demand for thought leadership and the force of an integrated enterprise for fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing professionals in education, from K-12 independent schools through higher ed. This assessment, the broad stakeholder engagement platform and collaborative planning activities resulted in aggressive strategic goals for Member Engagement, Talent Management, Thought Leadership and Global Impact – at a time when CASE’s members are experiencing first-hand in their daily work the dynamic changes in education around the world. The process also identified that two overarching drivers are foundational to the success of the plan’s objectives – a governance structure that reflects and empowers an effective global organization and a strategic technology plan that facilitates the member experience. Sequencing and implementing this ambitious agenda and the supporting business plan to realize these goals will focus CASE’s activities for the next five years.


Saint Mary’s College of California

Realizing Catholic liberal arts education for the future

Like many corporations and local governments, universities are often driven by the more “siloed” objectives of their vertical units rather than an enterprise view and brand alignment that unites them around common purposes, greater impact, shared services and purposeful efficiencies. Private institutions are no exception. Working with leadership teams of Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, we incorporated under the strategic planning umbrella multiple parallel activities already underway, such as master planning, a branding campaign and new revenue development, for mutual leverage and benefit. This led to revitalized relationships between the governing board and management team, and, at the constituent level, community building and buy-in among groups who, in some cases, had been misaligned or focused on narrower agendas. We also tested and built on this stakeholder engagement and support through electronic surveys to student, faculty and staff audiences – representing survey sizes from 50 to over 3,000 – to communicate the project, solicit input and ensure understanding and inclusion.


University of Tennessee President’s Office

Changing the game

University of Tennessee System President Joe DiPietro initiated a strategic planning project to leverage the UT enterprise as a constellation of best in class campuses and institutes. The strategic plan, with a 10-year vision and a 5-year implementation focus, is designed to raise the institution’s visibility, stature and contributions to the state – particularly to workforce development, economic impact and community building. The Napa Group facilitated an inclusive and collaborative planning process by System administrators, campus leaders, faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and state leadership and guided Year 1 implementation activities. The plan’s dashboard is used by the governor, legislature, board of trustees, System administration and the public to measure progress on critical outcomes.


American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA)

Responding to dynamic market changes

With an anticipated spike in demand for seniors housing coupled with changing expectations by Baby Boomers in retirement, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) sought to strengthen its leadership role in reimagining the industry and influence new thinking for seniors housing. The Napa Group’s 5-Phase planning process enabled ASHA, which also champions significant legislation and data-driven research, to engage its membership in the development of a five-year strategic roadmap that will advance its new vision, “Living Longer Better.” Important to the success of this project was an inclusive, engaging and transparent process. Through a dashboard highlighting Key Performance Indicators, ASHA now has the tools to communicate strategic results annually to members, consumers and the public as its tracks its progress. This vital planning platform is designed to sustain and further cultivate customer loyalty and promote long-term growth.


Oregon State University Foundation

Strategically determined, planned growth

Since 2005, The Napa Group has provided advice and counsel to the Foundation’s president, board and senior leadership team during times of rapid growth and economic turndown and its first major campaign in OSU history – with a $1 billion goal. The Foundation manages the university’s investments and endowment and drives private support. We developed a multi-year growth strategy that optimized fundraising while building the infrastructure for a sustainable “culture of giving” and developed the Foundation’s credibility as a key convener for university-wide initiatives and collaborations with alumni relations, state advocacy, integrated communications and marketing, corporate relations and research partnerships among broader constituencies in Oregon and beyond.


Benton Hospice Service

Strengthening community relationships and visibility

As an independent, non-profit group of professionals and trained volunteers serving the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon, since 1980, Benton Hospice Service sought to strengthen its programs, capabilities and visibility as a valued community partner. Joining key leaders on the board, community volunteers and staff, the project’s leadership group redefined the Hospice’s vision and built out five strategic goals encompassing areas such as market differentiation, partnerships, sustained resources and continuous improvement. Immediately upon implementation, Benton Hospice Service made progress in several key areas: increased staffing to expand the compliance and quality program, selection of a market research and branding partner, kick-off of the home palliative care program, selection of and implementation of new timekeeping system to improve efficiency through technology and implementing an answering service staffed by hospice RN’s to improve customer service and response time to patients and families.


UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

Defining and leveraging “critical advantage”

Through a generous naming gift from Meyer and Renee Luskin, the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs seized the opportunity to define its future “critical advantage” and transform its scholarly and practical influence with innovation and impact. Through a comprehensive planning project, the School made strategic decisions that would raise its academic stature and profile and expand its presence in the “world city” of Los Angeles, a living laboratory for dynamic global communities. The planning project was a transformative setting for faculty dialogue, integration of department strengths and interdisciplinary research, practice and innovation in Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning.


University of Minnesota Alumni Association

Moving beyond traditions

In 2010, The University of Minnesota Alumni Association sought to develop a transformational five-year strategic plan that looked beyond traditional best practices to incorporate new developments in technology, communications, advocacy, relationship management and marketing. The result, “Beyond Traditions: Vision 2016” defined a self-sustaining business model to expand and strengthen relationships among students, friends, alumni and the university as the Association moved from independence to a valued and aligned University partner. The Napa Group also facilitated the Year 1 development of a new governance structure and consulted on staff unit and individual operating plans to facilitate the plan’s objectives. This planning process was cited as a model for change by the new university president.



“Once the ‘big ideas’ are advanced and stakeholders are enthusiastic about the vision, the implementation activities determine whether a strategic planning project is successful. Not only did The Napa Group provide a process that effectively engaged our campus community, they guided us through the development of a multi-year roadmap for achieving our new strategic plan’s desired results. Often institutional plans fail without that comprehensive approach, and The Napa Group’s rigor around the implementation component is a value-added aspect of their work.”

Walter Harrison, President of the University of Hartford

“Our strategic plan has allowed us to focus on our priorities, guided by defined metrics and outcomes, toward which everyone – the staff, board and volunteers – are striving.”

Kelly Beard, Executive Director, Benton Hospice Service