BCB Five-Year Plan, 2012-16

 Bloomington Community Strategic Plan, 2012-2016
(Excluding Appendices)

Executive Summary

This strategic plan will guide the next stage of development of the Bloomington Community Band (BCB) as we implement the specific objectives in bold type on this page. The band’s mission statement was substantially revised and now reads:

The Bloomington Community Band exists to inspire music lovers to perform and stimulate the appreciation of community concert band music all year round.

Now the band also has a clear vision statement:

The Bloomington Community Band will enrich the community by being a leading large musical organization in which concert band musicians from all walks of life can enjoy music and improve their skills.

Value statements dealing with musicianship, outreach, fiscal responsibility, enjoyment, and transparency in governance were also developed.

The BCB will continue to maintain a welcoming environment where serious adult musicians can improve their musicianship. We will also strive to increase our appeal to the audience by providing first-rate musical entertainment.

As part of the development of the strategic plan, an in-depth questionnaire was completed by the members. The survey found general satisfaction with the required time commitment and number of concerts performed each year, as well as the quality of the music played by the band. The annual musicianship workshops, initiated in 2009, have been well received by the members. There is also support for participation in educational outreach activities in the public schools.

Rehearsal space and storage space for equipment and the large music library continue to be problems, so we will seek more appropriate rehearsal space in the coming years. A search is underway for a new conductor of the BCB, and the longtime assistant conductor has been serving as interim conductor since July 2011. There is also a desire to provide help to the librarian to weed and improve the library by hiring a Library School student assistant. Both of those goals are tightly bound to our first major fundraising effort, an attempt to raise $40,000 in 2012 to be added to an existing $10,000 endowment fund at the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. Once the goal is reached, the Foundation will match it with $20,000. Ultimately, the endowment should reach $100,000 before 2017.

The governing structure of the band is well established, but other opportunities for members to serve the band outside the ten-member Board of Directors need to be developed. The cooperative spirit among band members is what makes the organization function so effectively.

Communication has not been one of the band’s stronger points over the years, and efforts will be made to improve that internally and especially externally as we develop and implement a Marketing/Communications plan to increase both the audience size and our finances.

Gary Wiggins, Chair Board of Directors, 2011-2012

Introduction

Background Information

The Bloomington Community Band (BCB) is the successor to the Bloomington town bands that have existed here almost continuously since 1838. The present Bloomington Community Band has provided musical entertainment and an opportunity for adult musicians of varying skill levels to play concert band music for nearly 34 years. The BCB was recently declared the official community concert band of the City of Bloomington, Indiana.

The BCB is a community organization, though not financially supported by the government of the city in which most of the members live. It is a not-for-profit organization as defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The band offers some 20 free concerts per year at many civic events and public gatherings in Monroe County and surrounding areas. Over the years, many parades, dedications of public buildings and statues, etc. have been accompanied by the BCB, most recently, the dedication of the B-Line Trail. The BCB has established an essential presence at other events and venues, including holiday settings and arts festivals, in addition to holding its own concerts in local and state parks, at College Mall, and in area retirement centers.

No other group in the area so regularly performs marches, medleys, classical arrangements, concert overtures, and new original works. One of the goals of the band is to foster appreciation of this repertoire among the general public. The band is committed to reaffirming the community concert band position in American music by offering innovative, accessible and enticing free programming in publicly accessible settings.

We provide an opportunity for the community’s serious players—people who are skilled in and perhaps even studied music but didn’t pursue it professionally—to have an outlet for their musical talents. The BCB does not require an audition; it is a place where all talented musicians among us feel welcome, needed, and comfortable. Thus, the BCB provides entertainment for various audiences and serves as a venue for instrumentalists who might otherwise have no musical outlet.

For further historical and background information on the BCB, see the article on the early history of town bands in Bloomington by Penelope Mathiesen (published in Monroe County Historian, October 2008, 5-6) and on the current Bloomington Community Band by Gary Wiggins (published in Monroe County Historian, August 2011, 4, 7).

The BCB website can be accessed at: http://www.bloomingtoncommunityband.net

Methodology

Development of this strategic plan begins with an assessment of the current state of affairs within the BCB. This includes a detailed assessment of the current operations, finances, and marketing/communications efforts of the organization. To augment the assessment of each category, a membership survey was developed, implemented, and analyzed in late fall 2011. Resulting feedback has been used to help identify potential opportunities for improvement. Full results of the membership survey can be found in Appendix A.

