Strategic Plan 2016 - 2019

Executive Summary

Established 12 years ago as an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance, HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities, and become ambassadors for the Hartford region. Our purpose is to position the Hartford region as an attractive place for diverse young professionals and entrepreneurs to live, work, and play. HYPE’s strategic plan for 2016-2019 will help young professionals become better engaged in community life, provide opportunities for personal growth and professional development, encourage and equip members to become Ambassadors for the region, and be a resource for and about young professionals working and living in the region.

The strategic plan is a roadmap that will help HYPE: improve without changing too much; continue to grow without growing too big;  become more engaged in public policy advocacy on behalf of those we represent without becoming politicized or political;  mature as an organization and achieve sustainability without losing the youthful energy that defines us or the flexibility that differentiates us; and continue to leverage our relationship with the MetroHarford Alliance without being limited or constrained by it.

Our Overarching Goals and Key Strategies

In support of this vision for HYPE, our strategic plan is built on the foundation of six goals that address the following key areas of operation or opportunity:  grow and diversify membership, offer innovative programs and initiatives, involve young professionals in civic affairs, enhance public awareness about HYPE, build bridges between HYPE and the MetroHartford Alliance, and strengthen organizational capacity. More specifically, our overarching goals are to:

1.   Continue to grow and diversify membership in HYPE in ways that continue to be responsive to the corporate sector’s objectives while also being inclusive and more broadly representative of all young professionals and entrepreneurs in the region.
  • Engage membership by providing a variety of events that will allow members to tell HYPE's story and touting its accomplishments
  • Communicate more effectively with members will improve significantly during this period, as well outreach to and connections with HYPE "alumni" wishing to remain engaged in sustaining HYPE's mission and supporting the vision of healthy, thriving greater Hartford region
  • Continue to work with the corporate sector and MetroHartford Alliance members, specifically, to represent the primary source of HYPE's individual members, increasingly HYPE will be attracting new members whose professional lives are pursued in, for example, the arts, education, or other nonprofit fields
  • Engage in targeted, niche marketing to reach professional segments that will diversify HYPE’s membership
  • Sharpen the focus on meeting the needs and leveraging the talents of young entrepreneurs and small business owners in the area
  • Work with the Ambassadors Committee on their new focus of connecting with Alliance investor human resources
2.   Offer innovative programs and initiatives that actively engage more members in HYPE’s three core focus areas: civic engagement, community involvement, social events, and personal and professional development.
  • Continue to be more intentional about welcoming, orienting, and integrating new members
  • Utilize HYPE’s web site as a source of content and resources of interest to members and as an online gathering place providing opportunities for members to interact and stay connected
  • Create and support member-driven and -hosted affinity groups around a wide range of topics of interest to sub-groups of HYPE’s membership
  • Develop and offer more personal as well as professional development events and opportunities
  • Introduce additional community service events to the civic engagement opportunities HYPE already offers, and incorporate charitable giving into current events where feasible and appropriate
  • Devote additional resources and attention to programming geared specifically toward entrepreneurs, elevating their role and visibility within HYPE
  • Develop and track event evaluation data to guide program development, priority setting, and resource allocation decisions
3.   Involve young professionals in civic affairs and inject into the public policy process their perspectives on issues affecting quality of life as well as recruitment and retention of young talent in the Hartford region.
  • Activate and make visible the support of Alliance efforts to improve Hartford's image and create a vibrant urban community
  • Increase value in both the business sector and political circles as a conduit to and voice for young professionals
  • Create educational programs about and engaged in civic life and the public policy arena
4.   Enhance public awareness of HYPE’s positive impact on the personal and professional lives of young people living and working in the Hartford region, and work in partnership with others to improve Hartford’s image and reputation.
  • Improve communication with and among members to create an informed, enthusiastic, and engaged membership
  • Strengthen relationships with the media, and implement a strategic media relations plan to generate sustained interest in and coverage of HYPE’s activities and impact
  • Segment the market into key audiences and constituent groups of importance to HYPE (e.g., colleges and universities, HR departments, local nonprofits), and tailor HYPE’s marketing messages and outreach to each group in order to build awareness and relationships
  • Continue and expand HYPE’s use of social media as a cost-effective channel for raising awareness and generating interest
  • Equip and engage HYPE members in support of HYPE’s marketing efforts

5.    Build bridges between HYPE and the MetroHartford Alliance  to align organizational efforts relating to issues that are of mutual interest while also facilitating professional.

  • Enhance the Ambassadors Committee to build connections between Alliance investor human resources and committee members
  • Create a system in communicating with Alliance investor representatives
  • Use these contacts to keep membership clean and up to date
  • More effectively engage members as ambassadors for Hartford in their work and home environment
6.    Strengthen organizational capacity by implementing systems, structures, funding streams, and policies that promote innovation, continuity, scalability, accountability, and sustainability.
  • Steady, stable and sustainable sources of revenue will have allowed HYPE to scale its operations effectively in support of membership growth and expansion of programs and services
  • Expand HYPE’s staff in ways deemed necessary to support growth and attainment of strategic goals, while continuing to harness the talents of volunteers and leveraging resources and efficiencies resulting from HYPE’s relationship with the MetroHartford Alliance 
  • Secure incremental revenue required to implement strategic plan priorities and to ensure HYPE continues to generate a significant return on both the Alliance’s investment and the financial support provided by lead investors
  • Regularly engage HYPE leadership in reviewing progress toward strategic priorities and identifying opportunities to enhance HYPE’s value for members and in the community