Organizational & Sustainability Planning

I work with nonprofit CEOs, their boards, and senior management teams to help them define the future of their nonprofit through organizational planning. I have a broad collection of tools to draw on depending on the organization’s circumstances, the dynamics of its situation, its planning history, and the level of uncertainty in its future environment. Every organization faces a unique set of business questions and challenges that should shape the approach to planning rather than resorting to cookie-cutter templates.

Sometimes these planning projects are driven by an upcoming leadership succession. In other cases, organizational sustainability is at the forefront. Others need to navigate a dynamic and uncertain future in their marketplace or service arena. But most of the time it’s in the context of charting a new direction for the organization and helping leaders shape its future.

Here’s how I help:

  • Organizational Sustainability Planning– I work with nonprofit CEOs, their boards, and executive teams to create more sustainable futures for their nonprofit. Too often, leaders see sustainability as solely a financial issue or fundraising problem, when in reality it hinges on building strengths across the organization. My approach focuses on helping leaders assess and strengthen six core elements that underpin organizational sustainability (strategy, business model, board/board leadership, executive leadership, resources, and culture/operating climate).
  • Scenario Planning – I help nonprofit leadership teams who are facing highly dynamic or uncertain futures to get their arms around their situation. The focal point is a scenario planning session that looks at how key trends and issues might turn into drivers of their future and how those drivers intersect under different circumstances. Leading up to the session, I help the planning team conduct a trends and issues landscape assessment, identify the most relevant factors driving the organization’s future and determine the current state of knowledge—the level of certainty and agreement about those factors. Since one of my goals is to leave the team smarter and more aligned as a result of the planning work, I prefer to help the team to conduct the research themselves rather than doing it for them. Depending on the organization’s situation, this might involve helping them perform a competitive analysis, carry out interviews with state and national thought leaders, research potential disruptive trends in their field, or other information gathering that would build their knowledge base and their ability to think strategically about the organization’s future.
  • Strategy Development & Strategic Planning – I help nonprofit leadership teams define or redefine their organization’s business strategy and help them build that strategy into a strategic plan. The first focal point of these projects is the development of a crisp strategy statement that positions the organization in the current and future market. Preparation leading up to strategy development can be as varied as the organization’s circumstances. For some, it may involve significant competitive analysis. For others, it might involve assessing the feasibility of new services or reaching new sets of clients. The follow-up to the strategy development work typically involves fleshing out the strategy into a plan document. Depending on the organization’s circumstances, that might be a multi-year set of strategic imperatives and supporting action plans. For others, it might be a rolling process of annually revisiting and updating the strategic goals and developing an operational or implementation plan.

I’ve worked with a broad range of organizations, from start-ups to well-established nonprofits. Clients have included local, regional, national, and international organizations. They’ve come from a wide variety of fields, such as international development, behavioral health, universities, faith-based organizations, youth development agencies, environmental groups, mentoring organizations, and a host of other mission areas.

I bring a broad range of experience, tools, and approaches to each project. My experience is gleaned from working with well over 100 organizations and has produced tools and methods gathered through my ongoing commitment to search out the best, most effective practices, and continually rethink and refresh my toolkit.

If you are a nonprofit CEO or a board leader of a nonprofit that’s ready to make real change and see real progress, please call (240) 813-4681 or send me an email. Let’s explore how I can help you bend the future in your direction.