Strengthen Capacity Icon

strengthened capacity & operational excellence

Create a financial foundation and the organizational capacity to ensure long-term success.

I. Outcome: Membership & Development Revenue grows from $3.2 million in 2013 to $5.3 million by 2019.


  1. Increase membership from 43,000 to 60,000+ by 2019.
  2. Concentrate fundraising efforts on qualified donors/prospects in the major donor, corporate and foundation categories.
  3. Strengthen the commitment to fundraising by the staff, Board and partners of the ATC.
  4. Enhance revenue by leveraging the A.T., ATC and National Park Service brands.
  5. Evaluate revenue streams for growth potential.

II. Outcome:
The endowment - the David N. Startzell Stewardship Fund's – Total Net Assets are increased from $3.6 million in 2013 to $8.3 million by 2019.


  1. Develop and implement a Planned Giving Program by the end of 2016.
  2. Evaluate the potential for a Capital/Endowment Campaign by the end of 2017.

III. Outcome:
Investments are made in the ATC to strengthen organizational capacity.

  1. Develop and execute a staffing plan to ensure successful implementation of the new Strategic Plan.
  2. Develop and begin to implement an information technology strategy by the end of 2016.
  3. Develop a capital investment plan by the end of 2015.
  4. Improve internal communications to enhance organizational productivity.
  5. Invest in staff through training programs.


ATC 2018 Action Plan

In 2017 we increased the fundraising capacity of Board of Directors, President’s Advisory Circle, and committee members, and senior conservation staff by integrating a new donor database system and creating concrete and measurable work plans for each. We enhanced inter-departmental collaboration between Membership & Development, Communications, and the Publications through a shared calendar system to support operations and event planning. We leveraged new and existing partners, including APPA, to add value to our donor engagement and support of our overall revenue goal. We also tightened several processes and created a Board-approved Gift Acceptance Policy.

We maintained ATC membership levels, and concentrated efforts on new and qualified donors/prospects in the major donor, corporate, and foundation categories and evaluated revenue streams for growth potential. We also revised our life membership program for stronger return over time.

In terms of overall revenue, Membership and Development raised nearly $600,000 more in 2017 than in 2016, which represents a 15% increase year-to-year.  We exceeded revenue goals in several Development areas such as Corporate, Foundations, Major Gifts and our new Tribute Garden in Harpers Ferry. We did experience some shortfalls as well, particularly in Membership renewals and direct mail campaigns.

We also began to implement a proactive Planned Giving program and hired a consultant to evaluate our current membership for potential in the coming years to help significantly build our endowment.  We conducted an age overlay on our membership and sent an initial planned giving mailing to 10,000 members with a high number of responses.

In 2018 we will build upon our strengthened systems and inter-department collaboration, and work with our new President and CEO, Board, President’s Advisory Circle, senior conservation staff and a new membership vendor to increase our reach and ability to cultivate and solicit current donors and new prospects – to help us reach our Membership and Development revenue goal of over $5,000,000.  We will work to align ATC and A.T. brands with public perception in our fundraising, marketing and retail operations including market research.  We have added in acquisition funding to increase our membership renewals and add new members.

Our Planned Giving program will continue to grow as we individually cultivate our Horizon Society donors (those who have told us they have included ATC in their estate plans) and major donors identified as strong prospects, sending out a planned giving newsletter three times a year, and several mailings on special topics of interest.  And our new Capital Campaign exploratory committee will begin meeting regularly looking forward to 2019.

2018 Benchmarks:

  • Enhance and support a culture of fundraising among all staff, Board members and key partners
  • Align ATC and A.T. brands with public perception.Explain who we are and what we do.Discover the gaps between public perception and reality.
  • Continue design and implementation of a proactive Planned Giving program.
  • Identify a consultant for a capital campaign assessment to begin in 2019.