Strategic Action Plan

Women’s Debate Institute

Strategic Action Plan


WDI’s mission is to advocate for and facilitate a more gender-inclusive environment that advances educational and professional opportunities for marginalized gender identities.


We support self-empowerment of the participants in our organization by providing a community that cultivates the skills to be successful debaters, effective advocates, exceptional public speakers, and educated professionals with the ability to transform our world.

Competitive Distinction

WDI empowers participants in our organization to learn advocacy skills through the transformative power of debate. By providing safe spaces, mentoring, free tuition, mobile resources and a supportive network, we seek to reverse the attrition of individuals with marginalized gender identities in the high school and college debate communities and to spread norms and values of intellectual integrity, kindness, compassion, and respect. Our efforts do more than contribute to a more diverse debate community; they provide a much-needed pathway for greater gender inclusion in all professions that rely on strong advocacy, public speaking, and analytical skills.


#1: Integrate diversity across all levels of the organization to ensure that decision-making and programming includes diverse perspectives and identities.

Key approaches
  • Recruit, retain, mentor, and promote individuals with diverse identities.
  • Examine and reform organizational materials and programming to be more inclusive and to be consistent with our values.
  • Solicit feedback on potential barriers to achieving greater diversity within our organization.
  • Improve the accessibility of WDI by expanding programming to a broader range of environments.

#2 Diversify and expand revenue stream to ensure financial stability, sustainability, and operational flexibility

Key approaches
  • Develop impactful materials tailored to a variety of fundraising campaigns.
  • Apply for and secure more grants.
  • Identify potential major donors.
  • Establish revenue-generation services.

#3: Improve curriculum to better serve our participants and support our outcomes.

Key approaches
  • Formalize program philosophy, structure and operations.
  • Revise curriculum to integrate civic engagement, gender awareness, and inclusion.
  • Establish and systematize program evaluation measures.

#4: Implement new programming to expand our organization’s impact and reach

Key approaches
  • Effectively use technology to expand and create virtual spaces for students and coaches to facilitate education and community.
  • Create a Mobile WDI to expand the geographical reach of the organization.
  • Develop and provide training programs and tools for harm reduction relating to issues of gender-based harassment and safety.

#5: Increase effectiveness of the organization through improved board governance and transparency.

Key approaches
  • Tailor committee structure to strategic priorities.
  • Develop a transition plan to ensure long-term sustainability.
  • Monitor and evaluate progress on strategic priorities.
  • Construct user-friendly website with refined content and deliberate messaging.
  • Effectively use social media to direct community members to website.
  • Develop a communications strategy.