Growing the support of Sydney's most iconic gardens
For the past 40 years, the Foundation & Friends have proudly supported the Garden's critical horticultural, scientific, educational, and cultural efforts. As the unique connector between the community and the Gardens, they manage relationships with various stakeholders, including members, donors, volunteers, and visitors. Moreover, they help ensure that donations are effectively used to support a sustainable and influential vision for the Gardens.
The Foundation & Friends faced two main challenges: first, they needed to refresh their value proposition for members, donors, and volunteers, especially considering the numerous other important cultural and environmental causes available to the residents of Sydney and surrounding areas. Second, the Botanic Gardens of Sydney needed clarity around the distinct roles and responsibilities between the Foundation & Friends and the Gardens. Overcoming these challenges would ensure the continued support of the Gardens' important work.
"In my time at Foundation & Friends, I have not seen this level of analysis in what we are doing, or what we can do."
Snowmelt facilitated a series of stakeholder research and strategic conversations with diverse community groups. This created a clear vision for the future and plan for engagement of the Foundation & Friends' many stakeholders. The process used a set of provocations about how the organisation could be configured, and a synthesis of the responses to these revealed the most important elements for the foundation of the strategy.
- Engaged 100+ members, volunteers, donors, team members, executive leaders, board members and visitors in workshop and interview formats.
- Conducted a series of strategic conversations with the Foundation & Friends board to explore challenges and opportunities.
- Framed a long-term purpose, mission and plan to enact change.
- Identified shared interests and tensions across diverse stakeholder perspectives.
- Designed a shared frame of reference to explore critical relationships, dynamics, provocations, projects and impact.
- Codified the strategy, communicated it and brought it to life with key stakeholders.
An articulated purpose
A clear vision
Identified projects and focus areas
"Snowmelt took us on a flexible path of discovery and ensured Foundation & Friends had a robust and ambitious roadmap for the future."
- Stakeholder engagement matters most in complex environments, especially when working across multiple organisations, with part-time staff, and with volunteers. Where they are present, these perspectives must be captured to ensure the strategy that is developed considers their perspectives and has the requisite variety for work. In this instance, holistic engagement of donors, volunteers, visitors to the Botanic Gardens and others signalled a change in how the Foundation & Friends would engage with members and beyond.
- Perspectives evolve and mature over time, benefiting from time to reflect and new information as it emerges. Our process engaged the Board of the Foundation & Friends in a series of conversations that built on each other and ongoing research, allowing us to iterate and adjust the profile of the strategy as development progressed.
- Visual artefacts are powerful tools to make the consequences of decisions apparent and tangible. Using a single, visual frame of reference helped to quickly explore and highlight the second-order effects of different strategic choices.