Sometimes nonprofits grow because they are in right place at the right time. Governments, foundations and/or private donors seem eager to invest more in the niche that they happen to be in. But most nonprofits are not so lucky, and are just holding their own. If your nonprofit is not growing, it, by definition, does not have an effective strategic planning process.
A strategic planning process involves the managers who have the resources needed to implement the plan. It starts by the team committing to a goal of how much growth they would like to see in what area, and when they want to achieve that goal. The team then defines a set of strategies that it believes are necessary and sufficient to achieve that goal.
A manager is assigned the responsibility to develop an action plan to implement each strategy on the required timetable. If anyone lacks the resources to do that, resources need to be reallocated or the goals or strategies need to be adjusted until everyone agrees they have the resources needed to implement the strategies that are necessary and sufficient to achieve the goal.
As the strategies are implemented, surprises that require additional resource reallocations or strategy adjustments are not uncommon. But as a team learns how to work together to develop and implement a strategic plan, the growth of their nonprofit is virtually guaranteed (assuming they are capable and committed to learning how to plan strategically and to manage a strategic implementation). One way of developing those process skills is to work with a coach (visit www.ECofOC.org for more information).
Author: Bob Cryer, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org