In addition to the membership survey, BCB members were invited to participate in two strategic planning sessions, held December 3, 2011 and January 29, 2012. These sessions included revisiting and confirming/developing Mission, Vision, and Values of the organization. Members also participated in a Stakeholder’s Analysis, in which internal and external stakeholder groups and individuals were identified, helping to pinpoint targeted areas for improvement. A SWOT Analysis, identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats was also performed. Finally, Goals were developed based on all of the previous information and analysis.

The Strategic Plan process has been facilitated by an outside consultant, Margaret Bransford of Manifest Consulting LLC. The Plan has been developed based on previous versions by Gary Wiggins and with the help of Guy Hardy. Draft plans were delivered to the Board and membership for comment prior to acceptance.

Current State of Affairs

Operations

The following is a summary of operations. Development of a detailed Operations Strategy will more fully identify and address potential opportunities for improvement.

Membership Commitment

The BCB’s approximately 80 members come from as far away as Martinsville and Mitchell. Of those, the 60 most active members of this all-volunteer adult organization play all year round. The weekly time demands on the typical members are not extensive, averaging 3-5 hours per week, including travel time. One two-hour rehearsal takes place each week from late January through early December. Most of the approximately 20 concerts per year are played during the summer season (May-September), with additional holiday concerts in November and December.

Members are generally satisfied with the level of time commitment and number of concerts performed each year. They are also satisfied with the quality of music played with their fellow members.

Musicianship

Each year the BCB typically hosts musicianship workshops for each section of the band. The workshops are led by outside experts, who either donate their time or are paid a stipend. This BCB program helps to maintain and develop the skills of band members on a volunteer basis; workshops are free to BCB members. Some effort has been made recently to partner with similar organizations to leverage the musicianship development resource these workshops provide.

Members are generally satisfied with the musicianship level of their fellow members. They like the musicianship workshops.

Community Outreach

Part of BCB’s community outreach efforts in past years has included a partnership with local Middle School band students. This program brings BCB members to the school for a day to work with students on their musicianship skills. The culmination of the day is a dual concert with the students and BCB. This program was not offered in 2011, but will continue in 2012.

Most members are satisfied with the school band partnership program.

Rehearsal Space and Music Library

Rehearsal space has been a problem at all times in the band’s history. The current space is donated by St. Thomas Lutheran Church; in return an annual collection is taken up from the membership and donated to the church. As the band experienced significant growth in the last several years, it has become apparent that the present space is barely adequate for the band to set up for rehearsal and to store percussion instruments, other sound equipment, and lights. Lighting is a problem in the rehearsal hall; each week portable lighting must be set up and taken down.

The music library comprises 16 filing cabinets – too large to store in the rehearsal space. The library is currently housed in a donated, unused room in a chiropractor’s office in Ellettsville. The logistics of organizing music given the two locations can be a challenge.

There is a need to identify potential long-term solutions to the rehearsal and storage space issues.

Key Personnel

The Conductor and Music Librarian are two key leadership positions in the band. Currently, both are volunteer positions which take a considerable amount of time, effort, and commitment. There are formal job descriptions for both positions. In 2008, a long-term goal was identified: to create a small stipend for the Conductor position in order to reward his or her commitment.

In the summer of 2011, a long-time conductor of the BCB was let go. This change led to some amount of organizational upheaval as the members came to terms with his departure. The 2011 Membership Survey showed some dissatisfaction among the members with the transparency of Board decisions through this process, and steps have since been taken to better define and communicate roles and processes. Since the former conductor’s departure, the BCB has been led by an interim Conductor and several guest Conductors. A search is currently underway for a permanent conductor.

Several opportunities to reward, develop, and retain our key personnel have been identified by the Board and membership. The first is to establish a stipend for the Conductor position. The second is to establish a paid Library Assistant position, seeking an intern from the IU Library School. Each position would include a job description, and a performance evaluation process leading to rewards or penalties would be clearly conveyed to both the stipend recipients and the general membership. There is a need for consistent, increased cash flow in order to implement the stipends.

Board, Committees, and Groups

Board members are nominated and elected in the fall of each year, and Board members serve two-year terms. The Budget Committee, consisting of the Chair, the Business Manager, and the Treasurer, draft a budget for consideration by the Board at the beginning of each year.  The Music Advisory Committee works as a liaison between the Conductor and the membership to help select music, and also organizes musicianship workshops in coordination with the Section Leaders. Another formal committee is the current Fundraising Committee, focused on raising funds to establish an endowment. An External Advisory Committee has recently been established to provide insight into community outreach and fundraising efforts. A list of current Board and Committee members can be found in Appendix B.

