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Building consensus around major institutional decisions and directions can take a lot of time and energy. Among three different agencies and three different boards, the complexity could be prodigious. The challenge was to develop a viable plan for the merger of three summer day camps into a new entity, and to reach consensus around a myriad of issues, from governance to staffing structure, from programmatic agenda to facilities, from identity to systems, from financial model to fiscal year.
Plan A designed a planning structure that placed ultimate authority in a steering committee composed of board representatives and the three executives of each merger partner; and two planning teams composed largely of staff responsible for finance and operations, and for program design and delivery. Each group had a clearly delineated area of responsibility for which they were to make recommendations or decisions. Plan A facilitated all planning meetings, guided supporting research, and led the development of every critical process in developing a plan for merger.
• Convened steering and planning committees to consider all relevant issues and resolved every key decision.
• Drafted all key project documents, including an initial Memorandum of Understanding, a Request for Proposals for branding and identity, an operating budget and five-year financial projection, the organizational chart, job descriptions, and a comprehensive report to funders.
• Guided the design of a pilot-year program as a “proof of concept” collaboration between the three partners.