Resource Library

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. […]

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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 – […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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September 02, 2021

Nonprofit Program Strategy Zones

Nonprofit strategic positioning is all about balancing the dual interests of mission impact and financial responsibility. Let’s get started: Download this graphic Want a print-friendly version of this graphic? Simply click here to view and download this infographic in a pdf format.

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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 […]

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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 […]

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July 28, 2021

Strategy Through the Lifecycle Stages

The information below can help your nonprofit focus its discussions by identifying your current phase of strategy development. Let’s dive-in: Download this graphic Want a print-friendly version of this graphic? Simply click here to view and download this infographic in a pdf format.

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July 20, 2021

Strategy as Governance

“Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand.” Typically, board training focuses on the first two parts of this ancient wisdom. We tell board members what they should do, which they are likely to forget. Or we teach them best practices that they are likely […]

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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 […]

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