In addition to these formal committees, there are informal groups that work to set up the rehearsal space, transport equipment and instruments to and from concerts, and work on administrative/operational tasks such as Development, Publicity, and Personnel. Band sections are led by Section Leaders, who sometimes work with the Conductor and Music Advisory Committee.

Members understand the role of and are generally happy with the Board. There is a need for more transparency and/or better communication between the Board and membership. There is also a need to better inform members of the role of the Music Advisory Committee. The role of the Section Leaders is unclear and needs to be better defined and communicated. There is a potential to better identify or formally organize the informal groups if necessary.

Finances

The Bloomington Community Band is a financially sound organization. That is amply illustrated by our acceptance into the 2012 Matchstick Initiative program of the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. The application process for that award involved a stringent examination of financial affairs for the past three fiscal years. The BCB was one of only four local agencies accepted as participants in this year’s Matchstick Initiative. We plan to use the income from the Community Foundation in future years to provide a modest stipend to our music director and to hire a Library School student to assist our librarian a few hours per week. Initial income from the endowment will begin to flow into our account in the fall of 2012, but won’t make a substantial impact until late 2014. At that time, we will realize from 3.5% to 5.0% return on the full $70,000, depending on market conditions.

The BCB has always been a fiscally conservative organization that prided itself on being self-sustaining. However, for FY 2009, we decided to expand the budget by instituting dues of $25 per year and to apply for an Indiana Arts Commission Regional Arts Program grant. Those efforts and a substantial gift from a local business owner allowed us to operate with a 2011 budget of $16,007. Much of the gift money was spent to replace percussion and sound equipment, so we do not anticipate major expenditures in those areas during the life of this strategic plan. We also call on the membership for voluntary donations once each year for the use of our rehearsal space, typically budgeted at $1200.

The following is a summary of finances. Development of a detailed Financial Strategy will more fully identify and address potential opportunities for improvement.

Structure

Presently, the BCB operates on an annual budget that can be highly variable depending on the level of outside donations during a given year. The Treasurer is a member of the BCB Board and reports on finances monthly.

Income

Income that is relatively fixed includes membership dues of $25 per person annually. Dues may be waived due to financial hardship of the member. Other income comes from concert donations and outside donors and grants.

Costs

Annual costs include equipment purchases and maintenance, additions to the music library, donations for rehearsal space, insurance, and a small budget for marketing. Occasional costs include instrument purchases and upkeep.

Appendix C includes balance sheets from the previous 5 years.

Development

Currently, the BCB has a Development Officer who identifies prospective grants and compiles applications. Recent efforts have proven fruitful for BCB, and will continue. There is a need for greater stability of income, particularly if a stipend is established for the Conductor and Music Library assistant.

Recently, BCB applied for and was accepted into a matching endowment program, the Matchstick Initiative, which is administered by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County. The endowment fund opened 2012 with a balance of $10,000. The goal of the BCB is to raise $40,000 more within the 2012 calendar year. If it does so, Matchstick will match $1 for every $2, resulting in a $20,000 donation to the endowment. Return on the resulting $70,000 will be approximately $2500-$3500 annually.

Members are generally satisfied with the $40,000 fundraising goal, and many have pledged funds toward that amount. The Fundraising Committee has established a plan for raising the remaining funds. Some members are eager to help with fundraising, and some would prefer to focus on playing music.

Marketing and Communications

The following is a summary of marketing and communications. Development of a detailed Marketing and Communications Plan will more fully identify and address potential opportunities for improvement.

 External Marketing and Publicity

The BCB must carry out external marketing and publicity efforts in order to inform audiences of our concerts. Because Bloomington is a transient community, with constant turnover of the population due to the University, ongoing marketing efforts are always necessary to recruit new members, attract new audiences to our concerts, and solicit and address audience feedback. Recent marketing efforts have included development of a web site, external email list and Facebook group.

Some members are satisfied with the level of external marketing; some feel BCB can do better in marketing and publicizing the free concerts, events, and community service the band provides. There is a need for a concerted effort to organize and implement an external marketing plan, especially as the BCB embarks on the 2012 endowment campaign.

