Many Voices

CONSULTING AREA: Organizational strategic planning & Fundraising strategy

Mary Robinson’s brilliant guidance carried us to an unexpected and exciting outcome, and we now have much greater clarity about where we are headed and how to move forward.

– Ann Thompson Cook, Co-Director, Many Voices


Many Voices was initially founded to create a safe space for Protestant clergy and congregations to learn how to welcome gay and transgender persons. As an early stage start-up, Many Voices needed an organizational strategic plan, and they decided to work with Capacity Partners because of Mary Robinson’s proven experience in both organizational strategy and fund development.

Key Challenges

Creating a strategic plan was especially challenging for Many Voices due to the breadth of its initial mission statement and the absence of a board of directors. Furthermore, the plan needed to include a strong focus on financial sustainability. In addition, the founder – a visionary activist and experienced nonprofit leader – wanted input on the plan from nationally recognized thought leaders. While these individuals knew the founder, they were not familiar with Many Voices.

Services Provided

Over the course of a year, Capacity Partners worked closely with the founder, team members, and an assembly of industry experts to forge a strategic plan. Staff created initial drafts of the plan’s core components, and then a retreat was held in Washington, DC, with industry experts from across the country. Working groups were then established to tackle various portions of the plan. After guiding the strategic planning process, Mary Robinson turned to the creation of a development strategy, an effort that included interviewing potential major donors, stakeholders, and professionals working in similar spaces. Capacity Partners then recommended a candidate for the position of director of development who was subsequently hired to implement the fundraising strategy.


The strategic planning process was transformational for Many Voices. The three most important outcomes were: 1) a powerful revision of the mission to focus directly upon creating a national movement for gay and transgender justice from within the Black church; 2) the emergence of an exceptional staff person who was appointed co-director with the founder; 3) the creation of a strategic plan to use with funders and potential board members — and as an internal launch pad for more detailed operational planning.