No magic needed. Vision can be bold.

Strategy is creative. Yes, it has to do with getting from Point A to Point B. How about if your Point B was about a big vision? Instead of getting lost in current problems, think instead about what could be. Think positively. Dream expansively. Why can't best practices be about your organization? Instead of following, take the lead. John Haydon tweeted about this great video from Hildy Gottlieb. She asks the question: What does it take to create a healthy, vibrant world? Gottlieb … [Read more...]

Where’s the Info to Compare? Compensation

Compensation for Executive Directors is another area where finding data can be illusive.  You can find national studies by doing Google searches. My experience is that this data may not reflect the most recent trends or gives information about cities like New York. Or, the data is so general that if your nonprofit is rural, the information may be current but doesn't  reflect the lower salaries of your area. The Alliance for Nonprofits has a recent compensation study on their site. It covers … [Read more...]

Where’s the Info to Compare? Regional Studies

  Where do you find the information to build benchmarks?  Often it is hard for smaller nonprofits to find regional surveys. It may be even harder to find data on your particular type of mission (food pantry, homeless shelter, etc.) Many studies are out there for social media or large organizations. Working primarily in the Southeast, I was very excited to find an excellent regional study by the Alliance for Nonprofit Excellence. The Alliance published an in-depth study of how … [Read more...]

Good Plans Don’t Gather Dust

Having worked with a number of startup businesses over the years, I know creating a thoughtful strategic plan isn’t worth much unless you use it throughout the year to measure success. Used well, a strategic plan is an accountability document. As Betsy Haley and Kelly Campbell suggest, it’s a way to connect the dots from your mission to your programs. Connecting the dots starts with a mission statement. Here's a simple example. If our mission is to aid the homeless in creating better … [Read more...]

Mission Statements can be like Tattoos

A mission statement could be like that. It can grow stale over time and not attract donors like it used to do. It may date itself by word choices. Sometimes your mission grows and you add new programs but your statement remains the same. Your mission statement is the start of creating good strategy. It’s on the first page of your web site or on the sidebar of your blog. It tells people what you do and how you do it. It reflects the need you want touch. The words are a call to discover more … [Read more...]

Why Strategy is the First Step in Fundraising

These days, most nonprofits worry about fundraising because the economy is in a slump. Donors want to know how their contributions matter within an organization. Grants, particularly for smaller nonprofits, are difficult to come by. Building a strategic path is integral to fundraising. It’s the first step a board takes in defining or course correcting the mission statement. Strategy articulates the mission by setting goals and determining the resources needed to reach those goals in the most … [Read more...]

Measurement is Second Nature

  In our everyday lives, we measure. We compare our work out performance over time. We go to a party and compare our appearance to someone else. We've done this type of measurement so long that it’s become second nature. When it comes to our organizations, why does it seem hard to figure out what to measure? What good does it really do? How can small nonprofits with overworked staffs find the time to do this? Strategy creation and measuring programs are important components in … [Read more...]