April 24, 2024

Break Free From The Tactic Trap: How CEOs Get Out

Heroism in Nonprofits

Heroes in the nonprofit sector embody dedication, steering their organizations toward future success with limited resources. Unlike traditional action heroes, their bravery lies in leadership, fundraising, and inspiring both staff and volunteers toward a shared vision.

The Tactic Trap

Nonprofit leaders often face the “tactic trap,” a temptation to opt for quick fixes over solid strategies. This approach, while appealing due to its immediacy, risks long-term effectiveness for temporary solutions.

  • Tactics may provide short-term relief but lack sustenance.
  • Pressure from board members, staff and funders for new activities can divert from core missions.

The Pause Before Tactic Approach

  1. Evaluate tactics to ensure they align with your organization’s goals. If not, avoid or minimize them.
  2. When necessary, engage in impact mapping to integrate new tactics effectively.

Sun Tzu emphasizes the importance of strategy alongside tactics for triumph. By prioritizing planning and alignment, nonprofit leaders can navigate their organizations toward victory, avoiding the pitfalls of short-sighted actions.

Pause Before Tactic Approach Tools

1. A chart that compares tactics to strategies

2. Questions to evaluate your current activities to determine if you’ve got tactics or an impact going on

Finally, I would be remiss not to invite you to reach out to me to chat about your needs for impact plans, whether they’re small, medium, or large or in-between. 

Don’t let tactic traps trap you.

Put on your hero’s cape and guide your folks around them for long-term impact. 

When you’re ready here’s how to set up a time to chat.

Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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