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Founded in August 2008 by prominent pro-family economist, speaker, and author Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Ruth Institute promotes to college students the ideal of lifelong married love between one man and one woman. No other organization deals with such a broad range of issues surrounding marriage-including premarital sex, same-sex marriage, pornography, no-fault divorce, child-custody practices, multi-partner fertility, and the coming demographic winter-while focusing on the rising generation.

The Ruth Institute operates under the National Organization for Marriage Education Trust, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. The National Organization for Marriage is led by Chairman Robert P. George, President Maggie Gallagher, and Executive Director Brian Brown.


The Ruth Institute is the only national organization devoted to the promotion of marriage among college-aged men and women. Through its educational programming and training seminars; inspiring and informative lectures and conferences; grassroots work with faith leaders; intellectually powerful writing, research, and public advocacy; and innovative use of new media, the Institute is determined to win the culture for traditional marriage and the natural family. In this way, the Ruth Institute hopes to achieve a kind of long-term effectiveness and impact that goes far beyond what can be achieved solely through political activity.

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This strategic plan will guide the Ruth Institute in the initial phase of its existence, during which it will rapidly expand its programming to become one of the nation's leading pro-marriage educational organizations. During the next four years, four core strategies will serve to focus the Institute's efforts. The Ruth Institute will:

LEVERAGE its work and create force multipliers on campuses across the nation by training individual student leaders and affiliated campus groups to defend and promote traditional marriage and the natural family.

ED U CATE and train academics, clergy, and other faith leaders who work primarily with college students so that they become effective and enthusiastic mediators of the Institute's mission.

INVEST heavily in new-media techniques as a way of dispersing the Institute's training, research, and messaging to all social groups, but especially to young people.

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CREATE and sustain relationships with a broad base of individual and foundation supporters that put the Institute on a sound financial footing for future growth and organizational sustainability.

The Ruth Institute 2010-13 strategic plan was initiated by President and Founder Jennifer Roback Morse in August 2009. Dr. Morse engaged an outside consulting firm to guide the Institute through the fundamental steps of the strategic planning process and to write and produce the current document. The planning process included a detailed situation analysis and a review of all aspects of the Institute's operations, including its programming, development strategy and tactics, and institutional mission, vision, goals, and objectives. The result of that process is an organizational road map that will help ensure that the Ruth Institute is able to execute its vital mission of ensuring that tomorrow's fathers, mothers, and leaders know that lifelong marriage between one man and one woman is essential to the health and well-being of men, women, children, and society.





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Mission and General Programming

The Ruth Institute promotes lifelong married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.

The Ruth Institute pursues this mission in all areas of its programming. In shaping that programming, the Ruth Institute has consulted with other organizations in order to learn from the models they have employed and refined over the years and to imitate their most successful programs and tactics. The Institute's programming has five main elements, each of which supports the others to form an interlocking and mutually reinforcing whole. The result is a suite of initiatives and resources that effectively counteract the steady anti-marriage drumbeat that permeates the contemporary culture, especially on today's college and university campuses.


® THE FIRST and foremost element of the Ruth Institute's programming is the marriage- and family-related training it offers to students, young adults, and religious leaders. This includes holding educational and training conferences for college and university students; building a Ruth Youth network of affiliated student groups; providing speakers for college student groups; and conducting seminars for youth ministers, college chaplains, and other clergy who work with young adults.

SECOND, the Institute contributes original research and analysis in support of the fundamental principles of a family-based free society. As part of this work, the Institute produces original marriage and family research, analysis, and commentary; responds to research produced by opponents of the Ruth Institute mission; and produces and distributes original materials, including books, booklets, audio CDs, and videos.

THIRD, the Institute takes full advantage of online and new-media tools, as well as innovative marketing techniques, to communicate its message, findings, and arguments-especially to young people. The Institute's initiatives in this area include hosting training and educational webinars for students and others; communicating with and educating its supporters-especially students-through its own Facebook page, Twitter account, and weekly podcasts; providing Institute-affiliated experts for radio and TV appearances; maintaining an active blog; building and



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nurturing contacts with members of the media who cover marriagerelated issues; and providing a steady stream of fresh information and commentary on the news through our weekly e-newsletter, which already has approximately 6,000 subscribers.

