The Better Government Association was facing an uncertain path to the future. After years of success but a shrinking budget and staff, where would they go from here?

The Better Government Association, a 90-year-old anti-corruption watchdog organization based in Chicago, was experiencing a number of challenges at the time they brought in Alford Group to conduct Strategic Planning in 2009. The BGA had a storied history but needed a clear vision and focused objectives for revitalizing an organization that was down to two employees and a budget of less than $300,000.

The Board had recently hired a new CEO with extensive media and communications expertise but no experience with the management of a nonprofit. So the Board wanted to learn how they and the new CEO could best fulfill their mission and expand their program. That required a deep look at program and staffing needs, and potential revenue sources, so the BGA enlisted Alford Group to conduct a full strategic planning process that would reinvigorate the organization.

Our process focused on developing a robust governance structure and creating a strong vision with key objectives and strategies. The process, carried out over five months, utilized a Strategic Planning Committee, Work Groups, an environmental scan and other research; the plan was finalized through the collaboration of staff, volunteer leadership, external stakeholders, and an Advisory Group established to include a diversity of perspectives.

BGA staff, volunteer leaders, and external stakeholders gave deep thought to the future of the Association during that time, considering the needs of constituents and the strengths and opportunities of the organization. The process resulted in a robust, five-year strategic plan with strong buy-in from all constituency groups.

Following completion of the final Strategic Plan, BGA also engaged Alford Group for targeted governance planning and assistance with governance transition planning.

Today, through intentional and effective implementation of the plan, the organization has a budget of over $2 million and a staff of 15. It is led by a strong and diverse Board, is widely recognized for its work against government corruption, and maintains a large network of highly engaged and committed stakeholders. BGA attributes much of the successes over the past four years to the comprehensive Strategic Planning process led by Alford Group and its founder, the late Jimmie Alford.