Friday, June 17, 2011

Nonprofit Management of Parkway

The model used by us and many others (San Francisco & Pittsburgh for instance) in their strategic planning discussions and implementations, for having a nonprofit manage their signature parks, is the Central Park Conservancy, which has been managing Central Park in New York City for years—raising 85% of the money the park needs—under contract with New York City.

In this recent article from the New York Times, the strategy to renew their fund raising presence is unveiled (and it gives a sense of what could be done here for the Parkway if our strategy was implemented) as our Parkway is surely as loved by us as is Central Park by New Yorkers.

An excerpt from the Times article.

“The nonprofit organization that manages, maintains and raises money for Central Park is using a new campaign to embrace a new identity.

“The campaign got under way early this month. The theme declares that the organization, the Central Park Conservancy, is “Central to the park.”

“The campaign seeks to rebrand the organization, which was founded in 1980, by spotlighting a new logo. Echoing the word play in the theme, the logo is being called a “park mark”; it is a bright-green rectangle, in the shape of Central Park, set against a white background.

“The campaign is being created by a team at the conservancy working with McGarryBowen in New York, part of the Dentsu West unit of Dentsu. McGarryBowen, which creates ads for marketers like Kraft Foods and Verizon Communications, is volunteering its services for the campaign.

“The media agency for the campaign — Zenith Media, part of the ZenithOptimedia Group division of the Publicis Groupe — is also donating its services.

“The campaign is extensive, appearing in both traditional and nontraditional media.

“On the traditional side, there are print advertisements, direct mail and posters for bus shelters and subway platforms.

“On the nontraditional front, there are ads online; apps for the iPhone and Android; a presence on the conservancy’s Web site,; and social media like Facebook ( and Twitter (

“The campaign is indicative of efforts by nonprofit organizations to stand out amid all the ads from profit-making marketers.

“Once, appealing to the altruistic side of the public was often enough for them to elicit a response. Now, organizations, associations, charities and causes need to do more to get the attention of busy, distracted consumers.

“For the conservancy, the emphasis is on conveying the unusual nature of its mission: keeping up Central Park under the terms of a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

“It’s a challenge,” says Douglas Blonsky, president of the conservancy and the Central Park administrator, because “people are not used to understanding that a private organization could be managing a public park.”

“Of the $37 million annual budget for Central Park, he adds, 85 percent comes from the conservancy.”