CAA Strategic Planning Report – Part 1

Photo of a person lovingly holding a chicken

CAA’s strategic planning is currently underway. So far, the process has had three components: an online survey, two town hall meetings, and a strategic planning meeting. Here’s more information about each segment.

Online Survey

The process began in March of 2017 with a survey sent via email to all of CAA’s contacts, including event participants, volunteers, and donors. We welcomed input, asking the primary question: What are the key problems that CAA should be addressing through its work?

Forty-five people responded to the survey and offered their individual perspectives. The results were reviewed, and the most common input was collected and categorized for future consideration as part of the strategic planning process.

Town Hall Meetings

CAA Town Hall Meeting – April 6, 2017

In early April 2017, CAA held two town hall meetings through which we gathered insights from community members. The meetings were open to the public and attended by sixteen CAA participants, mostly longtime volunteers and a few new folks, too.

Led by CAA Executive Director Laura Matanah, the town halls were structured to allow participants to further consider those themes drawn from the survey results. The key problems that were addressed included the following:

  • Behavior change is hard
  • Information about animal protection and plant-based eating isn’t available (in hospitals, schools, and other public institutions)
  • People don’t want to know about or feel empathy for animal suffering
  • Cultural norms reinforce animal exploitation
  • People have negative perceptions about animal advocates and vegans
  • People don’t stick with plant-based eating

Town hall participants had the opportunity to consider ways these problems could be turned into positive outcomes and which CAA programs may or may not currently address those outcomes. For more detail about this process, check out the Town Hall Report.

First Strategic Planning Meeting

The process continued in early May 2017 with the first of two strategic planning meetings attended by the CAA board of directors and staff.

The meeting began with a review of CAA’s history, core values, and strategic principles. Discussion allowed for those present to ask questions of clarification and consider ways that these documents could be updated.

The results of the town hall meetings were reviewed in detail, and then the staff and board further addressed those key problems initially identified by the larger CAA community. Again, positive outcomes were identified, and staff and board discussed how those outcomes align with core values and strategic principles.

The next part of the process included identifying the ways that CAA could take action to achieve those outcomes. Current CAA programs were considered, and the team also discussed ways to improve CAA’s effectiveness through making changes, either through modifying, eliminating, or adding programs.

Though the process wasn’t complete, the first day of strategic planning was completed with CAA staff members already recognizing small ways that programs could be modified to better reflect the CAA core values and strategic principles.

Next Steps

A second and final strategic planning meeting will take place before the end of May, and then the staff and board will decide on a plan of action that will determine CAA’s trajectory for the next three years. The next part of the process will include identifying what resources will be required to reach desired outcomes and then drafting a timeline for the proposed activities.

Stay tuned–we’ll be sure to share the final result of our strategic planning with you as it all comes together. If you have any questions or comments on the process, please contact Laura Matanah at

UPDATE: We have finalized our new strategic plan and will be sharing an overview in mid-September after Twin Cities Veg Fest.

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