View GMCLA`s Strategic Plan

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View GMCLA`s Strategic Plan
CONTENTS
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
introduction. ..................................................................... 3
methodology. ..................................................................... 4
key findings....................................................................... 5
mission, vision, values. ........................................................ 7
strategic initiatives............................................................. 9
conclusion. ......................................................................15
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
our mission
To create musical experiences that strengthen our role as a leader among
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people and performing arts organi-
zations, enrich our member-artists, support LGBT youth, challenge homophobia
and expose new communities to our message of equality.
Marc Colburn Photography
2
INTRODUCTION
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Between June 2008 and September 2009, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles (GMCLA)
undertook the most extensive strategic planning exercise in its 31 year history. For
the first time, the Chorus—one of the largest men’s ensembles in the United States—
engaged the services of outside experts to help gather ideas, comments and data
from as large a cross-section of the Los Angeles community as possible.
As we passed thirty, we knew that we were entering a critical period of our history,
one in which, as an LGBT arts advocacy organization, we would need to examine the
state of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) movement as well as the
changing relationship between the public and live performance. However, we could
not have known that the national economy was entering a severe recession, nor
could we have predicted the effect this would have on the United States and
particularly on California. These additional elements made our planning process
a little longer than was first intended, but all the more timely.
Even before the true impacts of a shrinking economy were known, the National
Endowment for the Arts had begun work on its latest survey of participation in the
arts by people in the United States. The survey makes for somber reading: Fewer
people are attending live performances; those who do are older than the general
population. Though almost 18% adults in the US sing in a chorus, the number of
people participating in choral performance shows a steady decline since at least
1992. Amidst a picture of declining audiences, only musical theatre seemed able to
buck the trend.
At the same time, the slow progress towards equality received a setback when a
majority of California’s voters rejected marriage equality at the ballot box. Reports of
anti-LGBT bullying and hate crimes in schools continue to increase. Clearly, even though
resources are few, the need for music as an instrument for social change is increasing.
Therefore, it became clear that GMCLA’s planning efforts, even though conducted during
a time of rapid, unpredictable change, would provide essential information to our Board
and staff in planning for the future. This strategic plan is the result of those efforts.
Marc Colburn Photography
3
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
GMCLA continues to be a robust institution. Most important are its singing members,
the people who literally give voice to GMCLA’s mission. It is the singers’ passion and
commitment which have been the organization’s sustenance through good times and
bad—and this Strategic Plan is dedicated to the 200 men who form today’s Chorus
and to the thousands of other who have gone before us. As this plan reveals, supporting, sustaining and enlarging this wonderful group of singers is a prime focus
for the immediate future for, without them, GMCLA would cease to exist. The group
of men who comprise the chorus has grown steadily in numbers over the past 30
years. Recognizing and drawing upon the strength of the membership are key to the
success of GMCLA. Growing and empowering the membership remains a top priority
of the organization.
In this document, GMCLA is proud to present a plan for our future. In this plan, we
honor our traditions and our art by supporting our singers, protecting our young people
and sustaining our institution so that in the years ahead, more people will experience
the healing power of voices raised in song.
METHODOLOGY
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
When the Board of Directions agreed to revise the Mission Statement of GMCLA in
2008, they stipulated that the new Mission Statement must 1) represent the values
and vision of as many of the GMCLA constituents as possible, and 2) be accompanied
by a set of actionable strategic initiatives. In order to achieve these goals, the
Board would need to define and prioritize the various initiatives that the organization
could achieve in the coming years. In order to assist in this process, the Board and
Executive Director decided to employ the skills of outside consultants. After interviewing a number of qualified consultants, Arts Consulting Group (ACG), one of the
country’s largest arts consulting firms, was chosen to assist GMCLA in the creation
of this Strategic Plan.
The next step in the creation of the strategic plan was to conduct a needs assessment.
