Think Tank Start Up Training in Vilnius, 2016

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Think Tank Start Up Training

June 20-22, 2016, Vilnius Lithuania 

What was this Training about?

• How to create a business plan for your think tank?
• How to design a plan for successful campaign?
• How to draft a long-term fundraising strategy for your think tank?


LehmanJoseph G. Lehman is president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute in Michigan. The Mackinac Center is the largest of more than 50 affiliated think tanks that focus primarily on state economic policy.

Lehman is a leader among state-based public policy experts. In 2013 the State Policy Network recognized him with its Roe Award for leadership, innovation and accomplishments in public policy. He has trained more than 600 think tank executives from 47 states and 47 countries in strategic planning, communications and fundraising.
Lehman first joined the Mackinac Center in 1995. He later became vice president for communications at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., before returning to the Mackinac Center as its executive vice president. He became president in 2008.
Lehman’s commentary on public policy has been carried by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, National Journal, National Review, Investor’s Business Daily, Wired magazine, and nearly every daily Michigan newspaper.

He is a director of the National Taxpayers Union and the education reform organizations Legislative Education Action Drive Foundation and Parents in Charge. He is an advisory board member of the Niskanen Center, a Washington, D.C. think tank, and the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

Matthew SinclairMatthew Sinclair,
Senior Consultant at Europe Economics, having joined in January 2014.

Before joining Europe Economics Matthew worked at the Tax Payers’ Alliance (TPA) in a number of roles, including most recently Chief Executive. His responsibilities included being lead editor of the 2020 Tax Commission; a major joint project on tax policy with the Institute of Directors; authoring two books; ‘How to Cut Public Spending’ and ‘Let Them Eat Carbon’; and representing the TPA in the national and international media and parliamentary hearings.

edEdita Maslauskaitė, Lithuanian Free Market Institute.

Edita joined LFMI in 1999. Since May 2006 appointed vice president to head LFMI’s fundraising and administration. Edita has extensive experience in strategic planning, maintaining the strategy and evaluating the performance of the think tank.

Edita develops and maintains contacts with LFMI‘s supporters and the business community. Since 2009, Edita runs the program European Academy for Intellectual Entrepreneurs jointly organized by LFMI and the Atlas Leadership Academy.

Zilvinas Silenas, Lithuanian Free Market Institutezil

Zilvinas joined the Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI) in 2006 after graduating from Wesleyan University, USA. In 2011 appointed President. Involved in legislation through participation in work-groups, “Sunrise” and “Sunset” commissions. Zilvinas has worked as teacher of economics, adviser to CEO of Energy Company and elected official of local government. While in LFMI Zilvinas was an instructor in 6 Think Tanks start-up trainings and multiple other workshops.

aneta ttAneta Vaine, Lithuanian Free Market Institute

Aneta is a director of development and programs. She works with international organizations, funds, and partners.

Since 2009 Aneta worked at International School of Law and Business (Vilnius) as a head of International Relations and Project Management Centre. From 1994 till 2004 Aneta worked at LFMI and over time had various responsibilities – was responsible for project management, public relations, and policy analysis.


Day 1, Monday, June 20

9:00 – 09:45 Introduction Session / Žilvinas Šilėnas, Lithuanian Free Market Institute (LFMI)
09:30–13:00 Strategic Planning I
09:30-10:30 Workshop: Think Tank as a Business Plan
10:30-10:50 Break
10:50-11:20 Forming Goals and KPI’s / Joseph Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy, USA
11:20-13:00 Workshop: Forming Goals and KPI’s
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00–18:00 Strategic Planning II
14:00-14:30 Identifying allies and building coalitions / Joseph Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
14:30-15:30 Workshop: Identifying allies and building coalitions
15:30-15:50 Break
15:50-16:20 Recruitment: how to get the skills that you need / Joseph Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
16:20-17:30 Workshop: Appraisal of the Resources
17:30-17:45 Reflection Session, Q&A

Day 2, Tuesday, June 21

9:00 – 12:00 Fundraising I
 9:30 – 10:30 Faith, fundraising and techniques / Joseph Lehman, Mackinac Center for Public Policy
10:30 -11:30 Approaching Big Money / Joseph Lehman
11:30 – 11:50 Break
11:50 – 13:00 Workshop: why should anyone invest in you / Joseph Lehman & Edita Maslauskaitė
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00 – 15:50 Fundraising II
14:00 –  14:30 Approaching Foundations / Aneta Vainė
14:30 – 15:00 Successful Fundraising Strategies / Edita Maslauskaitė
15:00 – 15:30 Q&A
15:30 – 15:50 Break
15:50 – 17:30 Workshop: Selling to sponsors / Joseph Lehman & Edita Maslauskaitė & Aneta Vaine
17:30-17:45 Reflection Session, Q&A

Day 3, Wednesday, June 22

9:00 – 13:00 Communication
 9:00 – 9:30 Crafting Strategy for Communication / Matthew Sinclair, Europe Economics, UK
 9:30 – 10:40 Workshop: Planning the Communication
10:40 – 11:00 Break
11:00 – 11:30 Public Speaking / Matthew Sinclair, Europe Economics
11:30 – 13:00 Workshop: Creating Sound Bites / Matthew Sinclair & Žilvinas Šilėnas
13:00 – 13:30 Evaluation of the training
13:30 – 15:00 Lunch