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This plan was presented by Save Salt to the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies Board of Director on July, 8th 2015.


Page 1: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015



















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Page 2: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015
Page 3: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015
Page 4: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015
Page 5: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

The Plan for Salt’s Future We understand from your closure announcement that the three largest impediments to Salt’s future are: enrollment, marketing and outreach, and accreditation. Instead of closing, we would like to see Salt enter into a "Hibernation Mode" until at least June of 2016 so that these challenges can be addressed, understood, and corrected. While in Hibernation, Salt’s mission will be to actively leverage its strengths to help address the school’s weakest points. Newly energized leadership, along with Salt’s passionate, energized and well-connected alumni, will work together on our fundraising, outreach, and community building initiatives. They will also cultivate relationships with other community stakeholders to position Salt for future success. Our first two priorities will be to start an interim Executive Director search that will prioritize candidates who specialize in stabilizing non-profit organizations and to initiate fundraising. To address Salt’s infrastructure challenges, we propose moving from an exclusively tuition-based fiscal model to a model that most nonprofit schools utilize: combining an annual giving campaign with foundation and corporate support, including technology sponsorships. The first document in your packet is our Plan for Robust Fundraising. While operating in Hibernation Mode, we propose a public campaign that will feed a coordinated fund-raising effort. Using Salt’s website, we will publish stories from the archive across Salt’s 42-year history under the campaign heading “Salt is Maine: 42 Years of Maine Stories.” We also suggest highlighting alumni profiles and linking this content to our robust and rapidly expanding social media platforms. (Since yesterday morning, our Facebook page has garnered over 1,800 likes, in less than three week’s time. The next section in your packet, the Plan to Harness the Power of Salt’s Community, is just a small sampling of some of our social media responses to date.) The “Salt is Maine” campaign will keep Salt’s story alive, driving fundraising and steering interested students to the school once it reopens.

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Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

If you’ll turn to the next page, the Plan to Position Salt for Discoverability, you’ll see that in our preliminary survey, 40% of recent alumni report that posters on their colleges or university campuses inspired them to attend Salt. As you can see by the cover photo on your packet, we are already in position to restore this marketing effort to build enrollment for Salt’s reopening. We will also groom a fleet of alumni ambassadors to give presentations at schools in their cities to bolster this effort and to field queries from interested applicants. Salt’s alumni are professional, energetic, and passionate people with deep loyalty and fondness for the school and the impact it has had on their lives. To better harness this energy and strengthen the connection between Salt and its alumni, we propose forming a formal Alumni Association lead by an Alumni Committee. This Alumni Association will assist Salt’s board and staff in areas of need, including but not limited to: fundraising and marketing outreach, board development, and alumni and community relations, such as regularly scheduled alumni gatherings and events in Portland, Boston, New York, and other cities where there is a critical mass of Salt alumni. To help with outreach and major donor gifts, we are already in the process of cultivating an advisory board, which may include media figures such as Ira Glass, Brian Storm, Susan Orlean, Dave Isay, Adam Davidson, Ken Burns, Lynn Kippax, and others. The Plan to Attract Widespread Public Support and Investment, the next section for your review, shares the endorsements of several key figures who have a stake in Salt’s continuing, healthy future. When you’re ready, please turn to the Plan to Steward Salt's Archive. Programming and the archive are at the core of Salt’s mission. If Salt moves out of Congress Street, the archive can be transferred to an appropriate space where it will be temporarily and safely housed. While we work to rebuild Salt’s infrastructure, the archive will be put to work for Salt. We have already begun exploring opportunities to generate revenues for the school via granting organizations and the creation of strategic alliances with photo agencies, as well as building relationships with historical societies and other archives across the nation.

