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Yellowstone Forever

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

PHOTO ann skelton


Yellowstone Forever is the official nonprofit educational and philanthropic partner of Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park. The organization was formed in 2016 as a result of a merger between the Yellowstone Association and the Yellowstone Park Foundation.

Yellowstone Forever builds upon the longstanding missions of the Yellowstone Association and the Yellowstone Park Foundation by connecting people to Yellowstone through exceptional visitor experiences and educational programs, and inviting them to translate those experiences into lifelong support and philanthropic investment to preserve and enhance the park for the future. Yellowstone Forever’s mission of engagement and support through philanthropy and education for the park will ensure Yellowstone remains for generations to come.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Future As we look to the future, our newly merged organization will face many challenges and opportunities. 1. The changing demographics of the country make clear that to stay relevant Yellowstone Forever needs to reach younger and more diverse audiences, create new partnerships, and focus on technology and creating educational experiences to inspire the next generation. 2. Yellowstone Forever must continue to make a compelling case for philanthropic investment in the park. 3. We must further strengthen our strong foundational partnership with Yellowstone National Park for education and philanthropy that will last through leadership changes within and outside the park over time.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

PHOTO ann skelton

Guiding Principles for the Next Five Years As the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park approaches in 2022, we established the following guiding principles for Yellowstone Forever: • First and foremost, Yellowstone National Park is our number one priority and the park’s needs are our needs. • We are transforming the strong legacies of the Yellowstone Association and the Yellowstone Park Foundation into a national educational and philanthropic organization that will preserve the world’s first national park. • We are building a national brand in Yellowstone Forever that will be linked to Yellowstone National Park in all facets of what both we and the park do. • We believe that education is philanthropy and philanthropy is education. Education sparks wonder and care for the park that helps visitors have meaningful experiences. Visitors can then take the next step of contributing their time and financial resources to the park. These contributions, in turn, create more opportunities for education, engagement, and philanthropy. • We will engage new and diverse audiences with Yellowstone and our mission so that the park will continue to be relevant to the changing demographics of our country. • We will create a strong business case for philanthropic investment in Yellowstone National Park through excellent story-telling and reporting on specific metrics so that donors can see a significant return on investment with positive social impact, increased numbers of children educated, and critical park projects completed. • We will become an “employer of choice” so that expert professionals want to become part of our team and share their knowledge, experience, and passion for Yellowstone National Park.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022


Yellowstone Forever’s Strategic Direction 2022 VISION

Yellowstone National Park endures forever and inspires a lifelong love of nature.


To partner with Yellowstone National Park to create opportunities for all people to experience, enhance, and preserve Yellowstone forever.


Wonder | We celebrate the wonder of Yellowstone in all that we do.

Care | We care for and respect Yellowstone National Park, park visitors, wildlife,

the natural world, our surrounding communities and each other, and we create experiences to inspire visitors to care for the park.

Contribution | We recognize the important role each of us has in contributing to the mission of Yellowstone Forever and the larger community, and we urge visitors to take the next step of engagement to contribute their financial resources and their time to support the park.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022



Engage in a bold and visionary partnership with Yellowstone National Park to fund critical park needs through increased engagement by philanthropic campaigns and innovative Park Store experiences.

Given that federal appropriations often fail to cover essential research and park projects, Yellowstone Forever is committed to raising significant funds and resources that do not replace base funding but expand and enhance the work being accomplished to provide the margin of excellence for Yellowstone and its visitors. Key funding priorities include Wildlife, Cultural Treasures, Ranger Heritage, Visitor Experience, Greenest Park, Yellowstone Forever-Yellowstone National Park Educational Cooperative, and Tomorrow’s Stewards. Five-Year Outcomes 1. We have raised tens of millions of dollars in support of Yellowstone’s priority initiatives to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the park through full participation of board members and volunteers from both legacy organizations, and helped raise the funds to construct the new Yellowstone Youth Campus. 2. We have created a sustainable, national model for public-private partnership through a fully functioning three-year grant cycle for the park, as well as achieve a dramatic increase in the number of supporters. We see a 30 percent increase in planned giving participation and triple our corporate donations with strong stewardship and outreach. We have a substantial online fundraising program, at least 20 percent of our historical donors have increased their giving, and foundation revenues triple. 3. The redesign of the Yellowstone Forever Park Store experience results in more visitors supporting the park, increased enrollment in educational programming, and the engagement of more than 500,000 visitors and supporters worldwide.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022


STRATEGIC PRIORITY 2 Enhance and expand the effectiveness and breadth of the educational programming model within Yellowstone National Park. The partnership between Yellowstone Forever and Yellowstone National Park extends to educational programming. This cooperative will increase capacity to engage youth with Yellowstone, spark creativity with experiential learning opportunities, expand the diversity of course offerings, and provide additional program delivery efficiencies. Five-Year Outcomes 1. Yellowstone Forever Institute and Yellowstone National Park educational offerings are seamlessly integrated. Yellowstone Forever continues to attract the best environmental educators in the nation, and park visitors can easily understand the wide array of educational opportunities within the park. 2. We increase enrollment of diverse populations in our Yellowstone Forever Institute programs by 50 percent and increase engagement with students from underserved, minority, and gateway communities. Youth engagement is equal to our adult programming at Yellowstone Forever, and one-third of school-year programs will include youth from underserved areas. Meanwhile, adult programs and other well-established and successful Yellowstone Forever Institute programs have continued to grow and receive positive feedback from participants. 3. In addition to offering online enrollment for our park programs, Yellowstone Forever offers a wide range of online course offerings. Yellowstone Forever engages more than 100,000 online participants and the number of grade schools attending Yellowstone Forever or National Park Service-sponsored educational programming provided by Yellowstone Forever via videoconferencing surpasses 1,000 schools.


