In 2012, the Foundation crafted a new strategic plan to guide its programs and activities. This plan is built on five key principles.
1. The primary focus is to help strengthen Georgia counties and their governments.
Foundation programs and initiatives must have demonstrable and measureable benefits for individual counties. Given available resources and the regional nature of many social issues, initiatives will be undertaken multi-jurisdictionally when necessary in order to assist as many counties as possible.
2. Georgia is a living laboratory that offers the opportunity to experiment and be creative.
The state is socially, economically, and geographically diverse, which offers opportunities to experiment with creative approaches to civic and community engagement. While students are the primary focus of programs, working with other populations such as retired persons and returning military can extend the reach of civic participation efforts.
3. Through ACCG, Georgia counties should be leaders in sharing what they learn nationally.
Involving citizens in government is a problem across America. As a living lab, Georgia will aspire to be a national leader in promoting civic engagement at the county level and in sharing what it discovers. This is not to say that Georgia will hold itself up as a model, but that ACCG counties will strive to help other local governments learn what might work with their citizens.
4. Partner for the public good whenever and wherever possible.
Success in promoting civic and community engagement is best achieved by combining resources and leveraging strengths with strategic allies. This means counties not only will collaborate with each other, but with key partners in education, higher education, business, the civic and nonprofit sectors, and state and federal agencies.
5. In addition to offering programs, convene and facilitate the work of others.
The Foundation can do more than just deliver its own programs. It can play a useful and meaningful role as convener and facilitator in helping others come together to foster and promote best practices and create their own programs and activities.
At the operational level, the Foundation in 2013 and 2014 will pursue seven strategic goals. These will be evaluated and adapted as needed during this period, and the strategic plan updated for 2015-17.
1. Review current GCAPS and GCIP programs and operations to extend benefit to as many counties as possible within available funding.
2. Identify opportunities for new programs and activities that experiment with delivery methods and target audiences to provide added value to counties and create new partnerships, funding options, and best practice sharing.
3. Identify collaborative opportunities and partners that will: increase the reach of programs and initiatives, expand funding opportunities, share staff time and expense, avoid duplication, and enhance best practices.
4. Pursue long-term fundraising to support current and new programs and activities and ensure sustainable revenue sources without relying on annual giving or one-time contributions.
5. Develop a communications plan targeting the state and nation that highlights the importance of civic and community engagement, shares what is being learned by Georgia counties, and contributes to America’s discussion of best practices that promote citizen participation in democracy.
6. Ensure coordination between Foundation and ACCG activities to deliver services to counties and their communities that are meaningful and useful.
7. Create a process of continuous improvement in operations, programs and activities by measuring success using tactics that include quantitative metrics and qualitative assessment.