The Growth Management River Trip℠

Customer-centered strategic business planning. Simplified.

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How to Lead Strategic Planning at Your Not for Profit Organization

In partnership with The Grove Consultants International

Upcoming River Trip℠ Guide School Workshops:


December  7, 2021     8:30 – 12:30 (Pacific Time)

January 11, 2022    8:30 – 12:30 (Pacific Time)

February 1, 2022   8:30 – 12:30 (Pacific Time)

If you’re new to River Trip℠ Strategic Planning, or if you want to learn how to lead a planning process using this state-of-the-practice methodology, enroll in one of these efficient, affordable workshops. Management team and board members, independent process consultants and community outreach leaders are typical participants.

Each workshop is scheduled as a single-session, four-hour Zoom conference, with limited attendance. Before the workshop, participants receive a review set of the River Trip℠ orientation and five process maps. And each participant is expected to select ONE strategic issue for their business, not for profit or healthcare organization, to be addressed during the training.

You will learn how to use all three visual methodologies: personal process maps, videoconference planning using Mural notes with the River Trip℠ diagrams, and wall-sized large formats for in-person meetings.

Orientation Process Map


There are many different types of not-for-profit organizations – classic charities, grant-making foundations, community athletic and support groups, environmental networks, fee-for-services research teams, educational and religious groups. We are blessed with such a rich fabric of not-for-profit organizations in our economy.

When it comes to planning the future of these diverse organizations, there is one characteristic that’s common to all of them:

  • Focusing attention onto those who are recipients of your good work;

  • And understanding the goals of those who fund it.

This workshop will introduce Growth Management River TripSM, strategic planning simplified.   It’s a proven, stakeholder-centered visual planning system developed by Grove Partners Rob Eskridge and Ryan Stock


A river rafting metaphor helps to differentiate the five core processes.  The visual process maps can be used for in-person and/or videoconference planning meetings.   

Rob and Ryan, principal consultants at the Growth Management Center, have led strategic planning at not-for-profit organizations with national, regional and local scope of services, with varied funding sources.  Their experience has been designed into the River TripSM planning model, which can easily be customized for your organization.



Leading Not-for-Profit Growth Planning

Learn how to evolve the services offered and funding sources for not-for-profit organizations of all types.  You’ll experience a visual system which makes it easy to lead growth planning.

Online Workshop | One 4-hour live session


Familiarity with services and funding sources

for at least one not-for-profit organization.

An affiliation with them is not necessary.

Register Now

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  • You are a not-for-profit Executive Director, interested in developing or updating a strategic plan for your organization, whether you’ll be leading the planning yourself or delegating that role to someone else.

  • You are a volunteer director or a member of the board’s strategic planning committee.   This workshop provides context for the planning aspect of your board governance responsibilities and insight into bringing more stability to your organization.

  • You are a not-for-profit staff member who has been asked to lead a strategic planning process for your organization.

  • You are a consultant with a not-for-profit practice. The River TripSM approach gives you a proven, easy-to-follow strategic planning approach which is well-documented in a set of visual process maps.  You can use your groupwork and graphic facilitation skills and your knowledge of the not-for-profit sector to guide the planning, without investing uncompensated time into process materials or instructions.

  • You are an experienced facilitator or graphic recorder, interested to add strategic planning to your portfolio of services.  Get started in the not-for-profit world, then consider offering this service to the business sector.

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You’ll learn:

  • How to structure a strategic planning process using the Growth Management River TripSM not-for-profit edition, with stickies and visual tools for consensus-building.

  • How a comprehensive planning retreat can be held by videoconference, a faster and easier approach than traditional offsites.

  • Techniques for soliciting planning input from board and staff members, donors and grantors, and from those who benefit from your services.  Learn to focus this input into planning information which will assist greatly with strategic decisions.

  • To lead the planning team as they craft short and longer term objectives using an iterative process (which actually does resemble paddling through rapids in a river).

  • When community partnerships can leverage your organization’s funding and services.

  • Three critical elements of strategy implementation, and how action plans can link directly to the organization’s budgeting process; and

  • To explicitly link donor objectives with funding needs. This may be the most powerful learning opportunity presented in this workshop.



Before the workshop begins, you’ll Identify one issue faced by a not-for-profit that you are familiar with.  Then you can follow that issue as the workshop proceeds through all five phases of planning.  It’s learning to lead a visual planning system, using a not-for-profit organization as a case study.

A review copy of the River Trip process maps will be sent by Priority Mail beforehand. Registrations are not accepted less than one week prior to the workshop.

Workshop schedule – Participants join a four-hour Zoom call (beginning at 8:30 am Pacific Time).  Short breaks are scheduled at 9:45 and 11:00.  In addition to the planning model orientation, there will be time to work on your single-issue plan and time to learn from others during short breakout groups.

After the workshop, your workshop leaders will remain on the call to address specific questions.  Additionally, a follow up call is scheduled with each participant, for you to ask questions about starting the process; to purchase materials for leading a not-for-profit planning team; or to discuss options for experienced consultants to lead the River TripSM process at your organization.

Of Special Note:

  • The Growth Management River Trip℠ is a leading-edge visual strategic planning system.  Originally developed in the 1980’s, it was based on proprietary research into strategic planning approaches that were practical, effective and customer-centered.

  • This process has been updated every decade since, to accommodate changes in the economy, advances in technology, developments in the field of visual planning and new types of not-for-profit organizations.  It has been used by business, government and not-for-profit leaders in more than 40 industries, around the globe. The most recent not-for-profit edition visuals work well for either videoconference and/or in-person settings.

  • The workshop fee is non-refundable, but with at least 48-hours notice, the fee can be transferred to another person or used for an upcoming workshop.

  • Participants will be asked to honor the confidentiality of any information shared by others during the workshop.

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“The visual methodology sets you apart from other consultants. It got the board and staff fully engaged, and brought us all into alignment on the longer term direction of our organization. Our planning dialogue was not only relevant, it was intense.

When the planning was over, we had action plans outlined and our staff knew how to get started on implementing the shorter term objectives. We love the process you brought us.”

Liz Bergeron

Executive Director

Pacific Crest Trail Association



The workshop fee is $595, payable in advance by credit card.

December 7, 2021

Register here

January 11, 2022 

Register here

February 1, 2022

Register here