As an opening premise to strategic thinking, I contend that the foundation for nonprofit strategy is an organization’s theory of change. A theory of change describes how your nonprofit organization connects its activities to create a pathway towards the goals and outcomes associated with your organizational mission. In some cases, your organization’s theory of change may be quite simple and in other cases your theory can be quite complex. The classic illustration of a theory of change is the story of the village on the river…
Increasingly, it is important for nonprofits to this about the systems that they work in. In that thinking, it is important to consider Social Ecology as a nonprofit model for change.
Facilitating meaningful differences between Vision and Mission is a critical dimension of a systemic and strategic planning process. Mission, supported by strategic programming moves an organization towards their true vision and, in the end, such movement is the core of a strong facilitation process.
Effective nonprofit organizations of the future are those who are clear about their purpose and their social impact and can draw the picture to illustrate the connection. As a result, facilitators need to be skilled in the process and visualization required to help organizations create a social impact model.