Page 7: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

We recognize that two impediments to adequate enrollment have been the challenge of providing financial aid and Salt’s loss of accreditation. Those are real concerns that must be addressed. However, based on our research on comparable programs, accreditation and financial aid should not be an impediment to enrollment. Turn to the Power Point slides in our Plan to Secure Student Enrollment, and I’ll quickly walk you through our preliminary findings. You’ll see from the fifth slide that regardless of whether the programs are offered by universities or communities, certificate programs are the most popular program offering, outweighing undergrad or graduate degrees. (Certificates are defined as non-credit bearing, including intensives, workshops, and other models.) The next slide shows that radio and writing are underrepresented at university-based programs, and that video/filmmaking is overrepresented at university-based programs. With the exception of Salt, long-form writing and documentary techniques in social media are absent. The next slide shows that Salt’s traditional 4-month program is unique to the market, and the final slide reveals that the majority of certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid. Funding is available through institutional loans, fellowships, and corporate sponsorships. These findings support our conviction that there is indeed a market for Salt’s curriculum. We have already initiated conversations with schools across the country to explore reinstating Salt’s accreditation and to removing any accreditation-based impediments to future scholarship or grant monies. We understand restoring accreditation will be a complex, time-consuming process; thus, it needs to begin immediately. While we solve these many big-picture issues, we propose running short programming with low overhead such as online courses, week-long programs in Salt’s various tracks, and a low-residency model as soon as feasible so that Salt is not completely “in the dark” and revenues may be generated. Media centers within a reasonable distance of Portland have reached out to us regarding sharing space for running short-term programming, which we envision starting as early as Spring 2016. We also suggest possibly running Salt’s semester-long radio track as early as Spring 2016, given its popularity and outstanding reputation. A semester-long online literary-journalism class is another possibility for the spring.

Page 8: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

I’m going to turn over the presentation to Tavia, who can give you more detail about how we envision a Hibernation Mode running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. Please bear in mind that our ideas to transition Salt depend upon where things stand with the dissolution process, particularly the currently unresolved questions about the Congress Street lease. The other contingencies hinge upon Salt’s current financials, which we would need to review, the condition of the State Street house listing, and questions about who will lead the organization through this uniquely challenging time. Provided that the board agrees to stop the dissolution process, here is where Save Salt believes we can come together with you to find a solution that is amenable to all and that will enable us work together toward a new future for the school. We will first cover transitional staffing, followed by real estate, Hibernation Mode leadership, and fundraising. We’ve detailed proposed steps to go into Hibernation Mode in our Plan to Transition to Hibernation. Given that Donna’s last day is imminent, one of the first steps that we propose is to hire an interim administrator who Donna can train in all of the aspects of Salt’s operations before her tenure is complete. The administrator will begin as soon as possible to carry the school’s operational knowledge forward until a future interim Executive Director and support staff are found. Trusted volunteers will review and update alumni records for a forthcoming giving campaign that will be part of our larger fundraising strategy, which we will detail shortly. We are aware that the Congress Street space, at $5,000 a month and with approximately two-and-a-half-years owed on the lease, is a significant expense. We welcome your update on the state of this lease and its terms. Our community allies have strongly suggested that they are willing to commit monies to keep Salt open provided it stays downtown. If the short and long term business plans we develop show that remaining in the Congress Street lease is, in fact, not the best decision for Salt’s financial health, other arrangements should be made to exit the lease with as little impact on Salt’s remaining cash reserves as possible. We would like to hear about the plans that you currently have in place if a move proves necessary, as well as to review any proposed budgets. If the

Page 9: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

archive is moved into temporary storage, along with furniture and any other physical assets, we envision setting up a small office with considerably lower overhead while monies are raised and new space is sought. As for the archive itself, we understand that monies from the pending sale of the State St. house have been earmarked toward digitizing Salt’s archive. We would like to know what other funding possibilities you have explored for this digitization process, including pursuing grant monies, so that this real estate may be retained and may start generating income for the school through rentals during this fallow period. As Salt’s real estate issues are getting settled, we suggest beginning the search for a skilled interim Executive Director and appropriate support staff. These staff members will work in coordination with our small army of alumni and community organizers and volunteers. If you’ll turn to our Plan For the Trustees and Executive Director in Partnership, you’ll see the importance our plan places on an intentional structure for the Board and Salt’s leadership to be collaborative, equally invested, and mutually supportive. We think it’s essential that the new Interim Executive Director and Trustees convene to map out new objectives, timelines, and strategies for the intensive Hibernation year, as well as a long-term vision for the organization, as soon as possible. We envision an exciting, busy year ahead. Energized Trustees who are eager to to roll up their sleeves and move forward with a concerted commitment will be central to executing this plan. Some people with excellent standing in the community and historical relationships with Salt have already stated their willingness to serve in various capacities. These individuals have the skills, experience, and resources to specifically address Hibernation Mode’s objectives of shoring up the organization and guiding it into a thriving future. Alumni, community partners, and other stakeholders who have already been working on this effort are eager join the Trustees’ current committees, as well as any other committees that new leadership sees fit to form. Given the above contingencies, how much this transition will cost may vary widely. Nonetheless, we have relationships with people in the community who have committed to help leverage significant monies to keep Salt open