FOURTH, the Ruth Institute seeks to leverage complementary networks in order to spread the Ruth Institute message. This includes working closely with other groups already established on campus; providing support to allied organizations; maintaining contact with alumni of Institute programs; mentoring elite students in Institute programs; and putting Ruth Institute experts in communication with public policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels.

FI FTH, the Institute ensures that its ideas and message are heard in public policy discussions and debates by publishing regular and timely commentary on marriage-related issues; conferring with policymakers and providing public testimony to legislative bodies; and providing high-quality information and strategic contacts to people in a position to influence the policies of private institutions, such as businesses and colleges.

The Ruth Institute Vision

Marriage has become one of the most controversial political issues in the United States. Those who believe that the institution of marriage should continue to be recognized in law as a lifelong union between one man and one woman have been forced to defend that view at the ballot box and in the courts. So far, these political struggles have produced mixed results, and the ultimate outcome is uncertain.

One thing is certain, though. The political war over marriage may be won, in the short term, by the defenders of the traditional view, but that victory will be utterly pyrrhic if the cultural battle for marriage is lost. The Ruth Institute was founded in the belief that unless we act now to promote marriage among the young in an effective, appealing, and exciting way, it will be lost.

The number of out-of-wedlock births jumped eight-fold between 1960 and 2007, meaning that nearly 40% of American children are now born out of wedlock.

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Consider these revealing-and shocking-facts. In America:

The divorce rate is now the third highest in the world (trailing only Russia and Belarus).

The percentage of never-married persons tripled between 1970 and 2008.

Well over half of all first marriages now begin with cohabitation, but in only 10% of cases does cohabitation lead to a lasting marriage.

The destruction of marriage illustrated by these numbers matters. The research linking family and marital breakdown with specific negative outcomes is extensive and overwhelming. There is now a widespread consensus among social scientists of all political views and religious affiliations that marriage is associated with important social, public, and personal goods-especially for women and children. Likewise, whether we examine child abuse, academic achievement, domestic violence, mental and physical health, addiction, spiritual fulfillment, poverty, economic growth, or crime, it is crystal clear that divorce, single parenthood, and cohabitation are associated with negative outcomes. It's as simple as that. Plus, by one estimate, family fragmentation costs American taxpayers a minimum of $112 billion every year.

Faced with a society in which getting married without first cohabiting is almost rare, and in which there is easy divorce and casual cohabitation, a tawdry and dispiriting hook-up culture, and a global political struggle over the very definition of marriage,

--.C~---- -c . today's college-age adults are confused and searching for answers. Many of them long for a coherent alternative narrative for their lives in which lifelong marital commitment holds an honored place. Unfortunately, they won't find such a narrative in today's news media and popular culture. Nor will they find it in their college classrooms. Yet the truth about marriage has

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never been plainer: men, women, and children all thrive best in cultures that encourage and sustain marriage.

That is where the Ruth Institute comes in.

Despite the rapidly deteriorating state of marriage in contemporary America, the Ruth Institute remains hopeful. The truth about marriage and family is so appealing that in many cases it only needs to be lovingly expressed. Furthermore, today's college students have themselves been scarred by marital and family breakdown. They know first-hand the terrible costs of sexual "liberation." Many of them have intuited that there must be a better way.

The Institute envisions a renewed culture in which the vast majority of marriages are stable, happy, and permanent. Such a culture would mean reduced pain, loneliness, and mental and physical health problems for men, women, and children alike. And it would be marked by stronger communities, a more prosperous society, a more dynamic economy, healthier politics, and a self-replacing population. The Institute believes and communicates to others that without a society in which lifelong, permanent marriage is the norm, none of these outcomes can persist for very long.

