Articles

Featured

February 20, 2022

Let’s Get Philosophical…About Strategy

If the title of this article took you back to Olivia Newton John getting physical in her leggings and head band…well, that is on you. What I am offering is something a little deeper for you to consider. To paraphrase the philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard, life must be lived forward but can only be understood backwards. […]

More

January 28, 2022

What are Board Meetings For?

I have led board meetings as a chair. I have participated in board meetings as a member. And I have observed board meetings as a consultant. And it is, as they say, a mixed bag of nuts. Nonprofit boards, often at the urging of consultants, will address board development through structure: Is our board the […]

More

January 11, 2022

Stating the Obvious is Not Strategic

Recently, I read a strategic plan from a nonprofit that was built around the following four strategic imperatives: Increase awareness of your organization through a comprehensive marketing plan. Ensure fiscal sustainability by diversifying revenue sources. Strengthen community and partner relationships. Enhance impact by expanding the range of services offered. My question to the nonprofit – […]

More

September 08, 2021

Strategy and the “Rule of Three”

The rule of three may be the most prevalent phenomenon that you didn’t even know was a thing. Basically, things that come in threes are believed to be funnier, more memorable, and more satisfying than any other number. Marketers employ the rule regularly as do comic writers (the next time you a watch a sitcom, […]

More

August 26, 2021

When is it Time for A New Strategic Plan?

Imagine this exchange between a nonprofit CEO and a strategy consultant: CEO: “We need a strategic plan.” Consultant: “Why do you need one now?” CEO: “Because our current one expires at the end of the year.” Let’s unpack this. First, strategy does not come with an expiration date. Nor is progress toward a strategic vision […]

More

August 11, 2021

“Don’t Just Do Something…”

There is a conundrum of sorts surrounding strategic planning; First, nonprofits need to be strategic. Second, organizational planning is important. And yet, strategic planning is ineffective for many nonprofits. Why is this so? I argue that it is because most strategic plans lack a mechanism for categorizing and sorting the various activities that will move […]

More

June 21, 2021

The Roots of Strategic Frustration

It is difficult to write this introductory paragraph without repeating hackneyed phrases about strategic plans sitting on various shelves around the country gathering dust…while consultants continue to cash checks. If there is any topic around which nonprofits can reach consensus, it is the futility of strategic planning. The prevailing sentiment is that the idea of […]

More

March 18, 2021

Is Your Nonprofit Anchored?

We have all seen the inflatable air dancers flailing about in front of car dealerships. These creatures are a fitting metaphor for the experience of the nonprofit organization. Both must remain nimble, as they are continually responding to the changing external conditions. More important, neither can control or predict the inevitable shifts in the direction […]

More

February 04, 2021

Why Your Mission Should Not Drive Your Strategy

Too often, nonprofits call upon the mission statement to play a role it is not equipped to fulfill: strategy driver. On the one hand, if a program does not line up with the mission, it should be rejected. On the other hand, having a program that seems to “fit the mission” is not, on its […]

More

December 01, 2020

Mature Stage Strategy: Affirming the Core

Have you ever known a couple who renewed their wedding vows after many years of marriage? It is a beautiful thing. Why do they do it? What is the value of repeating a promise in the midst of living out that promise? Is it a sign of a troubled marriage? Does it mean that doubt […]

More

Need Additional Assistance?

If you are interested in going deeper into your nonprofit strategy or if you wish to review your organizational strategy more broadly, click the link below to schedule a 30-minute phone or zoom consultation with Mike Stone.

Schedule a Consultation
Mail icon

Sign up to stay connected