Page 10: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

Save Salt Proposal Plan

July 8th 2015

under the right conditions and circumstances. Moreover, our programming suggestions for this time period are geared toward bringing in revenue at low overhead. Once we have a target figure, we will work with our alumni volunteers to begin our Salt is Maine fundraising campaign, which we alluded to previously. Our key fundraiser is interested in securing funds for this Hibernation Mode year and for years to come, so that we may build up Salt’s reserves. We trust you share our recognition of the need to rebuild Salt from the ground up. While many aspects of our proposal must be sorted through and negotiated, we would like immediate assurance that you will commit to stopping the dismantling of this institution and to working with us through a transition period. We recognize that our plan is ambitious and will require a great deal of work from committed leadership, staff, and volunteers. Bringing people together in this way is about more than having many hands make light work, it is about tapping into what Salt, in its forty-two years, has already created: a statewide community. When students go out into the field, the essence of their work, the essence of this school, is building relationships. From them, stories evolve; thriving organizations do, too. We look forward to drafting this pivotal chapter in Salt’s story with you. Thank you.

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Save Salt Proposal Plan !July 8th 2015!

!The Plan for Robust Fundraising!


I. Target Projections: subject to budgeting determinations

A. Short-term: FY 2015-2016: $100,000-$250,000 B. Long-range: $250,000+

!II. Salt is Maine: Salt 2.0 Capacity Campaign

Our fundraising consultants recommend a capacity campaign, a fundraising strategy that aims to strengthen an organization for greater sustainability.

Individual Giving Drive

1. Board member annual gifts a) Each board member buys in at a $2,000 threshold or

brings people to the table at this capacity. b) 100% board participation.

2. Large donor contributions

a) $5,000+ gifts with an annual commitment for 3 years minimum to build Salt’s reserves

3. Community contributions a) Salt is Maine charity events: house parties b) Annual community mailing campaign

(i) Mailing list swap with comparable local organizations

c) Kickstarter campaign linked to Save Salt social media

4. Alumni contributions a) Annual alumni mailing campaign

!Capacity Campaign notes:

• There are many possibilities with structuring this and other campaign. One venture would be to have X percent of all monies raised going toward FY2015 operating expenses and Y percent going toward reserves.

• We would encourage modest goals with alumni and community drives to build capacity going forward.

Page 17: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

• Mailing campaigns will be tiered and targeted toward monthly-donations to

encourage large gifts ($42: microphone; $84: digital video; etc.)

• Alums and the community will be asked to think about the value of Salt in their lives.

o Ex: Most of us are on smart phones, paying maybe $200-$600 for the phone itself and $100/month for the service. Is Salt as valuable as a smart phone?

• We will also pursue a secondary strategy of encouraging as many gifts as possible to demonstrate a high level of alumni and community giving.


III. Foundation Campaigns IV. Maine-based foundations:

a) Sam L. Cohen Foundation b) Maine Council for the Humanities c) Maine Arts Commission d) Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation e) Felder Fund for Art and Action f) Libra Foundation

!V. Regional and national foundations

!1. Foundations in support of radio, journalism, multimedia, and

photography a) Knight Foundation b) Annenberg c) Pew d) Scripps Family Foundation


2. Foundations in support of archival cataloging/access a) cataloging b) digitizing c) promoting

!3. Foundations in support of community-based storytelling

VI. Corporate Sponsorship

1. Equipment manufacturers

a) Technology (Apple?)

Page 18: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015

b) Photography equipment c) Video equipment

2. Maine-based and Maine-themed corporations

a) Tom’s of Maine b) L.L. Bean c) Cole Haan d) General Dynamics/Bath Iron Works

3. National media companies

VII. In-kind donations/service trades

1. Program advertising 2. Space trades 3. Hosting services

VIII. Future Campaigns Once Salt is revitalized, the school needs to revisit its plans for an endowment. We anticipate a 5% annual return.

• Ex. A $1,000,000 principle will yield $50K per year.

Minimum and maximum percentages to be used in support of annual operating costs will be determined.


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Page 28: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015


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Certificates are the most common type of program offered, regardless of type of organization.!

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Documentary is the storytelling first and the medium follows. Community-based organizations align with this.!!  Radio and writing are underrepresented at university-

based programs."!  Video / filmmaking is overrepresented at university-based

programs. "!  Long-form writing and documentary techniques in social

media are absent."

Page 30: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015


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Saltʼs traditional 4-month program is unique in the market."

Page 31: Preliminary Plan for Salt's Future / July 8th 2015


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The majority of certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid. Funding is available through institutional loans, fellowships, and corporate sponsorships. !

Certificate cost: $650 - $30,000! Certificate cost: $0 - $9,890!

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