By Todd Ballowe
Strategic Planning Success Story: Washoe County

Washoe County is charged with meeting the needs of the 410,000 residents of Reno, Sparks, and Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village. The county hired OnStrategy for the facilitation of a series of public community input forums, coordination and follow-up work after each meeting, task force management and coordination, and overall project management of the strategic planning process.

I sincerely appreciate the work you have done to move Washoe County forward. As this State grows we must be prepared to meet every challenge. With professionals like (OnStrategy) the job is made much easier.

~Sheriff Michael Haley,
Washoe County Sheriff’s Office

Service: Facilitation and Assessment

The Solution: Due to Washoe County’s population and geographic size, OnStrategy focused on harnessing the power of existing community events and established communication channels to engage in the external stakeholder outreach. An effective campaign was coordinated with the county for community participation online for the survey work, and interaction during the County’s annual celebration “Washoe Days” further stimulated the survey input, as well as interaction at a creative level. To best round out the feedback, we facilitated several forums at different locations to collect opinions. Finally, all findings were reported in sessions with department leaders and county executives for maximum retention of the data for strategic reference.

We are doing a wonderful job thanks to your (OnStrategy’s) good work and helping us with our strategic plan. You helped us with that foundation and we just wanted to take a moment to thank you because it really, really paid off.

~Tami Cummings,
Community Relations, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, NV


  • Development of an online survey to collect input from citizens of Washoe County.
  • Community forum facilitations to collect opinions well representative of the population.
  • Interactive citizen involvement.
  • A comprehensive report of all activities for public viewing.
  • Development of a medium in which community input could be ongoing.


The assessments, facilitations and outreach events provided a clear direction for the County’s comprehensive update of their Strategic Plan. In total, the community outreach events were conducted at functions collectively attracting over 3,000 people. The voice of internal and external stakeholders was widely represented, and gave great input on the strategic direction for the county. For access to the web portal designed to continue gathering community input, go to