A key challenge of most nonprofit organizations in raising funding is that they simply don’t have enough staff working on fundraising
But multiple speakers stressed the need for our sector to take back both qualitative evaluation as a legitimate form of measurement and to champion the other critical impacts we have in community, such as improving the social fabric, personal fulfillment and quality of life.
The bottom line: “93% of successful organizations report that strategic planning has ‘some to critical impact’ on overall success, whereas only 48% of low success organizations report such impact.” Association for Strategic Planning
What if instead of talking about evaluation, the conversation shifted to a discussion about learning? I think the negative taste of evaluation that we hold is akin to being graded in school or on our performance evaluation at work … something others do to us rather than for or with us. What nonprofit can afford to risk a failing program? But if learning were tied deeply and honestly to a true desire to do better for the people or community you serve, might your organization be more interested in exploring what impact it was having so that you could do better with the resources you have?
Whatever approach you use to create your nonprofit strategic plan, your board and directors need to be sufficiently involved to ensure their understanding, ownership and ability to champion a plan that increases your impact on your community. Here’s how to do that.
There are many ways to develop your nonprofit’s strategic plan. While it’s hard to say there is any right way to do strategic planning, here are a few elements of the process that I believe are essential to its success.
Some days I’m feeling totally confused about what is a social enterprise and what isn’t. It seems to me that we’ve got at least three types of ventures in play when the term “social enterprise” gets bandied about that may need more clarification: Social Enterprise, Socially responsible business, Cause-marketing. To me, these are not describing the same thing.
What leads to success in getting help from others? A well-defined question or set of questions, a spirit of sharing, careful planning so time is well-spent, an interesting group that also benefits from coming together, commitment to listening and learning, a focus on improvement, reciprocating and appreciating the extraordinary gift you’ve received. Oh yes, you also have to ask.
But what if instead of these solely fiduciary roles, the Finance Committee also facilitated strategic thinking within the Board about the short and long-term financial condition of the organization by: developing a deeper financial analysis of organizational health, developing financial literacy among the directors, analyzing trends, preparing long-term financial forecasts based on different strategic scenarios, bringing strategic financial issues to the attention of the board for discussion and planning
and leading the discussion on key performance indicators for the Board and then revising financial reports accordingly
Now, the scholars that LADO awards are small by tuition standards, but they help students with those small expenses that make a big difference. But what the scholarship students report matters the most to them is knowing that there is a community behind them cheering for their success. How doe you measure impact? I’d say this warm embrace from a small but caring community organization is priceless.