This is a systematic measurement and recording of the needs and desires of the
GMCLA membership, audi.ences, supporters, and the larger communities within Marc Colburn Photography
4
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
which it exists. This assessment consistent of a multi-pronged research program,
and included the following:
interviews with key internal stakeholders
ACG conducted interviews with key members of the GMCLA Board of Directors,
staff, membership, Music Advisory Committee, Membership Committee and
Planning Committee in late 2008. Interviews were held both individually and,
as in the case with the various committees, in small groups.
survey of gmcla’s membership
Based on the results of the initial interviews, ACG created a survey to measure
attitudes, opinions and some demographic characteristics of the GMCLA
membership. Surveys were distributed to 190 singing and 26 associate members in February 2009. The survey is included in the Appendix. Approximately
49% of those invited completed the survey. The tenure of the respondents
showed a wide range from throughout the 30 year history of the Chorus.
interviews with gmcla’s community advisory committee
These interviews are listed as an appendix to this document.
interviews with key external stakeholders and influencers
ACG conducted 24 structured interviews from mid-January to mid-February
2009 in person and by phone. Interviewees were selected from approximately
120 prospects, including leaders from key nonprofit LGBT and arts groups,
GMCLA donors and audience members, community leaders, educators, business leaders, members of the media and elected officials.
a survey of current audience members
ACG created and administered an electronic survey from February 14 through
March 31, 2009 to existing audiences and various media outlets. 350 completed surveys were received.
KEY FINDINGS
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
GMCLA and Arts Consulting Group conducted an exhaustive series of interviews,
surveyed key stakeholders, met with GMCLA members and compiled demographic
and benchmarking information. More details of the results of these activities are
contained in the Appendices to this Plan.
Many respondents believed that “survival” for 30 years has been one of the Chorus’
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The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
greatest successes. In order to continue to survive and to thrive, a number of
themes emerged:
continued service to both the lgbt and other los angeles communities
Stakeholders believe that the chorus should increase GMLCA’s relevance in the
community. Ideas ranged from increasing diversity in the Chorus as well as the
audience, expanding the number of partnerships/collaborations, doing additional targeted outreach and building greater positive visibility and awareness
about all GMCLA programs and services.
Strong excitement and support for GMCLA’s Alive Music Project—AMP—designed
to provide high-school students with a well-rounded mixture of music education,
exposure to multifaceted live performances and legally mandated diversity
training was expressed by many GMCLA stakeholders and supporters, including
the majority of the current Membership.
increased awareness of the gmcla brand
Define and clarify GMCLA’s brand—broadly defined as how the organization
presents and describes itself to external audiences—to reflect what GMCLA
currently is, what it wants to be and how it wants to be seen by the community.
Membership feedback further indicated a need for increased communication
with the both internal and external audiences about GMCLA’s achievements.
increased access to gmcla performances
Many respondents indicated the need/desire to present GMCLA concerts at a
variety of locations across the Los Angeles area, with particular emphasis on
having a greater presence in West Hollywood, Hollywood and the West Side /
Beach communities.
Not surprisingly, many respondents indicated the importance of making art
accessible to everyone. With the recent downturn in the economy, many believe
this theme is amplified.
membership needs
GMCLA members placed great emphasis on the creation of world-class music
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
6
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
and choral productions. While most members want to be challenged artistically
and to grow as artists, there was no strong agreement on the actual content of
this music. Results of the surveys suggested that a better balance among
diversity of music genres, production styles and audience needs / ticket sales was
hoped for by members, producing a broader repertoire than members felt had
been seen recently.
As important as the music, membership indicated that critical to the success
of GMCLA was the ability to have an enjoyable experience during rehearsals and
concerts, to have a pro-social experience where members continue to sing with
and support the community and to be part of a movement that seeks equality.
Members also felt a lack of effective internal communication, an issue which
staff and volunteer leadership considered so critical that quarterly Town Hall
meetings were introduced in September, 2009; financial and narrative reports
from the Board are now added to the members’ intranet regularly.
FINAL PLAN
PREPARATION
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
At the conclusion of the research / information gathering stage, GMCLA’s Executive
Director, Executive Committee and an Ad-Hoc Strategic Planning committee reviewed the research results. These groups created and revised a number of strategic
initiatives. The final plan was reviewed and approved by the Board of Directors.