Internal Communications

Internally, the BCB uses a private section of the web site and email listserv for communication of band information and to help build relationships among the member community. The Music Advisory Committee was established to facilitate feedback between the membership and Conductor in areas of music selection and musicianship. Annual parties such as the band picnic in July and the holiday party in December provide opportunities for band members to socialize outside concerts and rehearsals.

Members have identified internal communications as an area for improvement; there is a specific perception that the Board is not transparent in its processes with the membership. There is a need for identification of a better way to inform members of Board processes, providing for a feedback mechanism.

Strategic Framework

The Strategic Framework of the BCB is based on previous work in combination with the 2011 BCB Membership Survey and strategic planning facilitation sessions held in the winter of 2011-2012. Every effort has been made to ensure that all band members have had the opportunity to provide input into this framework.

Mission

The mission of an organization is a statement of core purpose. It is the organization’s fundamental reason for being and defines the field or area of activity in which the organization participates. A mission is present-focused.

The Mission of the Bloomington Community Band is:

The Bloomington Community Band exists to inspire music lovers to perform and stimulate the appreciation of community concert band music all year round.

Vision

An organization’s vision is a statement of core ideology. It defines an organization’s timeless character and articulates what the organization wants to become; where it wants to go. It should motivate its members and is future-focused.

The Vision of the Bloomington Community Band is:

The Bloomington Community Band will enrich the community by being a leading large musical organization in which concert band musicians from all walks of life can enjoy music and improve their skills.

Values

The values of an organization are integral to a sense of who they are, what they represent, what they want to achieve, and how they will achieve it. Values play a vital role in building strategic intent and forming consensus and a commitment within an organization. These are the values the organization wants to reflect and instill in the community through service.

The Values of the Bloomington Community Band are to:

1) Provide a supportive environment where band members of varying skill levels can have fun and develop new friends. (Enjoyment)

2) Provide quality music to diverse audiences for entertainment, education, and public service purposes. (Outreach)

3) Strive for musical growth. (Musicianship) 

4) Maintain transparent, democratic leadership. (Transparency)

5) Utilize available funds prudently (Fiscal Responsibility)

Stakeholder Analysis

A Stakeholder Analysis has been carried out as a part of the strategic planning process in order to inventory the internal and external stakeholders of the BCB and to begin to assess stakeholder attitudes toward the organization. A stakeholder is a person or group who is impacted by or can have an impact on an organization. A stakeholder analysis helps an organization to identify potential opportunities for better engaging stakeholders and mitigate possible problems or risks.

Due to time constraints and the sheer number of stakeholders, membership did not have the opportunity to go into too much depth with stakeholders, particularly with the external group. Further analysis would be helpful in the current fundraising efforts and in developing the external marketing plan.

Internal Stakeholders

Internal stakeholders are individuals or groups within the BCB who have an impact on the band as a whole, or who are impacted by other groups within the band. Extra time was spent during the strategic plan facilitation process to ensure that internal stakeholders were fully identified and potential issues or opportunities were discussed. Internal communication, further development of the roles of each group, and transparency of the Board were themes that continued to come up throughout the process.

Inventory and Grouping

Internal stakeholders were identified as individuals and groups. Additionally, a few internal groups that had crossovers with external stakeholders were identified. Finally, some organizational resources were identified as well. Each was assigned a primary and secondary role that the stakeholder fulfills within the band: Operational, Financial, or Outreach. A full list of internal stakeholders can be found in Appendix D.

Opportunity Identification

The following opportunities to best leverage internal stakeholders were identified:

  1. More clearly define the role of the Music Advisory Committee and the Section Leaders and convey this information to membership.
  2. Understand why some band members leave the organization, perhaps through administering an exit survey.
  3. Leave some informal groups the way they are; some can and should stay informal (ex., administrative group, rehearsal set-up group, equipment transport volunteers).
  4. Find a way to identify those band members or internal donors who go above and beyond in volunteering their time or resources, even informally, and thank them.

External Stakeholders

External stakeholders are individuals or groups outside the BCB who have an impact on the band as a whole, or who are impacted by the community service and outreach the band provides. Through the survey and strategic planning meetings, many external stakeholders were identified. Analyzing these stakeholders provides the BCB with opportunities to identify potential donors, solicit targeted feedback from audiences, and identify gaps in publicity and marketing campaigns.

Inventory and Grouping

External stakeholders of the BCB included groups and individuals. Some crossover groups include internal stakeholders, or BCB members, as well. In this case, stakeholders are identified by their potential role external to the band: Partner, Donor, Influencer, or Service Recipient. Each was also categorized by type. A full list of external stakeholders can be found in Appendix D.

