Our work impacts the future of psychiatry and mental health practices in the United States.

Services: Development Assessment, Organizational Effectiveness, Individual and Major Gifts, Case for Support, Stewardship and Engagement Planning Support

Access to highly trained psychiatrists and reducing the stigma facing those who struggle with mental health are two of the main issues the APA Foundation was formed to address. However, they struggled with several key elements:

  1. The 30,000+ members of the American Psychiatric Association did not understand the APA Foundation or, in many cases, did not even know the Foundation existed. Member giving was at roughly 3%.
  2. Their mission, vision, and programs were not easily understood and needed to be reshaped. This impacted their ability tell a strong and compelling story about who they are and what they do.
  3. They struggled with a systematic approach to quantify their work to prove their effectiveness and impact.
  4. Their staffing model was blurred with most people wearing multiple hats, which led to confusion and inefficiencies.

In the summer of 2016, Graham-Pelton was hired to lead a Foundation-wide strategic planning effort to review:

  • Constituency perceptions about APA Foundation, including philanthropic interests and priorities.
  • Program effectiveness – what was working, what didn’t work and why, and what was possible. (We came up with a saying, Keep, Retire, Inspire, to target work streams and create new visions.)
  • Communications/Marketing effectiveness and targeted needs.
  • Fundraising opportunities and staffing model for growth.

Graham-Pelton created a targeted, three-year plan to build on a strong foundation of success and streamline operations. The plan had targeted and specific growth objectives for:

  • Programs
  • Partnerships
  • Library collections
  • Website/Communication streams
  • Board engagement
  • Staffing model
  • Program evaluation metrics
  • Fundraising opportunities

We helped reshape their mission and vision to build a full suite of programs enlivened by the Association’s legacy and with a vision to reduce the stigma of mental health issues – transforming their community and increasing participation rates and fundraising outcomes.

Nearly three years later, the APA Foundation has implemented all of our suggestions and followed our step-by-step detailed work plan to drive change throughout the entire organization. They have reorganized major programs and the entire staffing team, and significantly increased their visibility among Association members.

We emphasized their ability to inspire their Association members and helped both the APA and the APA Foundation see beyond what they thought possible.