, Decrease the divorce rate Increase the marriage rate Decrease the cohabitation rate

Increase the number of children who grow up with both married parents Reduce the time lag between the age of sexual initiation and the age at first marriage

Maintain at least a replacement-level birth rate (2.1 births per woman), so that the devastation of a European-style "demographic winter" is avoided

For this reason, the Institute's long-term goal is to increase the numbers and percentages of people who choose lifelong married love. It aims to work hand-in-hand with other organizations in the rising marriage movement to:

The Institute proposes to help achieve these goals by shaping the beliefs and values of members of America's "authoritative communities." These communities-news and opinion media, the entertainment industry, professional groups, academics, civic organizations, and the like-have an outsized impact on public opinion and social change. By working with young people, the Institute will influence the culture, society, and politics of the future by winning a significant number of future "authoritative community" leaders for traditional marriage and the natural family .

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The Ruth Institute was founded as a 501(c)(3) organization in August 2008 by economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, whose scholarly work on marriage and the family had convinced her that a pro-marriage, campus-focused educational and training organization was badly needed. Dr. Morse is the author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-long Love in a Hook-up World (2005) and Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn't Work (2001), recently reissued by the Ruth Institute in paperback as Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village. Her articles have appeared in numerous major academic and public-policy periodicals, ranging from the Journal of Economic History and the Notre Dame Journal of Law Ethics and Public Policy to the American Enterprise, Forbes, Fortune, and the Wall Street Journal.

The Ruth Institute is committed to minimizing administrative and overhead costs by employing a decentralized model that takes advantage of new technologies and underemployed writers, researchers, graphic artists and designers, and information technologists. That is, from the beginning the Institute has planned to make use of highly educated, talented part-time workers as bloggers, researchers, assistants, networkers, and mentors. In particular, the Institute draws on the ranks of professional women and men who have left the labor force to attend to their child-care responsibilities. The Institute also contracts out much of its grant writing and back-office development and publications support.

Dr. Morse is particularly attuned to the great value that parents can provide while working part-time. She resigned from a tenured position at George Mason University in order to make caring for her family her top priority. During her hiatus from academic life, Dr. Morse kept her professional skills honed by working on a part-time basis.

The executive director of the Ruth Institute is Jamie Gruber, a graduate of Gonzaga University, where she studied political science and religious studies and earned a certificate in comprehensive leadership. At present, besides volunteers and interns, the Ruth Institute staff also includes web designer and art director Todd Bingham, publications director Betsey Kerekes, and technology coordinator Norrie Bastedo Vladuchick.

The Ruth Institute board of advisors includes, among others: Kris Mauren, cofounder and executive director of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty; Thomas Spence, president and publisher of Spence Publishing Company and the director

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of Spence Media; Helen Alvare, J.D., senior fellow in law at the Culture of Life Foundation and an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia; William Duncan, the director of the Marriage Law Foundation; and Pat Fagan, a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. A complete list of the Institute's board of advisors may be found on page two of this plan.

" HOSTING the Institute's first national student trammg conferences on August 6-9, 2009, at the University of San Diego. Titled "It Takes a Family to Raise a Village," the conference was attended by thirty-two students from twenty different schools (including UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Rice). These students attended lectures, presentations, and training sessions conducted by leading marriage scholars and thinkers, including W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, William Duncan of the Marriage Law Foundation, and Cassy Hough, founder of the Love and Fidelity Network at Princeton University.

Highlights of the Ruth Institute's first seventeen months of operation-from August 2008 through December 2009-include:


FOUNDING "Ruth Youth" and other affiliated student groups on a number of campuses, including Brigham Young University and Pasadena City College, and spurring student pro-marriage activity at Rice University, the University of Arkansas, arid elsewhere.

INSPIRING and sponsoring a special pro-marriage student educational and training conference titled "Stand for the Family," to be held at Brigham Young University in March 2010.

MERGING with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which serves as a national resource for marriage-related initiatives at the state and local levels. This arrangement allows the Institute to carefully calibrate its nonpolitical cultural work and messaging with NOM's political advocacy efforts so that both organizations achieve maximum influence.

INITIATING the Same Sex Marriage Affects Everyone Lecture Series, a four-part program conducted by Dr. Morse at St. Mark's Catholic Church in San Marcos, California, in August 2008 and made available on the Ruth Institute Web site as a DVD or audio CD set.

