Forward thinking nonprofits are engaged in ongoing planning and the larger and more complex the nonprofit is, those conversations must include frank conversations about restructuring, breaking up and focusing on the organization’s core competencies.
For a nonprofit approaching a crisis, it is important to assess your situation and have a disaster planning conversation.
As a nonprofit leader your need to stress test of your current strategic plan.
Your nonprofit strategy needs to be grounded in knowing your core competencies because they are essential to the DNA of your organization.
But ultimately, if nonprofit leaders and their board of directors fail to embrace their role in thinking and acting strategically, the organizations they represent will continue to be fixated on managing rather than solving community needs.
While I doubt that I would give nonprofit collaboration the highest marks possible, as a whole, the nonprofit leaders I know rise above the mediocrity that the capacity survey authors suggest is “universal.” Let’s stop promoting the mythology of mediocre nonprofits. Rather than haranguing on nonprofit deficits, I would like to suggest four investments related to collaboration that nonprofits can make in order to build even more effective at collaboration.
The bottom line is that the most effective nonprofits I know, do not hesitate to invest in planning and thinking strategically. Conversely, those nonprofits with an uncertain future choose to focus on the immediate rather than the long view. The future is coming and inaction is not an option. It is up to the leadership of nonprofits to Shape, Adapt, or Reserve. The choice is yours.
Taken together, when a nonprofit organization thoughtfully engages in the development of strategies focused on values, competencies, impact, leverage and sustainability, I have confidence that the adjectives of new and better will follow. However, starting with new and better may not necessarily lead to the stronger foundations of an organization. So when it comes to developing nonprofit strategy, nouns are indeed more useful than verbs.
Relational philanthropy is gaining momentum and, while it may not be the norm (yet), we need to start adopting a philosophy that is aligned with erasing the power differential between philanthropy and nonprofit organizations.
The changes in the nonprofit funding landscape continues to shift from “what was” to “what will be” and those nonprofits with the mindset and supporting planning discipline will be best able to capitalize on the changing trends. For development professionals, especially those flying solo or who are part of a small shop, the stakes of thinking and planning are even higher. Planning can’t be squeezed in between prospect calls, and the annual fund letter but needs to be an intentional part of your nonprofit’s DNA.