Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is the process of discovering where your organization wants to go and mapping how to get there, while planting key markers for measuring progress along the way. Strategic planning for organizations in the 21st century is more than just identifying a set of goals, objectives, and deliverables. Strategic planning in the new millennium means carefully assessing the role that your organization will play within civil society, thinking about creative and entrepreneurial ways of attracting resources to fulfill your mandate, and building in contingency strategies for adjusting to unforeseen challenges and opportunities as you move toward your goals.

Engagement Strategies

So you have a membership of 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 people. So what? It’s not the size of your membership list that matters as much as how you use it: how you engage those people in your work is what’s important. Drawing on the development and activation of’s online network of more than 35,000 people, Highwater Mark’s Principal, Stephen Legault, has extensive experience at developing engagement strategies for conservation, cultural, labour, and social justice organizations. Stephen calls this process “climbing the ladder of engagement,” and believes that for organizations to effectively execute their mandates, recruiting networks and memberships must go hand in hand with activating them.

Communication / Media strategies

Developing effective communication and media strategies are based on three things:

  1. knowing your values
  2. framing the debate
  3. knowing the best method and timing for delivering your message

It’s not enough to put a good spin on your issue. Real communication and media strategies are not only about getting a positive op-ed piece on your issue. Effective communication and media strategies create the conditions that allow the issues that you hold dear to develop a life of their own in the media available to you.

Organizational Development Strategies

Organizations are the vehicles that we use to accomplish that which we cannot do on our own. Highwater Mark is dedicated to helping you build the organization that meets your mission and objectives, and one that meets the complex and evolving challenges our times demand. Organizations for the new millennium are both bold and able to seek synergies with familiar and non-traditional allies alike. They are nimble, of the correct scale for the task at hand, mission driven, and people focused. Highwater Mark wants to help build the organizations that will bring about the sea change in civil society that will create long-term success.

This may include developing entrepreneurial non-profit strategies. For non-profit organizations and charities to become effective they must become sustainable. To become sustainable, they must search for more stable financial footing. The positive force of ethically driven commerce can be put to good use as a way of creating an additional source of income for our organizations.

Advocacy Strategies and Campaigns

With campaign experience that dates back to 1988, developing and implementing advocacy strategies is second nature to Highwater Mark’s Principal, Stephen Legault. Highwater Mark’s approach to developing an advocacy strategy is to look beyond the final goal to determine the conditions required to maintain that victory. Then we work backwards, identifying the campaign goals and objectives, assessing the political and social elements that must intersect in order to achieve the goals, and finally identifying the steps that must be taken to reach those goals. Government relations, media relations, communication, public education, grassroots mobilization, fundraising, and cross sectorial pollination are all taken into consideration – with a careful eye to long-term success. Too often victory is short term and battles must be fought over and over again. Highwater Mark is interested in developing campaigns that win, and stay won.

Leadership Development Strategies

As part of Highwater Mark’s advocacy, organizational development, entrepreneurial non-profit, communication, engagement, and strategic services, we will work with all the members of the ethically driven businesses, charities, and non-profit teams to develop leadership skills to accomplish these strategies and build the capacity to achieve long-term personal, organizational, and societal success. Having strategies without the deeply rooted leadership skills to implement them is pointless. Highwater Mark believes in matching strategies with the leadership capacity of the organization, and building the leadership capacity to implement the strategy.