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The Ruth Institute's core strategies revolve around its mission of reaching as many college and university students as possible with its pro-marriage, pro-family message. By pursuing these strategies, by the end of 2013 the Institute believes that it will be a strong, healthy, widely known and respected force in the growing marriage movement and the clear organizational leader within that movement with regard to campus-oriented work.

Leverage its work and create force multipliers on campuses across the nation by training individual student leaders and affiliated campus groups to defend and promote traditional marriage and the natural family.

In order to influence the culture, it is necessary to undertake the difficult, long-term work of education. Thus, its primary core strategy is to educate young men and women on campuses across the country on the importance of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman; to train those students to defend and promote that view on their home campuses; and to help them set up campus groups that will provide ongoing institutional bases for the pro-marriage view.

Educate and train academics, clergy, and other faith leaders who work primarily with college students so that they become effective and enthusiastic mediators of the Institute's mission.

. Students today are bombarded on their campuses and in their classrooms by messages that denigrate traditional marriage and the natural family. Thus, in order to increase the effectiveness of the Ruth Institute's education and training it is necessary for students to have access to other sources of encouragement and information on their campuses. The Institute will inspire the development of such sources by working with campus faith leaders and professors so that they become confident and outspoken purveyors of the Institute's message.

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Invest heavily in new-media techniques as a way of dispersing the Institute's training, research, and messaging to all social groups, but especially to young people.

Create and sustain relationships with a broad base of individual and foundation supporters that put the Institute on a sound financial footing for future growth and organizational sustainability.

The Ruth Institute will work diligently to build a donor base that will provide it with diverse and regular revenue streams. The stability and sustainability of the organization-and thus its success in executing its missiondepend entirely on its ability to develop a network of financial supporters that includes small donors, high-dollar individual donors, and foundations. The Institute will implement a development plan that over the next four years will bring about such a result.

It is impossible to work effectively with young people without investing in the media that they use everyday and in the communications techniques that reach their demographic. The Institute is committed to investing its resources in social-networking and other new-media methods of outreach, and to using personnel that know this world intimately.

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'1 Leverage its work and create force multipliers on campuses across the nation by 1 training individual student leaders and affiliated campus groups to defend and promote traditional marriage and the natural family.

," GOAL I: Conduct regularly both national and regional student training conferences.

Related Objective: Increase steadily the numbers of such conferences, with the following goals:

Nat'l Leadership Conf's 1 1 2 2
-_.- .... --- .. ----._--_._-_ .. ---
Regional Conferences 1 2 2 3
-_----_._---_ .. _-_--
Total # Students Attending 185 335 370 520
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" GOAL II: Build nationwide network of "Ruth Youth" and other affiliated campus groups.


Related Objective 1: Create standard set of group-affiliate materials and determine affiliate benefits and parameters by April 2010.

Related Objective 2: Achieve following numbers of affiliated student groups by year:

• • •

GOAL III: Sponsor lectures by members of Ruth Institute speakers bureau at campuses throughout the country.

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Related Objective 1: Increase number of speakers in bureau, with following goals by year:

# Lectures Sponsored

12 360

20 30

650 1,000


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Related Objective 2: Increase number of lectures sponsored, and total number of students attending, year-by-year, with following goals:

Total # Students Attending


• • •

GOAL IV: Launch electronic quarterly student newsletter.

Related Objective: Beginning in first quarter of 2010, send newsletter to following number of students:


Student Circulation

500 1,000 2,000 5,000


Educate and train academics, clergy, and other faith leaders who work primarily with college students so that they become effective and enthusiastic mediators of the Institute's mission.

GOAL I: Hold regular educational and training seminars for clergy and other faith leaders who work with college students.

Related Objective: Increase steadily the number of seminars held, with the following targets:

# Faith-Leader Seminars





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GOAL II: Sponsor Institute staff or fellow speaking engagements to groups composed largely of faith leaders and/or academics.

Related Objective: Increase number of such engagements every year, with following goals:

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GOAL III: Place articles by Institute staff or fellows on marriage and family issues in major, influential academic and religious periodicals.

Related Objective: Achieve following article-placement targets:


# Articles Placed





• • •


GOAL IV: Maintain regular contact with faith organizations, leaders, and academics, continually communicating to them new research findings and pro-marriage arguments.

