RIF melds marketing, planning departments

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

A story only gets heard if someone’s telling it. More

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RIF melds marketing, planning departments

COURTESY THE RHODE ISLAND FOUNDATION/STEW MILNE
RHODE ISLAND FOUNDATION president and CEO Neil D. Steinberg at the Foundation's 2012 Annual Meeting.

By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 3/4/13

A story only gets heard if someone’s telling it.

That was part of the thinking behind The Rhode Island Foundation’s recent decision to form its new department of strategy and public affairs to better align and integrate its marketing and planning resources.

“Our organization is one where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Jessica David, the newly named vice president of strategy and public affairs. “Our story is much more powerful when you see the whole picture. We need to do a better job of communicating and telling that.”

Neil D. Steinberg, foundation president and CEO, announced in late February that the foundation was combining the staff and responsibilities of its communications and marketing department with the planning, strategy and special-projects department.

The move, he said in a statement, was made to adapt to the organization’s changing needs.

“As a philanthropic and civic leader, The Rhode Island Foundation continues to grow and transform,” Steinberg said. “Our new strategy and public-affairs team will help enhance the foundation’s core business of fundraising and grant-making by aligning it with innovative, new initiatives that help us and all Rhode Islanders build for the future.”

Organization shifts, even when they can appear abrupt, can be an essential tool for nonprofits looking to realign their fundraising priorities.

The Johnson & Wales University Culinary Arts Museum announced in late February it would close for a year for an inventory that is part of developing a new strategic plan, under the helm of former Rhode Island School of Design President Roger Mandle, to expand the museum’s reach.

The Habitat for Humanity Rhode Island – Greater Providence is in the midst of realigning its fundraising focus by targeting more corporate sponsorships and strategic partnerships to solve what Executive Director Connie Hanner has called a cash-flow crisis.

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