The COVID-19 pandemic has posed a multitude of challenges to nonprofit organizations, yet it has also presented an opportunity for them to take a step back and reflect on what they were doing, why, and what they want the future to be. IBW recently completed work with the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks (BGO), taking these very considerations into account when creating its 2021-2024 strategic plan.
A small, verdant gem located in north Fayetteville, Arkansas, BGO offers robust and varied educational programs on gardening and environmental sustainability and memory-filled special events like the Firefly Fling. The Garden has also hosted hundreds of weddings since its opening and is a beloved community asset. While interest in Garden events and programs has grown steadily, the Garden itself--six cultivated acres--and the administrative, educational, and event space available has remained the same for years.
With the Garden closed due to the COVID pandemic, it gave the BGO board and staff a rare opportunity to take a step back and reflect on where the Garden was, and more importantly, to create a plan for where they wanted it to go. IBW began working with BGO in August of 2020 on what became a fully virtual planning process. From the strategic planning retreat to in-depth planning discussions, the entire process was conducted via Zoom. While meeting virtually was not the preferred choice, the commitment of the BGO Board and staff ensured the planning process and discussions were lively and robust.
As the process advanced, it quickly became clear that growth was the theme—specific goals to drive expansion of the Garden onto 30 undeveloped acres and goals to expand the Garden’s administrative and education space to support growth in programs. It also was clear that significant philanthropic support would be needed to support this vision of growth for the Garden. The strategic plan therefore became an important tool for helping BGO tell its story to the community—Garden members, volunteers, and donors as well as corporate and foundation funders.
Achieving this vision of growth will take millions of dollars and more than the three years of this strategic plan. IBW helps our client partners create integrated, holistic strategic plans that serve as a definitive roadmap of where an organization wants to go and how it’s going to get there. BGO is using its strategic plan to invite the Northwest Arkansas community to join them in making it happen.
Congratulations, BGO! IBW is proud to have helped you develop your plan for growth, and we look forward to watching you become a primary destination for residents of Northwest Arkansas and visitors from the world over.