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Developing a strategic plan for a nonprofit

I developed a research-based strategy to increase the visibility of career opportunities at the nonprofit in a feasible way that considers its staffing capacity. 


ArtReach GW, an art-based education nonprofit


Project Lead, UX Researcher, Strategist



3 months (September - December 2021)  


Written Report 

Verbal Report 


Thematic Analysis

Competitive Analysis 

Ideation Sessions


ArtReach and the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design have historically had a strong relationship. However, since the Corcoran’s merger with the George Washington University (GW) in 2014 which resulted from the Corcoran’s strained financial position, intramural exchange between ArtReach and GW has decreased. The reemerging relationship also suffers from stigmatized stereotypes of the communities East of the Anacostia River, whom ArtReach serves.

Compared to the time before the GW and Corcoran merger, the visibility of art-based opportunities for community engagement for GW students at ArtReach is at an all-time low.


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Challenges Derived from Research  

The challenges that were identified came from research and interviews with stakeholders both at ArtReach and Corcoran School of the Arts & Design. Increasing current institutional capacity to recruit teaching faculty at and formally train teachers for ArtReach a goal. Example quotes that illustrate these challenges: 

  • “I need  a formal system for hiring teachers more so than a formal communication with teachers, because [hiring] is a very ongoing process” - Aselin Flowers, Director of ArtReach GW

  • “[I don’t have a] standard application [for instructors]. Some teachers don’t have the same kind of experience and need more support. There are techniques and methods for ensuring that students receive information and retain it...Some less experienced teaching artists may teach based on the way that they were taught rather than in a way that students learn.” - Aselin Flowers, Director of ArtReach GW 

  • “I don’t have the capacity [ to offer teacher training to artists working in the classroom]. There is an ArtReach teacher resource guide. I meet individually with teachers to talk about lesson plans and goals for the classes...Scheduling with all the teachers is a tremendous challenge.” - Aselin Flowers, Director of ArtReach GW 

  • Fractured historical relationships between the Corcoran, GW, and ArtReach.


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Further Research and Analysis 

Interviews were conducted with current teachers in the program including one who was a student of ArtReach for 10 years. Overall interview content was gathered from 20 participants including current, past, and potential ArtReach teachers, staff members, and current students. The insights generated from our research informed our proposed strategies and objectives. (Appendix

What we learned from Current/Past Teachers

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  • The following insights we uncovered: 

    • There is interest in professional development training, especially for less experienced teachers 

    • There is a need to increase the visibility of ArtReach programs and opportunities at GW and the Corcoran. 

    • The most common motivation for teachers was that they teach others a skill they might not otherwise have access to. Art Therapy teachers were specifically motivated to create a safe space for expression for participants. 

    • The most commonly stated benefit of teaching from current teachers is as follows: “Most rewarding part of teaching is people getting confidence in artmaking and are more about the process and new ways of expression, inner confidence” and seeing students being engaged or becoming more engaged.

    • During a site visit, a current ArtReach teacher facilitated a lesson where  5-6 students partook in using 1 laptop.  

  • Current graduate students at the Corcoran are interested in teaching opportunities at ArtReach GW. 

What we learned from Potential Teachers

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  • Potential teachers ranged in age from 20 - 50+. One potential teacher we interviewed who was interested in this experience was concerned with ageism in securing fellowships and internships. 

  • One potential teacher said program prestige is a consideration when choosing professional development programs and/or teaching opportunities.   

Opportunity Statement
How might we increase the exchange of human resources between ArtReach GW and GW, especially the Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, so that we reestablish the relationship for mutual benefit? 


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Organizational Model Analysis

Engagement Lab looked at different professional development programs and their recruitment models. Our studio wanted to better understand other organizations’ strengths and weaknesses. 

We also wanted to understand what makes these programs sustainable long-term and how those insights could be applied to ArtReach’s ongoing recruitment and training efforts. Overall, Engagement Lab evaluated 4 professional development programs for earlier careerists, including current students. 

Objectives and Strategies

Potential solutions and how we get there

Web Design
Image by Daniel Korpai

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Website Chart
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