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2015-2020 Strategic Plan

The American Public Gardens Association’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan represents the next step in the evolution of the Association. The plan enables the American Public Gardens Association to deliver member value, promote the awareness and importance of public gardens, demonstrate and champion their leadership on critical issues, and support public horticulture with high-quality, comprehensive professional development options that directly serve a diverse membership.

The plan is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It does not depart from our core principles, but instead leads to a deeper and more fulfilling connection to our members.


Drive member value and engagement by boosting communication and outreach efforts and offering quality products, technology, and services that meet, anticipate, and exceed members’ needs.


  1. Develop a coordinated member communications campaign to articulate the value of American Public Gardens Association.
  2. Improve technology to increase member use and access to Association offerings.
  3. Improve the quality of the user interface to enhance member experience.
  4. Develop a customized institutional “member value stewardship report” which displays all the products, services, and personal contacts each Association member uses per year.
  5. Review member dues structure.
  6. Continue to support and leverage the Plant Collections Network program and align it more closely with the Association brand.
  7. Increase public awareness of serious plant pests and diseases and demonstrate leadership in early detection through Sentinel Plant Network Garden activity in all 50 states, while also having Sentinel Plant Network align as closely as possible with the Association's brand.


Provide a roadmap to leadership at all levels by offering professional development opportunities and resources to members.


  1. Review current educational offerings and adapt curricula to meet changing and varying needs of members.
  2. Create targeted curricula to meet the budget and needs of all sizes and types of member gardens.
  3. Create mechanisms to encourage and enable members to access programs, share data and resources, and make connections with each other.
  4. Review and analyze the Association's professional sections to ensure they are efficiently meeting the needs of the various segments of the association’s membership.


Elevate and advance the unified voice of the Association on behalf of the industry and its members by communicating the vital role of public gardens to policy makers and public officials.


  1. Position the Association as an industry thought leadership facilitator and develop a compelling case for the value of public gardens using benchmarking research and creative marketing techniques.
  2. Empower members to advocate on behalf of their individual gardens and the collective membership of the Association by providing relevant information, thought leadership pieces, grassroots training, and other tools.
  3. Increase education and cultivation efforts with key policy influencers and public officials about the value of public gardens to help encourage government and other funding sources for Association members.
  4. Provide members the resources and platform to pursue sound public policy on critical issues such as plant conservation, biodiversity, and the science of climate change.


Dramatically increase awareness of the Association and its members by strengthening the brand and articulating the value of public gardens.


  1. Implement a refresh of the the Association brand to refocus its image.
  2. Develop a comprehensive annual communications plan with key messages and tactics.
  3. Increase the number of quality, favorable media hits.
  4. Integrate and expand the use of digital communication and technology (i.e., Internet, social media, and mobile marketing) to increase awareness of public gardens and the Association.


Maintain a commitment to organizational excellence and increase sources of diverse funding.


  1. Create and implement a five-year organizational fundraising and development plan.
  2. Cultivate strategic partnerships and other relationships to diversify and broaden the base of future members, stakeholders, and supporters.
  3. Foster a dynamic workplace dedicated to developing staff so that they can reach their potential and advance the mission of the Association.
  4. Maintain excellence by ensuring regular operations and procedures comply with those of a reputable accrediting organization and position the association as a leading nonprofit organization.
  5. Upgrade and increase the efficient use of technology in all operations.
  6. Create a metric dashboard with key performance indicators (KPIs) to track organizational progress and provide standard reports to the Board of Directors.
  7. Recruit, develop, and maintain a highly qualified and diverse Board of Directors and keep alumni Board members engaged.

Download the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan