July 8, 2019

Your Nonprofit Strategy: How to Cook Up a Success

It’s summer, so you fire up your barbecue. Whether you cook steak, chicken, or tofu, it’s a thin line between raw, outstanding, and charred. Likewise, when you plan your strategy, work requires experience and know-how to cook up success.
By success, I mean clarity, consensus, and enthusiasm about your future. You also seek the peace of mind you gain when your organization starts moving forward on its goals like never before or creates a surplus. New clients tell me they’re frustrated and bored with their existing strategy development process. Often you and your boards get served the same old, same old methods, such as SWOT.
Know-how is about how to gather information.  It’s also about how to help a group make decisions and provide them a roadmap that uses their time well and challenges them to do the hard work of thinking strategically.

The results?

  • Generic strategies include “Let’s grow our donors, customers, and social media.”
  • Massive, wishful, and under-resourced assignments, such as, “We’ll add another event to triple our revenue.”
  • You don’t use the strategy; instead, you hide it.
  • When you complete everything recommended, the needle remains stuck.
You hesitate to go through the strategy-building process again to arrive in the same place. The truth is that effective strategy creation takes more than just going on a retreat. Big picture, your efforts launch you toward your vision and saves time.
Imagine your strategy’s not just in writing.  Instead, it’s in the hearts and heads of your board, staff, and supporters. Everyone’s buzzing about your nonprofit. You don’t feel like Sisyphus pushing the ball up the eternal hill anymore. You are too busy sprinting to keep up with your supporters.

What makes this difference?

Strategy facilitation that:

1. Taps your vision, so you remember your dreams and dream new ones.
2. Opens a big umbrella to provide room for everyone to give input
3. Help you to make decisions based on objectives, alternatives, and risks

How will you know you succeeded?

Your core brilliance shines brighter than last year. You can’t wait to get started. You sing in the shower on Monday mornings and nod with satisfaction on Friday afternoons.

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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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