In defense of strategic planning

It seems to be all the rage in nonprofit circles to say that strategic planning is dead. Outdated. Worthless. This sentiment was growing long before COVID rocked our world. While some aren’t willing to claim strategic planning is dead, we’ve been hearing that strategic planning isn’t right in these uncertain times. To that I say: …

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Who Took the Farmer’s Hat and how reflective dialogue can be good for your board

Tuesday night (this post is republished from May 2017),  I started the board retreat with a reflective dialogue based on reading the children’s classic Who Took the Farmer’s Hat? I sent the book around the room, with a different board member reading each page. The reading took about five minutes. Then I asked this question: …

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Feeling blue? Chin up, get to work, there’s lots of thinking and planning to

Yes, the election left me gobsmacked. But this is no time to act like a deer in the headlights. Hundreds in my community and across the US are already thinking and planning to prepare to act strategically. You don’t have to be for or against the incoming administration to recognize that a lot is going …

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Strategic planning – it’s only as good as the thinking

Jon and I facilitate a lot of strategic planning. In this work, we constantly challenge organizations to think deeply. To do that, staff and board members need to start their planning with a true sense of inquiry. So we encourage lots of questions: What do you already know about your challenges, opportunities and needs? What …

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Five Questions for strategic thinkers

“You’re a strategic planning consultant? You must use Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions a lot.” Sinking feeling. As I stood by the grill with a beer in my hand at a recent summer party, I couldn’t come up with even one of his apparently essential strategic questions I mentioned some of the business thinkers we often …

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Stress test your strategic plan

I was moving to wrap up a strategic plan today with a client, when a board member asked this question: If we “stress test” this strategic plan – borrowing the idea from banking, how would recent decisions our organization made align with this plan?” Stress testing is a simulation used to test how banks will fare …

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Five must-have’s for strategic planning to matter

Yes, way too many strategic plans for nonprofits gather dust on shelves. So here are five must-have’s to prevent yours from doing the same: A compelling vision of change. First and foremost, of how the world, your community will be different. The way. While setting an inspirational and meaningful goal is critical, without articulating your …

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Five must-have’s for strategic planning to matter

Yes, way too many strategic plans for nonprofits gather dust on shelves. So here are five must-have’s to prevent yours from doing the same: A compelling vision of change. First and foremost, of how the world, your community will be different. The way. While setting an inspirational and meaningful goal is critical, without articulating your …

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A grant seeker’s wish list

I prepared this grant seeker’s wish list for a foundation that had recently spun off from its corporate parent. What is it that nonprofits want or need from grant makers? At the very top, I put:  # 1: Flexible, unrestricted operating funds. According to the most recent data from The Foundation Center, only 23% of …

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A grant seeker’s wish list

I prepared this grant seeker’s wish list for a foundation that had recently spun off from its corporate parent. What is it that nonprofits want or need from grant makers? At the very top, I put:  # 1: Flexible, unrestricted operating funds. According to the most recent data from The Foundation Center, only 23% of …

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