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Frequently Asked Questions

• Who are the facilitators and what type of experience do they have?

The two facilitators involved with the SDNHM Strategic Planning process are Robert F. Smith and Cynthia Carson. Review Robert F. Smith's resume. Review Cynthia Carson's resume.

• How did this project get started?

The last 10-year Strategic Plan began implementation in July of 1992. Since then, we have tripled our operating budget, constructed a new facility, completed a large format film, Ocean Oasis, and raised $30 million for construction, as well as $10 million in future estate gifts.

The last item in the 1992 Strategic Plan to be completed is the next 10-year Strategic Plan which will be adopted by the board in July 2002 for implementation from 2002-2012.

• Bottom line, what are you trying to do?

We are trying to imagine the Museum of 2012 in order to take the steps necessary between now and then to make that Vision a reality. In short, we are trying to create our future.

• How will the project accomplish a shared vision?

The plan is being crafted by a core Strategic Planning Committee of 25 with broad-based input from staff, board, volunteers, community leaders, philanthropists, and museum members. Once major initiatives called Key Result Areas are identified, two or three people from the Core Planning Team will recruit 8-10 others with expertise in that particular matter to come up with strategies and action plans. These will then come back to the Core Planning Team and the Board of Directors for action.

Throughout the process, all interested parties are invited to make suggestions at this website. When we are finished, we will have had several hundred people involved in the process.

The plan is intended as a "road map" to the future. It does not preclude new ideas or even detours along the way. Progress will be measured annually by the board and staff alike and revisions and additions are expected.

The plan will be communicated to staff, board, volunteers, members, friends and the community at large through publication of the plan, the Museum newsletter, the website, and other publications.

In the end, all interested parties will have had an opportunity for input and access to the plan over the next 10 years. Through this very inclusive process, we believe the plan will be a Shared Vision.

• How long will it take?

The plan will take one year to craft and ten years of implementation. Planning is never really finished here because we will do annual departmental plans and operating plans within the context of the 2002-2012 Strategic Plan.

• How much will this project cost and who is paying for it?

Because of the depth and breadth of our planning efforts, this plan costs $250,000, including outside research, site visits, outside expertise, and staff release time.

The 1992-2002 Strategic Plan was paid for by the J. W. Sefton Foundation. This Strategic Plan, 2002-2012, is supported by the J. W. Sefton Foundation with BRCC (Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias) support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and website support from the James Irvine Foundation.

• How does one become involved in this process?

Good plans are broad-based and involve the best thinking that we can incorporate into the final plan.

We welcome your input at this website, by letter to Executive Director Michael Hager, email ( or telephone (619.255.0216).

San Diego Natural History Museum
P.O. Box 121390, San Diego, CA 92112-1390

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