Opportunity Identification

The following opportunities to best leverage external stakeholders were identified:

  1. Identify external stakeholders who may be potential donors, and match them with a BCB member who has a relationship with them in order to most effectively solicit donations.
  2. Fulfill needs of specific audiences by talking with their most applicable representatives to understand their preferences and build a concert repertoire based on that understanding.
  3. Utilize media outlets and relationships, particularly local media that provides non-profit advertising on a complementary or discounted basis, to better publicize fundraising events and concerts.
  4. Develop communication plans to target specific groups with consistent messaging about the endowment campaign and mission and history of the BCB.
  5. Focus musicianship outreach efforts on a diversity of schools and grade levels.
  6. Analyze other local musical and arts organizations to understand how to engage them in partnership rather than competing for a fixed audience and donor pool.

Strategic Analysis

SWOT

Analyzing Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of an organization or a project helps to identify goals for the organization that are realistic, attainable, measurable, and that will have a positive impact on the mission of the organization. The internal factors that affect an organization from within are Strengths and Weaknesses. External factors that may influence an organization from the outside are Opportunities and Threats.

In addition to creating an inventory of answers to the SWOT’s of an organization, this process is particularly useful when facilitated in a group setting because such an environment encourages brainstorming and idea generation, and the discussion that leads to determining SWOT can often be more useful than the creation of the list. An in-person session facilitated by a 3rd party removes bias and engages members within the strategic planning process, ideally leading to increased ownership and buy-in of the strategic plan at implementation.

Strengths————————-— good musicians — opportunity to play music — enjoyment/fun — equipment — dedication of core group — operating on limited resources — concerts for a diversity of audiences– welcoming of new members, open, accepting

— only group to play concert band music

— healthy competition

— exhaustive music library

— good leadership

 

Opportunities——————–— official Concert Band of the City of Bloomington– community event concerts

— Matchstick Endowment fundraising

— vocalists and guest soloists

— partnering with small breakout groups

— recruitment of IU students

— similar local groups and other community bands (partnering)

— fundraising (businesses, partners, individual donors)

— Band-o-rama

— school partnerships – “Meet the Instrument” event

Weaknesses———————–— new member involvement/veteran lead.– turnover of musicians

— rehearsal space and lighting

— rehearsal & concert decorum (balance of respectful vs. fun and informal)

— no current permanent director

— warm up exercises

— wide range of experiences (baseline?)

— intonation – instruments at workshops

— dynamics & playing on beat — communication (internal)

— publicity

— non-contributing band members

— selective recruitment by section

— resources movement (logistics)

— fundraising

Threats—————————— rehearsal space at St. Thomas (find city space?)– IU School of Music (competitor for audiences, members, outreach workshops, donors)

— lack of publicity to attract audience

— weather and cancellations

— bad economy (funding, time)

— core of music arts community

— don’t meet the Matchstick fundraising goal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goals

Following the confirmation of the BCB’s strategic framework, stakeholder analysis, and strategic analysis, members participated in a strategic planning facilitation to preliminarily identify five-year goals. These goals should be measureable, realistic, and aligned with the mission, vision, and values of the organization. Draft goals were then sent to the Board and membership for comment prior to finalization.

Five-year Summary Objectives

  1. Improve the quality of our musicianship through educational opportunities and challenging music.
  2. Raise $100,000 to fund the conductor’s salary and a stipend for a Library School student by completing the Matchstick Program in 2012 and holding annual fund drives thereafter.
  3. Secure a permanent conductor.
  4. Weed and improve the library.
  5. Move into more appropriate rehearsal space with adequate lighting, room, and storage facilities.
  6. Develop and implement a Marketing/Communications plan aimed at increasing our finances and the size of our audiences.
  7. Enhance the internal communication channels for members to ensure transparency.
  8. Determine baseline counts of our audiences at 3 major concerts in 2012 (McCormick’s Creek, Third Street Park, Fourth Street Arts Fair) and maintain annual counts of those concerts in future years.
  9. Provide more opportunity for members to serve the band and move into leadership positions by enhancing the committee structure.

Next Steps

Following the adoption of this strategic plan, band members will form three committees to complete complementary plans to address Internal and External Marketing and Communications, Operations, and Finances. Plans will be developed by band members with guidance from an external consultant as needed.