Resource Library

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

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.

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

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.

More

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 […]

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

June 02, 2021

Strategy Execution: It Starts with Good Plumbing

Imagine yourself walking into the kitchen of a new home and turning on the faucet, and nothing happens. You then go to the bathroom and it’s the same. Beautiful fixtures but no water. When you ask about the problem, you are told that to cut costs, the homebuilder did not include the plumbing. Consequently, you […]

More

May 12, 2021

Words of Praise for My Latest Book, Nonprofit Strategy: A Phased-Based Approach to Impact, Relevance, and Sustainability

From the Foreword, provided by Susan Kenny Stevens: Mike Stone’s book, and its practical, nuanced approach, arrives on the scene just as nonprofits face one of the most challenging times in recent history.  Navigating the future, near- and longer-term, is what this book is about. For his lifecycle framework, Stone uses my book Nonprofit Lifecycles, […]

More

April 27, 2021

Is Strategy Baked into Your Cake?

First things first: planning is easy; strategic thinking is demanding; both are important. And I love cake. Planning is a rational process whereby we attempt to exercise some degree of control over our world by establishing goals, objectives, and timelines to guide our work. Planning is episodic and finite, a bit like following a recipe […]

More