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Strategic Plan 2018-2020

November 10, 2017

 VNLA Mission Statement:

“To enhance, promote, and advocate for Virginia’s nursery and landscape professionals”

Report prepared by: Darren Macfee 

Introduction

 The Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association Board of Directors convened in October of 2017 to assess progress against the Strategic Plan covering years 2015 through 2017 and develop an updated Strategic Plan for the years 2018 through 2020. Participants included:

Virginia Rockwell, President

Aaron Williams, Vice President

Brent Hunsinger, Secretary/Treasurer

Bill Gouldin, Past President

Seana Ankers

Christopher Brown, Jr.

Matt Deivert

Jim Hassold

Jeff Howe

Mitzi Marker

Paul Munn

Cecilia Palmer

Scott Price

Doug Rodes

Jason Stern

Dr. Laurie Fox, Ex-Officio
Dr. Jim Owen, Ex-Officio
Jeff Miller, Outgoing VNLA Executive Director
Shellie Archer, Incoming VNLA Executive Director

 

This Strategic Plan should be viewed as a tool to help focus the efforts of VNLA volunteers and staff and move all toward a common goal. All activities and initiatives should fit within the framework established by this document and cascade in a seamless system as illustrated by the following:

 

LONG-TERM VISION >>>  STRATEGIC PLAN >>>

ANNUAL GOALS >>> QUARTERLY FOCUS >>> WEEKLY TASKS

 

Planning of this type is a dynamic process. This document is not meant to be comprehensive. Nor should it be considered complete. It should be treated as a living framework, continually revisited, revised, and updated.

 

Executive Summary


MISSION

Current mission statement:

To enhance, promote and advocate Virginia’s nursery and landscape professionals.

 

Participants gave the current mission statement thoughtful deliberation. The mission was deemed to be suitable for guiding the organization through 2020. As such, the planning team elected to leave the statement unchanged.

VISION 2025

Participants spent time envisioning the state of the VNLA in the year 2025. Understanding that no one can predict the future, the purpose was to set a long-term horizon toward which is beyond the window of the current Strategic Plan, but which the activities of the plan support.

 

In 2025, the Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association is a thriving organization. Members feel that the value of their Association is clear, tangible, and unquestioned. If you are involved in Virginia’s green professions, you are a member of VNLA.

 

The VNLA is forward-thinking, inventive, and ambitious. We celebrate and promote innovation by our members. We help our members stay at the forefront of technological change.

 

We are champions of the green professions. We help our member businesses by leading the development of a strong workforce through our own communications and partnerships with others. We are full-throated advocates for the importance of certification.

 

We are in perfect alignment with our members’ goals. We maintain a continuous dialogue with our members to intimately understand the issues which are important to them. Members are easily mobilized for important efforts.

 

VNLA is financially strong, with a diverse mix of growing revenue streams.

STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS


1.    
High-Value Educational Programs

VNLA will expand its educational scope, continuing to provide excellence in certification and other programs for current nursery and landscape professionals, but also leading workforce development efforts as well as providing business resources to owners.

 

2.     Member Engagement & Service

VNLA will become recognized as the “go-to” source for information and action regarding the green professions in Virginia by all who make their living in these fields.

 

3.     VNLA Foundation

The purpose of the VNLA Research Foundation will be well understood by members and it will be recognized as a worthy recipient of VNLA members’ personal philanthropy.

 

4.     Financial Self-Sufficiency

VNLA will reduce its reliance on MANTS, to the point that VNLA can operate independent of it entirely; MANTS dividend will be treated as “margin of excellence” money, as opposed to critical operating funds.

  5.     Organizational Capacity

VNLA will be recognized as an efficient, well-run organization by members and public observers alike.

 

 

Strategic Focus Area #1

High-Value Educational Programs

 Considerations: see separate document

 Objective: VNLA will expand its educational scope, continuing to provide excellence in certification and other programs for current nursery and landscape professionals, but also leading workforce development efforts as well as providing business resources to owners.

 

ACTION 1.1: Aggressively promote Virginia Certified Horticulturist (VCH) program.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Revenue from certification programs will be 20% higher in 2020 than 2017 base level.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Restructure information on website to emphasize “why” in addition to “how”.
  2. Provide CEU opportunities for professionals including VCH.

Jeff Howe

 

Progress Report

 

ACTION 1.2: Lead the promotion of green professions to young people.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Formal partnership programs.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Partner with 4-H & FFA to introduce promotional information about green professions. Tap into Envirothon.
  2. Emphasize competitions when designing events to appeal to this audience.
  3. Develop “elevator speech” for board members to use when promoting professions in public. Adopt NALP speech and have board adopt it.

Mitzi Marker – NALP

Jeff Howe - NALP

 

Progress Report

 


ACTION 1.3: Lead the promotion of green professions to midlife career changers.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Promotional plan. Website information.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Assist VNLA members to attend local career fairs.
  2. Create a section on the website which extols the benefits of careers in the green professions.
  3. Gather and tell stories of successful VNLA members who are in fields afar from their beginning aspirations.
  4. Competitions at Field Day (new task)

Shellie Archer

Laurie Fox

 

Progress Report

 


ACTION 1.4: Provide more educational content for business owners.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Business owner educational track established with program participants.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Explore partnerships with service professionals to develop course content (Concierge Model).

 

 

Progress Report

 


Strategic Focus Area #2

Member Engagement & Service


Considerations: see separate document

 

Objective: VNLA will become recognized as the “go-to” source for information and action regarding the green professions in Virginia by all who make their living in these fields.

 

ACTION 2.1: Establish a strong connection between VNLA leadership and VNLA membership.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Member engagement is measured by high renewal rates. Renewal rates will exceed 20%.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Hold regional “meet & greets” around Virginia to introduce Shellie.
  2. Continue regional meetups to solicit member opinions regarding important issues.