In addition, GMCLA reviewed and substantially revised its vision, mission and values
statements which are included here:
Marc Colburn Photography
7
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
our mission
To create musical experiences that strengthen our role as a leader among
lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people and performing arts organizations, enrich our member-artists, support LGBT youth, challenge homophobia
and expose new communities to our message of equality.
our vision
GMCLA sings for a future free from homophobia and all other discrimination.
our values
Legacy
—Over 30 years of success and survival as a community united in song
Community
—Creating and nurturing our community of artists, the LGBTQQ community
and the Los Angeles community
Creativity
—Embracing risk, innovation and passionate performances that communicate
with our modern world
Excellence
—Performance, musicianship, artistry, and outreach
Transformation
—Changing hearts and minds through our compelling performances and the power of music
Equality
—Bringing people together and serving as a voice for equality for all people
Marc Colburn Photography
8
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
STRATEGIC INITIATIVES
+ SUPPORTING GOALS
2009–2013
strategic initiative 1
Continue to produce choral performances that exemplify the highest standards of
musicianship, artistry, and entertainment while developing the unique style
characteristic of the GMCLA brand
1.1 Recruit Artistic Director
•Prepare job description; establish selection committee; solicit initial
applications; complete first round of candidate screening (January 15, 2010)
•Conduct candidate interviews; create short list of candidate finalists;
observe finalists in concert setting, during GMCLA Chorus rehearsal, in
individual interviews; review video / audio music samples (March 15, 2010)
•Announce new artistic leadership (June 1, 2010)
•Employment commences (July 1, 2010)
1.2 Create and perform a diverse repertoire of choral music and choral
performances every season (AD initiative)
•Continue GMCLA’s tradition of commissioning new music and new
arrangements for male voices in a variety of music styles and genres
•Produce choral concerts that range in theatricality from “stand and
sing” to fully staged performances
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Bill Dow Photography
9
1.3 Refine and integrate the production planning process (AD, Concert
Producer initiative)
•Define GMCLA-membership involvement in conceiving, planning,
executing and evaluating performances
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
1.4 Improve the skill level of performers (AD initiative)
•Offer classes to members in music reading, score marking, movement and
vocal production
•Create clear descriptions of the responsibilities and expectations of
Music Leaders
•Develop and implement a training program for Music Leaders to enable
them to better support the artistic/musicianship goals of the organiza tion (2010)
•Provide membership with skills needed to meet the challenges of
performing at a variety of venues (2011)
•Identify a target group of men to actively recruit into membership.
Launch a recruitment campaign to proactively attract men from that
group into GMCLA (2012)
•Hold re-auditions of all Chorus members (2012)
1.5 Identify performance venues that address the artistic and audience
development needs of GMCLA (ED and AD)
•Thoroughly assess acoustical and technical specifications of potential
performance venues
•Estimate the financial impact of contracting with each venue by
systematically assessing the audience development opportunities that
each venue presents
•Track findings and analysis of the above and record these finding for
future planning (2012)
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
10
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
strategic initiative 2
Increase local and national awareness of the GMCLA brand
2.1 Expand geographic and demographic diversity of the GMCLA audience
by building partnerships with a variety of local performance venues and
arts organizations (ED / AD)
•Perform a subscription series concert in a new venue in each of the next
3 years to “audition” alternate venues for continued use
•Present a concert in collaboration with at least one other LGBT organi zation aligned with GMCLA’s social impact mission on an annual basis,
and arts organizations whose quality and reach complements GMCLA’s
artistic focus on a periodic basis
2.2 Refine the marketing plan to meet needs of the changing audiences and
make use of new technologies (ED)
•Create a marketing plan that systematically identifies and addresses
the needs of donors, audiences, and members in terms of communication
content, frequency and mode (i.e., email, direct mail, etc). Launch plan
at beginning of season 2011–12
•Assess variety of multimedia formats (i.e., podcasts, social media web
sites) that could be used to electronically distribute GMCLA content.
