Is your non-profit wasting resources because you don’t know where to start?

You have ideas on how to make your work better and make your non-profit more efficient and a better steward of resources, but technology isn’t your strong suit and you just don’t know where to start. How do you begin to know what you’ll need to move forward on a project, let alone get the funding and support you’ll need to make your ideas a reality?

The Texas Historical Commission did it

The Texas Heritage Commission was in a similar situation. They had an idea that would help their Mainstreet program attract investment, and give them the information they needed to make a real difference to Texas’s historic downtowns, but they had no idea where to start and, without a concrete plan in their minds, nothing to use to get funding for the project. As a result, the idea was never acted on and the THC continued to struggle to get the attention and help these beautiful downtowns deserved.

In searching for a solution, the THC ran across RuskinARC, our online inventory system for historic properties. While talking about using RuskinARC for their project, we could tell is wasn’t going to meet the goals they were shooting for, so we proposed starting from the beginning and laying out exactly what they needed to make their idea a reality with our Blueprint Process. We flew to Austin and had a day long meeting with them to talk about what they needed, what would be most valuable to them and how, exactly, they could make that happen.

Within two weeks, they had a concrete and fully fleshed out plan in their hands including a description of exactly what was being solved and what the solution was, a project road map, a full development plan with estimates for each step of the development process, a user interface mockup that showed how the application could look, and a range of estimates for what the development of the application would cost.

After we concluded our Blueprint Process, the THC saw some pretty big changes.

[T]he planning workshop helped us define the goals, better describe the user features and functions and be able to say, yes, this is doable and here is how it can be implemented.

First, the THC was able to clearly see what they were looking at. There were many parts that they hadn’t been clear on before, but now they had it in black and white. Explaining what they wanted to do to their leadership was as easy as pulling out the report and showing them.

We have used the user stories and phasing extensively in communicating with our pilot cities and every element in it was necessary to draft an RFP.

The second was that the THC was able to use our materials to get funding for the project. Using language directly from our report­–which we highly encourage all our clients to do–they were able to effectively communicate what they wanted to do, and how it was going to help, to funders and leadership alike. Not only were they able to describe how the project would help them, they were able to show that it was doable along with a project plan to show how it would be done. As we all know, people who fund the projects love concrete details and that’s exactly what the THC finally had.

[The Blueprint Session Report] included all the needed content and was written in way that we could easily extract language from to use in other communications and requests.

This worked so well for the THC that we’re making this service available to other non-profit and NGO groups.

How we work

By sitting down with you and your team in our Blueprint meeting and piece apart exactly what it is you’re trying to accomplish, we can tell you exactly how to do it. From our Blueprint meeting, and in cooperation with you, we develop a detailed project plan, timeline estimate, screen mock up and a rough cost estimate to develop the application. We give you something concrete to contact potential funders, share with leadership, and ultimately get the funding you need to make your application a reality. In fact, clients have used the exact language in our report to secure the funding and craft the RFP for their projects.

I can state confidently, that without the planning session and final report, we would have not been able approach funders, gain support from leadership and secure the needed funding as quickly as we were able to do.

We are CRE Planning and Development

We’ve been doing this for over 20 years, so we know how to plan and build web applications. Not only that, we also have experience in the historic preservation non-profit community. We used to run Kentucky Preservation which did survey work for a number of districts around the country. We’re steeped in this community. We even built RuskinARC, one of the only historic preservation software platforms.

Take a look at a couple of our projects below, then talk to us about needs in your community.


RuskinARC is a cloud-based platform for collecting, searching, evaluating, mapping, and managing information about historic resources, districts, landmarks, and other community assets.

Professionals use it to conduct historic architecture surveys, including the automated production of printed survey forms. Community leaders use the same data to promote and manage their historic properties.

With nothing to download or install, this is the word’s simplest and most powerful tool for building a full-featured database of historic resources complete with live maps, database generation, and reporting.

More information is available at

DowntownTX is an online building inventory, survey, and management platform for Texas business districts featuring historic property listings and architectural data.

The application’s purpose is to attract entrepreneurs and investors who value historic architecture and who are looking to buy, rent, or lease.

The app is both a centralized internal data management platform, and a public matchmaking tool for buildings. This makes it easier for people to find, invest in and enhance historic buildings and places. 

Find out more at

Talk to us

If you’d like to talk about your project or application needs, please send an email to, or call ‪(859) 955-0885.