Strategic Plan: July 1, 2014 – December 31, 2018

Strategic Planning Team
Heritage Foundation Directors:
•    Jeff Nielsen, President
•    Jeannie Kegebein, Chair
•    William (Bill) Barton
•    Sue King
•    Katie Mahan
•    Renee Mello
Approved June 17, 2014, additions in December 2014
Strategic Plan
(A Blue Print For Growth)
Executive Summary
Strategic Planning Team: Jeff Nielsen, 2014 President and Board Members
Jeannie Kegebein, Chair; Bill Barton; Sue King; Katie Mahan and Renee Mello
Introduction: The 14th District Agriculture Association (the Santa Cruz County Fair), was established in 1941 to:
•    produce an annual Fair
•    be an emergency center
Although a California state-owned property, since 2008 the fairgrounds have received less than 2% of its revenues from the State of California. The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation, the not-for-profit charitable organization founded in 2002 to help support the fairgrounds, has accepted the challenge of ensuring funding for the operations, maintenance and enhancement of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
Objectives: The Foundation was must quickly grow from a passionate core of fair-lovers to a professional fundraising organization. To facilitate this growth an enhanced committee structures with dedicated leaders is ready to achieve identified objectives.

Risks and Opportunities:
Major Opportunities:
•    Incredible growth potential for members and donors
◦    74 years of fairground alumni
◦    More than 400,000 people visit the Fairgrounds annually
Major Risks:
•    An unknown future in the State of California regarding fairground properties and fairs in general
•    The unknown abilities and agendas of future 14th District Agriculture Association Directors and Managers
The Solutions:
•    Organization –The Executive Committee is created to manage the organization, make recommendations to the Board of Directors and continually lead theFoundation toward its mission.
•    Volunteers – The Volunteer Committee is created to recruit, database and dispatch volunteers to meet the needs of the organization.
•    Marketing and Communication – This committee is formed to develop, implement and update consistent and timely messaging to the large, diverse fairground community.
•    Membership – Already a successful committee, membership is the initial step in elevating lifetime support of the Foundation and Fairgrounds.
•    Events – In a strategic sense events will be utilized, not only as a major source of joy and revenue, but to engage community members in Foundation activities.
•    Beverage Sales – The Foundation is entrusted with near exclusive alcohol rights on the fairgrounds, providing revenues for fairgrounds support. The Foundation’s strategic objective is to sell beverages and opportunities that enhance the financial goals of the Foundation through the lens of superior customer service.
•    Fundraising – A dedicated committee strategically focused on providing conduits through which the community can seamlessly contribute to the sustainability and success of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds.
Resource Details:
•    During the previous 5 years, The Heritage Foundation has provided approximately $650,000 in support of the fairgrounds. This amount helps bridge the current gap in revenues and expenses needed by the fairgrounds to maintain operations, buildings and grounds. Additional revenue is needed to upgrade the 60-year old buildings and infrastructure.
•    The Foundation projects the need for $2,000,000 (triple the previous 5-year support) in the next 5 years to provide acceptable maintenance, needed upgrades and sustain operations.

The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation
Strategic Plan
July 1, 2014 – December 31, 2018
Approved June 17, 2014
Ensure a vibrant, healthy Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
Inspire and engage our community to support our Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
to be ready in times of need as well as celebration.
Pursuit of Excellence
•    Identify and utilize people’s strength
•    Build capabilities through continuous learning
•    Never accept complacency or indifference
•    Remain flexible and open to possibilities
•    Be truthful, accurate and straightforward
•    Be candid and non-deceptive in communication and conduct
•    Maintain consistency between your beliefs and your behavior – walk your talk!
•    Have the courage to contend boldly for that which is right and reject firmly that which is wrong
•    Endeavor to be reasonable, open-minded, impartial, even-handed and non-discriminatory
•    Genuinely partner and actively collaborate within and without the Foundation
•    Consistently maintain an attitude of sincerity, tolerance and consideration toward others

•    Practice the principles of the Golden Rule
•    Respect the dignity, rights, safety and personal property of others
•    Be open to the ideas and opinions of others
•    Exercise patience and remain positive under all circumstances
•    Only make realistic commitments and follow-through on the commitments you make
•    Accept responsibility for your own actions or inactions

