and Business Planning
Client: The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is one of the best-known conservation
management organizations in the world. Its key strength is stewardship
and management of "natural" lands. At the time of Lighthouse's
engagement with TNC, the organization was also under new leadership
and undergoing a major strategic overhaul to reassess its past
and future approach to its mission. The immediate challenge: a
large, unique piece of property had been proposed for donation
to TNC Georgia. Though the bulk of the gift was pristine land,
70 buildings came with it. The buildings and the inability of
TNC or any other steward to simply remove them due to their history,
presented a unique challenge.
- A comprehensive strategy and business plan had to be developed
to demonstrate the use and stewardship TNC planned for the property,
and make the financial case for an endowment request from the
- There was mixed support for TNC as owner and steward of the
property, locally and regionally.
- Multiple parties and perspectives had to be appeased or considered
in developing an acceptable plan, including: local residents
near the property, other conservation groups in the area (competitors),
TNC's corporate goals and mandates, the capacity and goals of
the Georgia chapter, historic preservationists, existing staff,
and even differing opinions among the donors themselves.
- Though past proposals had been made for the property, no detailed
cost, use plan, or other data existed that supported the current
use proposal by TNC.
- No effort had yet been made to engage the various constituents
affected to gauge their opinions, fears, support or opposition
to any plan that would be put forth.
- A short timeline had been imposed and resources were limited.
Working in partnership with the client and a conservation-consulting
group, Lighthouse led a comprehensive strategy and planning process.
The goals were to not only deliver a strategy and supporting plan
that served as a guide to TNC in making its case to the donor,
but also provide a vision and flexible road map to TNC's management
of the property. The process included the following:
competitive organizations; local constituents and communities
impacting or impacted by activities on the property; decision
makers across TNC; the Georgia Chapter and its Board.
- of the
property and its buildings.
- of alternatives
for each of 70 buildings: demolition, stabilization, and renovation.
and recommendation for the property overall and its components.
- , including those that could share costs,
- A comprehensive plan was delivered to TNC Georgia and presented
to both TNC Corporate and the donor. The plan established recommendations
for use of the land and the buildings and a comprehensive cost
assessment and endowment request. It also built a unique and
flexible framework for ongoing discussions.
- A staged recommendation also accompanied the proposal that
gave TNC the opportunity to manage the property on an interim
basis until negotiations over the actual gifting of the property
could be concluded. This advice proved critical and creative,
allowing TNC to establish an anchor role in management of the
property while giving the donor and other concerned parties
a chance to see TNC in action.
- The recommendations, including the endowment proposal and
use of the buildings, have repeatedly proven accurate and valuable
since delivery of the plan in 2001.
- Discussions actively continue as to the endowment portion
of the gift, even in a difficult charitable and philanthropic
period. This is in no small part due to the clarity of vision,
direction and detail provided by the plan.
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Strategy & Business Planning...