DiffStrat Companies has evolved since it was founded in 1992 as Differentiation Strategies, Incorporated. As a family owned company, it has served many different markets and geographies leveraging a research-based instructional design methodology. At inception the company was small, just a few people working together to develop new strategies for for-profit corporations within a 200-mile radius of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Over the next ten years, this service primarily focused on sales training and grew to serve Fortune 500 companies such as John Deere, Bandag, Rockwell Collins, Maytag, Potlatch, Pella Corporation, and many others. In 1999 and through the early 2000’s, a new “firm-within-a-firm” was conceived to serve the non-profit academic university market. This part of the organization was branded Advancement Resources and was tasked to develop a curriculum for new fundraisers in academia. A sister brand was also established for video-based communications and events and named Mindseye Project Partners.
By 2006, these two new brands were so established that they dwarfed the original services for the for-profit clients of Differentiation Strategies and the original business was effectively shuttered. As Advancement Resources grew, the market for development professional training and support expanded from the Midwest to encompass all of North America. Similarly, the client mix expanded from the original focus on universities and large colleges to academic medical centers. In 2010, the company expanded to serve children’s hospitals, community hospitals, and larger health systems, adding courses for nurses and other healthcare providers while also expanding the offerings to include blended learning packages with video, e-Learning, and communication support. Community-based non-profits began to look for professional training and, in 2014, we expanded once again through a partnership with United Way Worldwide to focus on the broader non-profit sector.
Throughout the past decade, our company has looked for opportunities to provide a professional grade education in philanthropy and donor-focused video tools to a broad range of organizations and is now established in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, as well as the United States. During this time, it became apparent that to make this end goal most successful, we would need to offer complementary services to assure that the training was effectively implemented by the organizations we served. In 2017, we established a new service line, the Strategic Partnership Group, to work with organizations to be prepared for the changes resulting from Advancement Resources training efforts and effective communication and events.