•    Contribute fully to the activities of the Foundation
•    Step in and help out other team members when needed
•    Share information and resources with team members
•    Work out conflicts directly with the person involved
The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation
Case Statement
The Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds is one of the treasures of the Central Coast – providing a unique venue for recreation, education, science, sports and charitable activities that enrich our community. It is utilized by companies, individuals, schools and community groups year-round. The Fairgrounds also plays an important role as an evacuation center for people and animals in the tri-county area in the event of a disaster, such as fire, earthquake and flooding.
Founded in 2002, The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization, raises funds through donations, special events, beverage sales, grants, planned giving and sponsorships. Through its community connections, it has assumed a major role in keeping the community aware of activities and improvements at the Fairgrounds.
With the help of volunteers, The Heritage Foundation raises funds to provide for operational services and capital improvements to ensure the continued vitality of this important community resource.
The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation
In 2001 the Santa Cruz County Fair Board recognized the need for the Fairgrounds to be more self-sufficient due to the lack of funding for fairs from the State of California, its major source of revenues since inception. Under the direction of the Board, The Santa Cruz County Fair Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, was formed in 2002.
The main goal and purpose of the organization, as stated in the incorporation papers, is to preserve and enrich agricultural and other history of the community; promote science, art, music, history, heath and recreation to be able to support public education and entertainment activities and to support related facility improvements for public monuments and social welfare for future generations to come.
The Foundation began as a very small core of fair folks, who worked very hard to grow the organization over the years and raised an impressive amount of money for critically needed improvements to the Fair facilities.
By outreach and education, the organization has increased its influence by expanding the representation of the board beyond the fair committees, and included community members into the team of volunteers. With a wider segment of the community represented on the board, the overall feeling of ownership in the organization fostered increased membership to 400 by the end of 2013.
Through special events, beverage sales, donations and grants, the organization has continued to grow and attract the attention of the community as a whole. This has provided significant help in supporting the financial stability needed by the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, especially important in 2008 when the State of California decided to no longer fund fairs.
In 2013 the Foundation provided $200,000 to support the Fairgrounds, doubling the previous year’s contribution. In 2014 the board of directors approved an ambitious strategic plan for the organization, laying out plans for the next three to five years to expand the effectiveness of the organization to raise funds necessary to “Assure a vibrant, healthy Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds”.

SWOT ANALYSIS (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)


  • Associated with Santa Cruz County Fair
  • Has access to all things on the fairgrounds buildings, grounds, personnel
  • Volunteers
  • Board members have a good community network
  • All volunteer staff means more money for Fairgrounds
  • Contract to sell alcohol provides continual income
  • Fair has been here for 73 years, so there are thousands of alumni to involve with Heritage


  • Unlimited growth potential Memberships
  • Donors
  • Sponsors
  • Grants
  • Endowments
  • Develop Memorandum of Understanding with Fair Board on how we work together
  • Opportunity to make our fairgrounds a showplace all aspects of the Foundation and the Fairgrounds
  • Opportunity to expand volunteer involvement in



  • Limited knowledge about fundraising beyond events
  • Members, private donations, sponsorships, endowments
  • Dependence upon volunteers limits capacity
  • Volunteer burnout
  • Shared role – duplication of fundraising with Fair Board, AHP and other Fair departments (Ag Hort, Livestock, Horses, etc)
  • Public Relations revamp needed. Someone to address
  • Poor public awareness of our role and effectiveness, perception of clickish organization and to manage newsletter, collateral,
  • Lacks agreements with Santa Cruz County Fair Board (free building rentals, use of board room, beverage sales)
  • Lack of diversity in organization’s directors and other volunteers
  • Alcohol sales needs more – and ABC trained, volunteers
  • Evolving organization from operating as a fair family to being a professional fundraising organization
  • New accounting system and financial statements in process
  • Lack of clear direction: No strategic or business plan


  • Inability to depend upon future 14th District Agriculture
  • Association Directors and Managers
  • Inability to know the future plans of the State of California
  • For Fairgrounds and how the decisions will affect future plans of Heritage Foundation
  • Changes in charitable deduction levels by Federal Government
  • Changes in net profit of food and beverages sold by Heritage
  • Compliance with local, state and federal rules and regulations
  • Heritage Foundation name also represents a national conservative political org with which people outside Watsonville may associate us

