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VNLA - 2015 Strategic Plan

In order to best serve members and the state’s nursery and landscape businesses, the Virginia Nursery & Landscape Association Board of Directors and other organizational leaders met in October 2014 to develop a long-range plan that provides for a dynamic and sustainable organizational future.


Matt Shreckhise, President
Sonya Westervelt, Vice President
Bill Gouldin, Secretary-Treasurer
Matt Sawyer, Past President
Christopher Brown, Director
Craig Attkisson, Director
Virginia Rockwell, Director
Doug Hensel, Director
Aaron Williams, Director
Dr. Jim Owen, Advisory Director
Amy Ordonez, NVNLA
Jeff Miller, Executive Director

Facilitation by Bob Fitch, Nonprofit Leadership Solutions


To enhance and promote Virginia’s nursery and landscape industry.

The Strategic Planning Team decided to augment the current mission in a small, but significant manner. The addition of the word “advocate” calls attention to VNLA’s crucial role in legislative and regulatory matters. The word “professionals” is meant to define the professional nature of the association’s members and the aspiration to further professionalize the businesses and individuals in the industry.

Reliable Revenue Streams


  • VNLA is heavily reliant upon revenue from MANTS for our operations and programs.
  • MANTS is facing significant new competition. In addition, while MANTS has bucked the trend, green industry shows overall have seen significant declines in the last decade in support from exhibitors, sponsors and attendees.
  • VNLA allows most of its programs to operate at break-even because overhead for running those programs is covered by MANTS revenues.
  • ASAE operating cost study may help identify where we are unbalanced in revenues and expenditures.

GOAL: VNLA will diversify its revenue streams to protect the association’s long-term stability and enhance the ability to grow programs and services.

  • Dues will remain affordable for very small members, but more progressive tiers will allow larger members to provide a greater level of support to the association. Furthermore, regular dues increases will provide a stronger secondary revenue stream to complement MANTS revenue, plus potentially avoid the need for a sharp increase at some point in the future.
  • The Growers Guide will continue to be a valuable member service, but will move towards 21st century usability via a mobile app. Furthermore, the Guide will move from being a net expense to a net revenue generator.
  • Certification programs will generate greater revenue for the association while continuing to be a valuable professional improvement and marketing tool for members.
  • Sponsorship packages will provide greater value to sponsors and greater net revenue for the association. Furthermore, this approach should also save staff time in the selling process.

Member Relevancy and Connections.


  • VNLA’s responsiveness to member needs is not as timely as desirable.
  • VNLA has an opportunity to pursue a deeper level of research on member needs and develop a more sophisticated demographic profile of members and prospective members.
  • VNLA underutilizes its potential volunteer base.
  • VNLA members are under-informed about the work VNLA does for them, i.e. the value to their businesses.
  • VNLA has weak social media and online resources to serve the next generation of industry professionals.
  • VNLA has room for improvement in its connections with local associations.

GOAL: VNLA will improve its relevancy and value to members by improving the timeliness of its response to member needs and improving its communications with and connections to members and other stakeholders.

  • Members will be able connect and utilize valuable VNLA services and information anywhere and anytime.
  • New educational forum will serve a greater number of VNLA members and be a tool to recruit prospective members
  • Members will better comprehend the value of VNLA membership. (Member’s perception of value and member needs to be measured annually via survey.)
  • Better knowledge of member demographics will help association define needs and deliver timely programs and services.

Governance and Organizational Transition.


  • Does our current structure and policy manual fully outline responsibility, authority, and delegation between the board and the executive, and the board and committees?
  • Jeff Miller will be retiring as VNLA executive director several years from now. Is VNLA’s current executive director succession plan sufficient to help guide us through this transition?
  • What association management structure do we want after Jeff’s retirement? ASAE operating cost study and salary survey may help identify what we should reasonably expect to be paying for overall staffing and the executive director salary.

GOAL: Ensure VNLA’s governance and management structures are proactive in anticipating and fulfilling member needs

  • Policies and practices will manage and reduce organizational risk; plus improve responsiveness/action on issues and ember needs; and ensure high caliber board members in the future.
  • Smooth, orderly transition followed by the ability of the next executive director to hit the ground running.
VNLA | Tel: 804-256-2700 | Fax: 804-709-0288 | info@vnla.org
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