Increase audience reach of this electronic content by 10% in each of
the next 3 years
•Assess the feasibility of marketing and exporting existing arrangements,
productions, and recordings from the archive (2011). Launch plan in
2012, if financially and logistically feasible
2.3 Explore touring options regionally, nationally and internationally (ED / AD)
•Create a taskforce to assess the financial, artistic and social impacts of a local
California tour
•Secure the funding and artistic partners necessary to participate in a California
tour (2011–12)
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
11
•Create a taskforce to assess the financial, artistic, and social impacts
of a national and international tour. Create a tour plan (2012)
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
strategic initiative 3
Support and enrich our members, volunteers and Board of Directors
3.1 Learn more about the specific personal and artistic needs and benefits
of membership in GMCLA (Membership Committee / ED / AD)
•Survey members regarding way in which they would like to be of service to
the organization and also how they could better serve one another (2010)
•Based on survey results, launch service opportunities that best meet the
needs of the membership and the organization (2011)
•Develop and launch an enhanced volunteer recognition program (2012)
3.2 Improve recruitment process and increase diversity of member-artists
and volunteers (Membership Committee)
•Collect and analyze member exit survey data in 2010 and beyond
•Advertise and hold auditions in one new location in each of the next
3 years to attract a greater diversity among those auditioned and the
membership in general
3.3 Engage in a full Board building cycle (Board Vice-Chair initiative)
•Create a strategic plan that defines ways to identify, recruit, cultivate,
orient, engage, educate, evaluate, rotate and celebrate board members
starting in 2010 and continuing annually. Set a Board building timeline
to enact this plan
•Increase Board size by 5-10 board members per year to reach and
maintain a total of 30 seated board members by 2012
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
12
strategic initiative 4
Strengthen organizational sustainability by building audiences and cultivating funders
4.1 Broaden and deepen relationships with new and existing audiences
(ED / AD)
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
•Increase total live audience by 10% in 2012 by increasing the number
of performance venues, number of performances, and amount of targeted
marketing communications
•Increase traffic on the GMCLA website by 20% per year in each of the
next 3 years
•Add content to the GMCLA website to deepen relationship with current
audiences by letting them engage with GMCLA at multiple points during
the production process through interviews with artists and video and
audio clips from rehearsals (2011)
•Develop and implement an audience survey tool to evaluate audience
experiences, needs and preferences (2011)
4.2 Diversify revenue streams by increasing the number and types of donors (ED)
•Evaluate and revise donor identification, recruitment, and recognition
program (2010)
•Perform individual donor research to identify giving capacity of existing
audience and chorus members
•Create and launch a comprehensive fundraising campaign targeting
most likely donor prospects (2010–2011)
•Identify new sources for foundation, government, and individual funding,
as well as marketing tools that elicit development support
•Leverage board member expertise, personal contacts and resources to
increase individual donations, foundation support, and corporate giving
each by 10% in each of the next 3 years
•Evaluate the feasibility of launching a capital campaign to acquire a
rehearsal space, administrative office, and storage space (2013)
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
13
strategic initiative 5
Expand GMCLA’s Alive Music Project (AMP) throughout Southern California and
create a model that can be replicated and marketed by GMCLA
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
5.1 Integrate AMP into GMCLA membership (AD / Outreach Coordinator)
•Develop a plan to (re-)introduce AMP to GMCLA membership, explain
how AMP fulfills mission of GMLCA
•Train 30–40 volunteers and artists to participate in AMP events
5.2 Publicly launch and market AMP (ED / AD)
•Formally launch AMP in October 2009 by publicly announcing the
program (completed)
•Hold at least one AMP special event fundraiser annually
5.3 Increase the geographic and educational reach of AMP (ED / AD / Out reach Coordinator)
•Develop, finance and distribute materials for each AMP event (2010)
•Develop educational support materials (i.e., teacher packets) and
evaluation / feedback tools to help refine program (2011)
•Increase AMP partner schools by 3 per year for the next 3 years
•Develop a plan to market the AMP model for replication (2012–13)
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Marc Colburn Photography
14
CONCLUSION
The Village at Ed Gould Plaza
1125 N McCadden Place
Suite 235
Los Angeles, CA 90038
1 800 MEN SING
gmcla.org
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles is a 501(c)(3)
non-profit organization. EIN: 95-3488007
Despite the rigor and expertise devoted to this plan, it would be a useless document
if left on an office shelf. Therefore, GMCLA’s Board has created the role of Vice Chair,
Strategic Initiatives, to implement, evaluate and amend the plan as it proceeds,
making this a living document.
Choral singing is one of the world’s earliest known arts. Today, the gay choral
movement is a central sustainer of this ancient art, giving it relevance and appeal
in the modern world. Through careful planning, sophisticated music-making and
enthusiastic community engagement, GMCLA seeks to retain its role at the heart of
both the gay community and the greater world beyond.
Marc Colburn Photography
15