Strategic Plan
July 1, 2014 – December 31, 2018
Strategy: Build and match the organization and the Board of Directors to meet the requirements of the strategic plan.
•    Develop a process for member development
•    Implement a robust database system that incorporates all activities including financial reports of the Foundation
•    Analyze and determine if any changes in the organization’s name and logo are needed
•    Negotiate and implement a written agreement between Heritage and 14th District Agriculture Association
•    Ensure that activities of the Heritage Foundation comply with Foundation policies
Lead by:          Executive Committee
Timeframe:      December 2015
Strategy: Recruit volunteers to meet the needs of the organization
•    Develop and implement a plan to help the Volunteer Coordinator identify and recruit volunteers
Responsibility: Volunteer Coordinator
Timeframe: December 2014
Strategy: Develop and implement a marketing and communications plan that reaches all the target markets of the Heritage Foundation and the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
•    Develop a marketing and communications plan that stays within budget and best uses –
◦    Website
◦    Facebook and other social media
◦    Newsletter
◦    Press releases
◦    Advertising
◦    Collateral materials
◦    Consistent messaging
•    Implement the plan
•    Coordinate with Event and Activity Chairs to ensure consistent messaging is prominent in advertising and promotions
Responsibility:   Committee Chair
Timeframe:       Complete marketing and communications plan by July 31, 2014.
Proceed with implementation when plan is approved
Strategy: Use memberships as a way to help the community learn about the Heritage Foundation and to provide the their first step in their financial support of the organization
•    Write and tell our story
•    Analyze membership benefits; create and implement any changes
•    Create and implement a membership plan
•    Take advantage of various events/situations to solicit new members
Responsible: Membership Chair
Timeframe: Membership plan by July 31, 2014.
Proceed with implementation when plan is approved,
Strategy:   Utilize Events as major sources of revenue and a fun introduction to engage new community members in Heritage Foundation activities
•    Produce no more than 3 fundraising events annually
•    Work with the Volunteer Chair to establish an operating committee for each event with:
◦    Subcommittees with responsibilities
◦    Budget
◦    Timeline
◦    Planning meetings
◦    Debrief
•    Coordinate with Marketing/Communications Committee to ensure branded promotion
Responsibility: Each Event Chair
Major Events:
•    Crab Feed
•    Holiday Crafts Fair
Other Events:
•    Heritage Hospitality Night during the Santa Cruz County Fair
•    Fair Volunteer Thank You Dinner

Strategy: Choose beverages and opportunities that enhance the financial goals of the Foundation
•    Provide superior customer service
•    Follow laws and Foundation-approved policies and procedures for beverage service
•    Work with the Volunteer Chair to ensure trained volunteers for events
•    Coordinate with Marketing/Communications Committee to ensure branded promotions
Responsible: Beverage Chair
Timeframe: Immediately
Strategy: Create a variety of avenues in which the community can easily contribute to the sustainability and success of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
Responsibility: Fundraising Chair
Donations –
•    Develop and implement a program and process to help the community easily contribute to the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds
•    Achieve donations of $10,000 by December 31, 2014; Donations for 2015 and 2016 will be part of the donations program.
•    Solicit $30,000 to $150,000 for the 2014 Heritage Hog program before the livestock auction on September 13, 2014
Responsibility: Donations Committee Chair and Heritage Hog Committee
Timeframe: Heritage Hog program completed by September 13, 2014.
Donations Program approval by December 31, 2014. Implementation follows.
•    Develop and implement a sponsorship program that meets the marketing goals of the Heritage Foundation for its events and other activities
•    Work with the Fair Board and Agricultural History Project to find cooperative ways to involve businesses in co-sponsorships with multiple organizations on the Fairgrounds
Responsibility: Sponsorship Chair
Timeframe: Sponsorship program in place by September 30, 2014. Proceed with implementation.
•    Develop a program, process and resources to establish an effective grant requesting entity
•    Hire a grant writer
Responsibility: Grants Committee Chair
Timeframe: Establish program, process and resources and hire a grant writer by December 31, 2015
Planned Giving –
•    Establish and implement a Planned Giving Program, including Endowment and Bequests programs, for the Heritage Foundation
Responsibility: Endowments and Bequests Chair
Timeframe: Explore and develop the program in 2014; implement in 2015 and 2016