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Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022


STRATEGIC PRIORITY 3 Establish Yellowstone Forever as a national brand for philanthropy and education and a national model for public-private partnerships to support national parks. As the world’s first national park, Yellowstone is known throughout the world. We are committed to strategic communications that leverage the special place that Yellowstone holds for so many, reinforce our new brand, and showcase the opportunities for philanthropy and education within the wonderland of Yellowstone. Successful brand development will result in better understanding of park needs, increased support for the park, and more meaningful visitor engagement. Five-Year Outcomes 1. Yellowstone Forever is a nationally recognized brand with a base that has grown from engaging 50,000 to 500,000 people worldwide, and this group stands ready to act as ambassadors on behalf of Yellowstone National Park and Yellowstone Forever to share our philanthropic and educational mission. 2. Our marketing materials, publications, and educational products are visually appealing, consistent, and reflect our brand. Our marketing strategy is based on detailed market research and surveys to understand our supporters and target audiences. 3. We have more than 1 million social media fans, a 500,000-person email list, and a thriving social media presence. We have tripled the number of people ages 18-45 engaged in Yellowstone Forever through our social media campaigns, resulting in a tripling of web traffic.


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Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022


STRATEGIC PRIORITY 4 Attract and retain the unique and exceptional talent required to achieve the mission of Yellowstone Forever and become an “employer of choice.” Five-Year Outcomes 1. Internal programs that reinforce brand values and team attributes result in a clearly defined and articulated culture to activate and engage our volunteer leadership and employees. All members of the Yellowstone Forever board of directors and National Advisory Council actively participate in Yellowstone Forever activities and give to Yellowstone Forever. 2. Yellowstone Forever talent development and management programs promote collaboration, teamwork, and high-performance, and result in retention of a highly engaged team as evidenced by employee engagement survey data. Staff are committed and inspired to do their best work, while also fully engaging and connecting staff in multiple locations. 3. Yellowstone Forever is recognized as an “employer of choice.” Our employee engagement survey puts us in the top 10 percent of employee engagement among like organizations nationwide. This status is also reflected through our ability to attract a robust applicant pool.


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Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022


STRATEGIC PRIORITY 5 Use technology to take Yellowstone National Park out into the world and inspire the next generation of diverse stewards of the park. Yellowstone had a record-breaking year of more than 4 million visits in 2016, which affects the experience of many who travel long distances to explore the park. Technology is not a substitute for a Yellowstone trip, but it is an important tool to connect the next generation and for celebrating Yellowstone’s ecological significance and cultural history. Five-Year Outcomes 1. Our website receives national recognition for its high quality educational, userfriendly, informative, and shareable content. 2. We creatively engage our online community of more than 2 million with state-ofthe-art technology and best practices to celebrate Yellowstone’s 150th Anniversary. 3. Yellowstone Forever Park Stores leverage technology and information sharing to assist in more specific and tailored visitor engagement opportunities, resulting in 10% of park visitors supporting Yellowstone Forever.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

NEXT STEPS WITH THE STRATEGIC PLAN This strategic plan is intended to be a dynamic, living document that guides our three-year implementation plan. We will have annual reviews and updates by staff and board to evaluate performance, learn from our progress, and adjust our initiatives accordingly.


Experience it today. Preserve it for always.


Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

Yellowstone Forever Boar d o f D i r ec to r s

E xecutive Te am

Kay Yeager

Heather White

C h a ir m a n

Lou Lanwermeyer

Vice C h a ir m a n

John Walda S ecr eta ry

Bob Shopneck

T r e a su r er

Kevin Butt Claire Campbell

P r esident & CEO

Ken Voorhis

C hief O per ations & E ducation O fficer

Kelly Herman

C hief D ev elopm ent O fficer

Jeff Augustin

S en ior D ir ector of Pa r k P roj ects

Wendie Carr

Michael Campbell

Vice P r esident of M a r k eting & C om m u n ications

Patty Carocci

Thomas Cluderary

John Costello Gail Davis

G en er a l C ou nsel

J.D. Davis

Tom Detmer

S en ior D ir ector of Ca m pa ign & S peci a l P roj ects

David Donovan

Terry “J.R.” Hunt

Annie Graham Carolyn Heppel Penney Cox Hubbard Edna Johnson Charles Kaufman Dan Manning Joe Marushack Robert Mathias Bryan Morgan Doug Spencer

Vice P r esident of I n for m ation T ech nology

Roger Keaton

Vice P r esident of F ina nce

Kathy Nichols Vice P r esident of E mploy ee & Volu nteer E ngagem ent Ack n owle dg e m e nts Thank you to Yellowstone Forever’s board of directors, especially the strategic planning committee of Edna Johnson (Committee Chair), Bryan Morgan, Claire Campbell, Charlie Kaufman, Lou Lanwermeyer, and Kay Yeager. Heather White, President & CEO, and Ken Voorhis, Chief Operations & Education Officer, led the strategic planning effort at the staff level with dedicated support provided by Leslie Everett, Maria Bisso, Megan Boyle, and Wendie Carr. O u r Office s

Yellowstone PO Box 117 Yellowstone, WY 82190 406 | 848 | 2400

406 | 586 | 6303

11 S EPTEM B ER 2017

Bozeman 222 East Main Street Suite 301 Bozeman, MT 59715

Y e llows to n e For e v e r

Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022

Yellowstone Forever Strategic Plan 2017-2022  
Yellowstone Forever Strategic Plan 2017-2022