Resource Library

November 14, 2022

A Better Mousetrap? How About Better Strategy!

Build a better mousetrap, the saying goes, and the world will beat a path to your door. Perhaps, if what the world needs is to catch mice. But the best mousetrap in the world is of no value if what the world needs is a better way to trap bears. We have a mousetrap problem […]

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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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November 29, 2022

“You Are Here…For Now”: The Changing Focus of Nonprofit Strategy

Michael E. Stone, Ph.D., Stone Consulting (This article is based on the author’s latest book, “Nonprofit Strategy: A Phase-Based Approach to Relevance, Impact, and Sustainability”). There is one lesson about nonprofit strategy that stands above all others: there is no there. That is, there is not a point at which a nonprofit can say, “we […]

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September 09, 2022

Commitment: The Magic Sauce in Conflict Resolution

Every parent knows that what can happen when you send young children to their room to “work it out.” If they feel that the conflict prevents them from getting something they really want, they are likely to work toward a resolution (e.g., “we’re not going unless you can agree on a movie”). However, if they […]

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July 13, 2022

Are We as SMART as We Think We Are?

Who doesn’t like a pithy mnemonic to help remember important concepts? The kiss principle reminds us that simple is always better than complicated, while the fictitious Roy G. Biv helps us remember the colors of the light spectrum. One enduring mnemonic in my domain as a nonprofit strategist is the SMART goal. Although there is […]

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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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