Jim Hassold

 

Progress Report


ACTION 2.2: Embrace technology as a means of communicating with members.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

VNLA leadership uses technology.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Something about staff and use of social media???
  2. Send profiles of members of all sizes to inspire pride in profession.
  3. Help members work together when appropriate.
  4. When, How often, share company story
  5. Instagram and Twitter

Shellie Archer

 

 


ACTION 2.3: Reimagine Field Day as the “can’t miss” event in Virginia.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

New Field Day exists and is well-attended by multiple staff from the same business.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Be sure a “weather-proof” component is included.
  2. Events for workers
  3. Field Day Competitions

 

Cecilia

Matt Deivert

Jeff Howe

 

Progress Report

 


Strategic Focus Area #3

Foundation


Considerations: see separate document

 

Objective: The purpose of the VNLA Foundation will be well understood by members and it will be recognized as a worthy recipient of VNLA members’ personal philanthropy.

 

ACTION 3.1: Create a Task Force to study similar foundations and recommend optimal structure, use of funds, and promotional efforts.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Contributions to the Foundation will increase.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Create Task Force, appoint members, appoint chair, charge with clear objective.
  2. Do the work. Report back to the board
  3. Accept/reject/modify Task Force recommendations.

President

Task Force Chair

Board

 

Progress Report

Note: Foundation Board is the VNLA Board

Strategic Focus Area #4

Financial Self-Sufficiency


Considerations: see separate document

 

Objective: VNLA will reduce its reliance on MANTS, to the point that VNLA can operate independent of it entirely; MANTS dividend will be treated as “margin of excellence” money, as opposed to critical operating funds.

ACTION 4.1: Reduce organizational expense.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

VNLA will achieve a 20% reduction in total expense from FY 2017 budget to FY 2020 budget.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Scrutinize expense categories to strike the right balance between efficiency and effectiveness.

Treasurer

 

Progress Report

 

ACTION 4.2: Increase operating revenue.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

VNLA will achieve a 20% increase in total revenue from FY 2017 budget to FY 2020 budget.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Derive greater net income from certification programs.
  2. Realize greater net income from membership.
  3. Explore partnerships which will enable VNLA to offer more educational opportunities to members and additional revenue to the organization (see Focus Area 1). MAHSC partnership

Treasurer/Education Chair/Executive Director

 

C: Membership

 


ACTION 4.3: Increase sponsorship revenue.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

VNLA will achieve a 20% increase in total revenue from FY 2017 budget to FY 2020 budget.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Review sponsorship levels and benefits to ensure compelling offering.
  2. Publish sponsorship guide.
  3. Ensure all board members understand sponsorship levels/benefits.
  4. Ensure VNLA is delivering all promised benefits and providing value to sponsors.

Executive Director

Executive Director

 

Progress Report

 


ACTION 4.4: Maintain operating reserve.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

VNLA will maintain an operating reserve equal to 100% of previous year’s MANTS dividend.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Ensure the operating reserve is advocated for in each budgeting cycle until after the Baltimore Convention Center Renovation and clarity of impact on MANTS.

Treasurer

 

Progress Report

 


Strategic Focus Area #5

Organizational Capacity


Considerations: see separate document

 

Objective: VNLA will be recognized as an efficient, well-run organization by members and other stakeholders alike.

ACTION 5.1: Transfer execution of VNLA legislative agenda to Executive Director, housed in Richmond, while still maintaining volunteer leadership/involvement.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Legislative efforts are coordinated by the Executive Director and enthusiastically supported by members as evidenced by volume of participants and ease of recruitment for participation.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Fully orient Executive Director to the VNLA legislative agenda.
  2. Identify key members for Executive Director & make introductions.
  3. Identify key organizational partners for Executive Director & make introductions.
  4. Re-authorize Environment Taskforce & recruit a chair.

Legislative Chair & Executive Director Emeritus

Task c: to include: Mission H2O, Ed Tankard, Andrea Wortzel;

AmericanHort: Craig Regelbrugge, Laurie Flanagan, Tal Coley; Corey Conners (NC)

Progress Report

 


ACTION 5.2: Maximize effectiveness of volunteer Taskforces.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

Taskforces are well-organized, with clear purpose, and ample/vibrant membership.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Re-authorize Taskforces annually, ensuring purposes are clear, aligned with Strategic Plan, and understood by all.
  2. Provide thorough orientation to incoming Taskforce chairs.
  3. Recruit Taskforce members from the general membership and beyond board members.

President

Outgoing Taskforce Chairs & Executive Director

Taskforce Chairs

Update taskforce volunteer request list by interest areas

Progress Report


ACTION 5.3: Increase effectiveness of board operations.

Anticipated Outcome / Measurement of Success

The VNLA Board of Directors is a model of effective governance, as evidenced by annual board survey as well as ease of recruiting new board members.

Task

Who Responsible?

Deadline

  1. Complete revision of VNLA Policy Manual and present to Board of Directors for consideration/approval.
  2. Ensure all new Board of Directors members receive orientation to the Policy Manual.
  3. Ensure both VNLA Bylaws and Policy Manual are on-hand at all board meetings and readily accessed when questions arise.
  4. Review progress against strategic plan at each meeting of the board of directors. Require Task forces to provide reports in the context of strategic plan and VNLA annual goals.
  5. Make recruiting board members a year-round emphasis.

President

Governance Chair

Governance Chair & Executive Director

President

All board members

12/31/17 for MANTS meeting

d: by March Board Meeting

e: primary past presidents

Progress Report



 

2018 Strategic Plan
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