American Red Cross, Palo Alto Chapter

Fall-Winter 2005
Project Type
Full team
Project Focus
Strategic Planning
Organization Type
Human Services


The American Red Cross, Palo Alto Area Chapter (PAARC) delivers disaster preparedness and response, health and safety training, and international services. PAARC’s mission is to help individuals prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies and to provide services and programs that promote the health and safety of the local community. PAARC offers fee-based classes in Health and Safety at the Chapter house for children, adults, and youth.

Project Objectives

PAARC asked ACT to help them improve their financial strategy and identify internal cross-activity opportunities and synergies.

Project Overview

The ACT team interviewed staff and board members, reviewed internal documents, and reviewed information from other American Red Cross chapters to develop a list of PAARC’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities. Upon completion of the evaluation of the chapter, the ACT Team developed an action plan and made specific suggestions on how to improve the financial strength of the chapter through conducting cost-benefit analysis for selecting activities to fund, leveraging the chapter’s points of touch to broaden community impact and involvement, and developing a fund-development strategy. In addition, the ACT Team developed specific recommendations for how to implement an organization-wide calendar for program/service implementation and coordination.

Key Recommendations

  • Update and use chapter calendar to coordinate activities and communications
  • Evaluate activities to guide choices about resource investments and strategic growth
  • Leverage “points of touch” to build loyalty and support
  • Expand fund development goals and capability to ensure chapter sustainability: create targets and plans now for short-, mid-, and long-term; invest in FD systems, “architecture” and culture; reach beyond current donors and volunteers

Final Report Outline

  • Project overview
  • PAARC strengths
  • PAARC challenges
  • PAARC opportunities
  • Phase A: chapter calendar recommendations
  • Phase B: financial suggestions; evaluate activities - costs and benefits; list activities and categorize primary objective of each; identify costs and benefits of each activity
  • Leverage points of touch
  • Expand fund development: clarify needs and set goals; establish robust fund development architecture; target opportunities to increase and diversify revenue; invest in fund development