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PARTNER INSIGHTS: Aligning an Organization’s Strategic Goals with its Architectural Environment

One of the most common disconnects in nonprofit organizations is how to align architectural space needs with organizational goals. Executive Directors, Board Members, and Operations Staff contribute impactful managerial skills and strategic visions, but often stumble when it comes to creating a physical environment for their programming that matches their organizational intent.

IntuArch is proud to continuously update an informational guide on how nonprofit organizations can take advantage of architectural design to achieve programmatic goals and further their impact. Below are a few common questions summarized to share with our Strategic Partners Network.


The practice of Architectural design is opaque to those not familiar with the terminology or sequence of how an Architect may prepare a vision, configuration, and building plan that nurtures programming needs. The first step for nonprofit leaders to consider is hiring an Architect to conduct a thorough stakeholder analysis. By identifying and offering agency to all members of a community, designers prepare conceptual studies that examine existing space conditions, potential renovations, and new construction possibilities.

The concept design process is the most important step an organization can take to determine their needs. Often this discovery process identifies shortcomings in the current configuration of spaces. Of even greater benefit, an insightful architectural design process may result in a more coordinated strategic plan that connects staffing requirements, programming needs, environmental upgrades, accessibility integration, budget forecasting, and outreach goals with architectural vision.

The Architectural visioning process will also coordinate fundraising efforts by providing the visual materials needed for development outreach, and a published mechanism to incorporate donor feedback. Beyond identifying organizational needs, an Architect will simultaneously evaluate the input of outside engineers and specialists that may contribute to a more careful visioning process as the project proceeds.


There is no way to avoid the fact that construction projects can be expensive and may distract an organization from funding other programs. But, a responsive conceptual design will prepare an organization with the tools needed to succeed in advancing a building project. A well-documented Architectural vision can become the basis for accurate cost estimates, to add consultants to the team, and to invite contractors to execute the vision.

Depending on the scale of the endeavor: (1) Smaller projects can be run directly via nonprofit leadership and the design team, led by an Architect, or (2) Larger projects often include a project manager experienced in the construction process to act on behalf of the nonprofit organization. These consultants can manage the bulk of the architectural and engineering documentation process, manage contractor bidding, and administer construction as the project gets underway. Hired directly by the organization, these project managers provide for trustworthy advice and a reduction in management overhead to manage the building process.


There are multiple ways for an organization to solicit the most appropriate Architectural partners. Some nonprofits choose to solicit professionals through recommendations, some invite a handful of firms to submit qualifications for consideration, and some may require a public bid process.

Like all significant changes to an organization, considering the physical environment may come with unexpected challenges. Ultimately, getting started on upgrading the architectural environment to match the integrity of the organization includes hiring a design partner as invested in the potential of the community as the leader themselves.

If your organization or client is evaluating space needs, or looking to embark on a Capital Campaign, contact our team at IntuArch to discuss how we can help visualize their future.


The Strategic Partners Network is a curated collection of vendors and specialists who share our values and mission to create change and develop growth. PARTNER INSIGHTS allows for members of our Strategic Partner Network to share innovative concepts and strategies to support nonprofits and social impact organizations. Be on the lookout for future PARTNER INSIGHTS featured on Lipton Strategies blog.

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