Resource Library

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 […]

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March 15, 2021

The Anatomy of Strategy

Strategy is the right blend of practice and theory. The need for anchoring is never greater than during times of turmoil and unpredictability. For nonprofits, these conditions are becoming the norm. The key to maintaining relevance, impact, and sustainability is knowing the right questions to ask and when to ask them. Ready to get started? […]

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March 10, 2021

It’s Time to Swat the SWOT

In a recent conversation with a nonprofit board of directors, I asked how much they knew about the history of the organization: its founding purpose, its programmatic evolution, and the logic behind the significant decisions it had made along the way. Their responses were mixed, as you would expect. The most unexpected response came in […]

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February 26, 2021

Does Data Inhibit Strategic Thinking?

Data analysis is over-rated in nonprofit strategy development. The mere mention of a SWOT analysis makes me cringe. It’s not that I object to the idea behind it (which, in simple terms, is to make sure you know what is going on around you). The cringe is the result of my personal experience wading through […]

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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 […]

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December 09, 2020

Turnaround Strategy: Reclaiming Your Place

Those of us of a certain age remember the advice from a famous beer commercial to “know when to say when.” As anyone who has ever tried to do so can attest, the problem is that it is difficult to recognize when you have reached the point when it is time to say when. Instead, […]

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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 […]

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November 12, 2020

Growth Strategy: Adapting to Life on the Ground

Nonprofit organizations are built on aspirations. An individual or group of people decide to make the world a better place by targeting a specific need, gap, or opportunity in the community in which they live. With little more than a founding purpose and some startup funding, the organization begins what is, in a very real […]

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October 28, 2020

Crisis Decision-Making: Could We? Should We?

If you have read any of my writing over the past ten years or so, there is a good chance you have heard me invoke these wise words from Michael Porter: the essence of strategy is deciding what not to do. Nonprofits have plenty of reasons to take on and maintain a program. Among the […]

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October 13, 2020

Crisis Governance: the Ten Basic Responsibilities

The Ten Basic Responsibilities of Nonprofit Boards created by BoardSource is considered the gold standard in benchmarking board performance. The responsibilities are clear, concrete, and specific. Whether your organization is a startup or has achieved organizational maturity, the ten responsibilities provide a starting point for setting board expectations and for assessing the quality of your […]

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