WolfBrown Strategic Planning

Current Areas of Inquiry

Refiguring the Role of Cultural Institutions in a More Democratic Culture: WolfBrown principals are developing new methods and frameworks for institutional planning that build equity, inclusion, and access into the very DNA of cultural organizations.

The Future of Digital Programming is a focus of our current work with several organizations. Having built new strands of digital programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector is facing significant challenges in determining a long-term, financially sustainable role for digital programming that connects to institutional strategy at the highest level. Solutions are likely to require cross-institutional collaboration at an entirely new tier.

WolfBrown partners with organizations and agencies for strategic planning. We assess programmatic directions and business processes, consider alternative pathways to mission fulfillment, energize stakeholders, and find fresh alignment between community relevance and financial sustainability.

WolfBrown has led strategic planning processes for arts and culture organizations of all sizes and at all stages of development. Each planning project is tailored to the organization’s needs. Projects start with a dialogue about what sort of planning process will yield the best results.

  • Will the organization be served by scenario planning?
  • Is it ready for paradigmatic change?
  • Should the planning process investigate multiple visions for the future, or just one?
  • How will the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion be manifest in the planning work?
  • Will progress toward plan goals and strategies be measured and adjusted as needed?
  • Can the planning process contribute to organizational sustainability?

Written plans memorialize institutional thinking about the future at a given point in time. But, we understand planning as a continuous, rather than episodic, activity, especially given the rapidly changing post-pandemic operating environment.

At the heart of strategic planning is creative thinking about strategy. Some visioning processes culminate in a guiding set of institutional goals, values, and business model strategies. Other processes go on to create concrete, action-oriented, financially achievable action steps and desired outcomes for all areas of the organization. Planning is important work. It is never done. Achieving organization-wide alignment around vision, goals, and strategies is crucial. It motivates stakeholders to fulfill the promise of mission and funders to maximize their support.

We focus on healthy workforces and excellence in governance.

WolfBrown understands that human capital is the linchpin of organizational success in strategic planning. Without a motivated and skilled workforce, organizational strategy has little chance of successful implementation. Importantly, the expertise required to manage a nonprofit workforce in the 21st century is significantly more complex than it was even 10 years ago. In strategic plan after strategic plan, we see institutions making serious commitments to workforce improvement, but falling short on implementation. Therefore, we also offer a range of services to assist nonprofit arts organizations in ensuring that they have the right people with the right skills and experience in the right positions doing the right work in the right way

WolfBrown has worked on strategic planning with organizations such as Carnegie Hall, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and Play On Philly, among many others.


  • Organizational assessment
  • Organizational visioning and strategic planning
  • Plan implementation advice and counsel
  • Program planning
  • Digital/immersive/virtual programming strategies
  • Facility development feasibility studies
  • Impact assessment and public value audits
  • Retreat facilitation
  • Organizational collaborations and strategic alliances
  • Executive coaching and onboarding
  • Succession planning
  • Executive performance review and compensation benchmark analysis
  • Governance assessment and alignment with best practices
  • Decision mapping, and authority and responsibility charting