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What Does A Strategic Plan Cost?

by Molly Penn Strategic Planning is a term that gets used fairly frequently, but not always to refer to the same work.  As an example, lately we’ve gotten requests for strategic plans ranging from budgets of $7,500 to $75,000.   This describes a completely different scope of work.  Consulting is a time-driven business – we charge …

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Resolve to Focus on Culture This Year

Culture is your hidden asset or weakness. In 2021, there is a need to focus on culture to repair the trauma experienced by your people in the past year. Read on for tips on how to address culture in a post-pandemic world.

Leadership Development for a New Normal

How much of your time is spent managing others instead of leading change? Are you ready to move from a place of managing people to leading with influence? No doubt leadership development looks very different today than it did a year ago. Here are some of the trends we see emerging in 2021 and some questions for reimagining your agency’s leadership strategy.

The Power of People-Centered Culture

In the 2020 workplace, people are fully showing up. Your employees are juggling more today than ever before, attempting to work, parent, teach, and survive—all while isolated from critical community resources and support. In this new working normal, how are you creating an environment where employees feel safe, seen, heard, and respected?

Is Your Organization Still Relevant?

It’s a provocative question, we admit. Yet this is a time when organizations must be wrestling with this question actively. There are three pillars of organizational health – read on to learn more about them!

Vu Le Got Us Thinking About Boards

Let’s face it, there are some great boards and some that suck the Executive Director’s time and energy. All new board members should be trained in what it means to serve on the board of a nonprofit. Which brings us to the crux of the issue – what does it mean? Our answer may surprise you!

The Role of Culture in Organizational Change

Given the rate at which we all deal with change on a daily basis, you would think it gets easier, but managing change remains challenging. Why? Because change is an emotional experience.

Time to Pivot Our Values About the Nonprofit Sector

A global pandemic, an economic recession and an exploding social justice movement are convergent forces calling on nonprofit leaders, funders and consultants to do our work differently going forward. For the first time in modern memory, we have an opportunity to reevaluate all of our assumptions, perceptions, procedures and systems.

Mergers & Alliances as a Strategic Tool for Mission Delivery

Are there just too many nonprofit organizations? Alliances can take many forms. In this post, we’ll detail some of the most common forms of alliances and why organizations might want to use them. The important thing here is to keep your mission delivery at the forefront of your rationale, and to summon the personal humility that brought you to nonprofit work in the first place.

Planning for the New Normal

Is it too soon to begin thinking about the “new normal?” Organizations that are not ready to consider how Covid-19 will change our work are risking their future health and sustainability. We are grounding these recommendations in human care and empathy for now, and smart planning for what’s next.

Just Don’t Make Me Fundraise!

Ever heard this from a board member? Many board members simply dread being asked to raise funds. We are taught that how much money someone has is considered personal information and is socially inappropriate to discuss. Since fundraising is a core responsibility of nonprofit boards, it’s well worth the effort to turn this around.

Resilience and the Need for Organization Design

It is likely that many organizations will have to make significant changes to ensure sustainability. If and when that happens (and we wish it didn’t have to), it is important to be smart about how that takes place. Enter: organization design.

Is Your Organization Still Relevant?

Your vision can’t possibly be as relevant to today’s world as it was in the beginning because the world itself has evolved. Visions need to be co-created with and by your stakeholders. It involves deep listening, collaboration with your stakeholders and the humility and willingness to make changes to stay relevant to the needs at hand today.

How to Write a Great Mission Statement

You’re riding in an elevator with someone who asks what you do – you have about 3 minutes to answer them succinctly, powerfully, compellingly so they ask you more. What do you say? The role of a mission statement is to describe what you do in clear terms so the listener immediately “gets it.”

Are You Ready for a Recession?

All of the major news papers and sites are speculating that we might be heading towards the next recession. None of us likes to think about this possibility. We thought we’d share some stories of clients that are pursuing smart strategies to prepare themselves for this possibility.

How to Create Strong Strategic Plan Goals

Everyone struggles with how to articulate your strategic plan goals so they compel others to join you in your noble quest. How many organizations do you know that spend months and months and thousands of dollars only to roll out a plan with … meh goals? We’d bet the answer is too many. We’re setting out to change that.

How to Map Your Strategic Position

Do you know how to map your strategic position? The word “map” here literally means to try to create some visuals to help you picture where you sit relative to other organizations with similar missions. It is a way to help you understand your unique role.

How to Frame A Compelling Vision

Imagine coming to work every day full of purpose and conviction. The role of a vision statement is to serve as your true north, the motivation for working in the social sector, the difference you are in business to make. Here are some key questions to ask yourself when framing or refining your vision.

How and Why You Should Engage Your Stakeholders

Wouldn’t it be easier just to do the work and not have to worry about engaging people? Sure, it would be easier – and a whole lot less effective. How each nonprofit defines its community may vary, but the idea that the organization exists to serve a particular community is at the center of the nonprofit form. Here are some tips for how to manage these conversations.

Are You Paying Attention to Culture?

The best laid plans can be facilitated or foiled by organizational culture – the (mostly) invisible force that guides how people in your organization interact with one another and with those you serve. So if culture is invisible, how do you pay attention to it? Here are some tools to help you be more proactive about building a culture where people want to work with you and do their best work when they’re there:

How to Research your Market

What makes a plan “strategic” is that it takes into consideration what is happening in the world outside your organization and responds to that context. So what does it mean to research your market and how to do that? We break market research into several distinct pieces.

How to Ask Great Questions

In strategic planning, one of the most important events happens right up front – framing a set of relevant, purposeful, interesting questions that will inform your actions or critical decision-making. Here are a few guidelines for making sure you’re asking the best questions.

Our Leadership Development Program

We’ve spent the last four months building a thorough leadership development curriculum. This blog post shares what we have created.

How can I fire staff and still be a mensch?

While nobody wants to emulate Frank Crossleaders are often unsure how to end the employment of a staff person who isn’t working out but hasn’t violated any laws or obviously failed. To be clear, you always want to seek legal assistance or advice on the proper procedure when you are thinking of firing someone. But whenever possible, strive to make this process less painful and more humane so as not to negatively affect the morale of the remaining staff.

Seismic Shifts Shaping the Landscape

As part of our work, we often speak to thought leaders around the country about what they see as seismic shifts that are shaping the landscape around nonprofit organizations. Read about the shifts that thought leaders point us to.

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