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Related Objective: Communicate with faith leaders and professors on a quarterly basis, beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, with following goals:

# Faith Leaders and Academics Reached





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Invest heavily in new-media techniques as a way of dispersing the Institute's training, research, and messaging to all social groups, but especially to young people.

GOAL I: Maintain dynamic Institute presence on the Web.

Related Objective 1: Update Institute blog daily by spring 2010.

# Blog Views/Month





Related Objective 2: Increase unique visitors to and page views of Institute Web site, with following goals:

Avg. Unique Visitors/Month 1,000




Related Objective 3: Increase friends of Institute on Facebook and followers on Twitter, with following goals:

Facebook Fans 500 1,000 2,500 5,000
Dr. Morse Facebook Friends 1,500 1,750 2,000 2,250
. "_._---._-_-._------_-_ _- --- .. -----.-----~--
Twitter Followers 2,500 4,000 7,000 11,000
• • • GOAL II: Record and stream online as many of the Institute's lectures, seminars, and educational and training conferences as possible.

Related Objective I: Increase the number of events (lectures, conferences, symposia, etc.) available online at Institute Web site, YouTube, and other locations, as well as the number of online viewers, with following goals:

Events Streamed Online

9 10,800

14 21,000

20 40,000

5 5,000

Total # of Viewers

# Student Contests Held





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Related Objective 2: Create professionally produced webinars out of major educational and training events, with following production goals:

# New Webinars Provided





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GOAL III: Host regular student contests centered on marriage and family issues that are built around, and/or promoted via, new-media techniques, including essay and video contests.

Related Objective: Conduct following numbers of student contests per year:

• • •

GOAL IV: Update the Online Marriage Library on at least a quarterly basis.

Related Objective: Achieve following Online Marriage Library metrics:

# Contributors 5

550 100 10

1,200 175 15

2,000 250 20

Avg. Unique Visitors/Month 250

# Articles 50

Create and sustain relationships with a broad base of individual and foundation supporters that put the Institute on a sound financial footing for future growth and organizational sustainability,

E-newsletter with embedded solicitation (once per month) House-file mail solicitation (four times per year) President's letters, no solicitation (twice per year)

n Christmas card and/or Valentine's Day card, no solicitation Annual report and/or physical newsletter, passive solicitation (twice per year)

" GOAL I: Implement donor and donor prospect outreach on a regular basis with organizational updates, information, or solicitation.

Related Objective: Create outreach calendar for contacting donors and donor prospects at least once per month beginning in January 2010, making use of, but not limited to, the following vehicles:


• • •

GOAL II: Implement a robust and systematic foundation solicitation program.

Related Objective 1: Conduct research that leads to adding more foundations to prospect list on an annual basis, according to following schedule:

# Fdn Prospects Identified





Related Objective 2: Generate following numbers of foundation proposals per year:

# Proposals/Year





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Related Objective 3: Increase total foundation givmg according to following goals:

From Foundations

$190,000 $250,000 $310,000 $380,000

~, GOAL III: Develop larger base of individual donors and increase total individual-donor giving.

Related Objective 1: Achieve following targets for numbers of monthly donors (donors making a recurring monthly gift by automatic deduction), small donors (less than $1,000 per year), and large donors (more than $1,000 per year):

20 # Monthly Donors 25 50 75 100
... --- .. -.- .. -.-.-------.- .. ~---.----- .. -- .. -.- -
~= # Small Donors 1,000 3,000 6,000 9,000
!:.<-- # Major Donors 10 25 50 75
Related Objective 2: Achieve total individual glVlng of following
amounts: From Individuals

$150,000 $175,000 $220,000 $250,000



1. Operations and personnel

GOAL I: Acquire office space in or near San Marcos, California, to serve as base of organizational operations.

Related Objective: Move into office large enough to house projected staff at least through 2013 by January 2011.

• • •

GOAL II: Outfit workstations with all necessary software.

Related Objective: Achieve following targets over time:


# Workstations





• • •


GOAL III: Increase man-hours available to Institute so that it has the staff and contractors necessary to achieve its strategic goals and objectives:

Related Objective 1: Add staff according to following schedule:

)0 i C Office assistant (part-time); student intern (part-time); full-time art director

Hi i I Move office assistant to full time; add half-time marketing director

Program officer (full-time)

Make marketing director full-time position

Related Objective 2: Add twenty additional contractor man-hours per week per year through 2013.

@ GOAL I: Develop the financial capacity to fund the Institute's core strategies.

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2. Finance

Total Revenue

$575,000 $710,000 $900,000 $1,050,000

Related Objective: Achieve following revenue goals:

3. Development

'" GOAL I: Increase amount of revenue generated by weekly e-newsletter.

Related Objective: Achieve following e-newsletter-related targets:



# Subscribers

7,500 $5,000

12,000 $7,500

18,000 $11,750

25,000 $20,000




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GOAL II: Conduct regular programming for donors that incorporates them into the life of the organization and its work.

Related Objective: Implement standard procedure of inviting donors and donor prospects to all appropriate events beginning in January 2010.

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, GOAL IV: Increase support received from online one-time and recurring monthly gifts.

Related Objective: Achieve following total annual targets:

# Subscribers


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12,000 18,000

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$11,000 $18,000

25,000 $27,500

Amount Generated

• • •

GOAL V: Create an annual document or report that communicates the organization's achievements to its members, donors, and supporters.

Related Objective: Publish professionally designed annual report every summer, beginning in 2010.


4. Communications and marketing

" GOAL I: Encourage classroom use of Institute materials among college instructors.

Related Objective: Do special electronic or physical mailing promoting Institute materials to academics on mailing list in March and October of each year, beginning in fall 2010.

• • •

GOAL II: Maintain a small and active book-publishing and distribution program that keeps capital outlays low by taking advantage of digital technologies.

Related Objective: Make books by staff and appropriate others, as well as individual chapters, available at a low cost to students and professors in digital form on Institute Web site, beginning by summer 2010.

• • •

# Conferences Attended





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" GOAL III: Seek to increase brand recognition among, and to build substantial and fruitful relationships with, potentially receptive college students, allied groups, and key gatekeepers.

Related Objective 1: Attend and exhibit at conferences where students, allied groups, and gatekeepers are present in substantial numbers, according to following schedule:

Related Objective 2: Create comprehensive list of allied organizations by spring 2010, ensure that they are on appropriate Ruth Institute mailing lists and that they receive appropriate Institute materials, and update list semiannually.

• • •


'z GOAL IV: Advertise the Institute's programming and contests to target audience of college-aged men and women.

Related Objective: Place targeted ads on Facebook and other socialnetworking sites in order to reach students likely to be interested in Ruth Institute programming, beginning in 2010.

• • •

GOAL V: Seek out print, radio, and TV interviews and appearances for staff and affiliated advisors in order to build nationwide brand recognition for the Institute.

Related Objective: Achieve following print and online media interview targets (excluding Dr. Morse's weekly radio appearance on Lutheran Radio):

# Media Interviews





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GOAL VI: Provide briefings to legislators at federal, state, and local levels on marriage and family issues.

Related Objective 1: Advertise this service on Institute Web site and in appropriate organizational materials, beginning in spring 2010.

# Legislative Briefings





Related Objective 2: Achieve following targets:

• • •

GOAL VII: Conduct regular podcasts on marriage-related topics aimed at the Institute's target audiences.

Related Objective: Achieve following numbers of podcasts and listeners:


# Podcasts/Month 6 6 6 6
-- --_.--.---- .. - .. -- .... _-- • __ o _____ •• __
# Listeners/Month 600 750 1,000 1,500
-.--.--~.-.--.-----.- .. -- .. ,_- -----_ .. _----._- Related Objective 2: Add new members according to following schedule:

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5. Board of advisors .

i< GOAL I: Enhance the Institute's prestige, network of connections, and fundraising by strategically enlarging the board of advisors.

Related Objective 1: Develop list of potential candidates by end of April 2010.

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6. Planning, assessment, and quality control

".! GOAL I: Conduct a semiannual review of the Institute's progress toward achieving the goals and objectives outlined in this plan.

Related Objective: Convene staff meeting in June and December of each year to review numbers and to adjust priorities and projections as necessary.


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