Strategic Planning: What Is Your Big Vision?
What is your big vision? What is next for your organization? If you could double your contributed income, what would it mean for those you serve?
Ideally, this should come from your strategic planning process.
That’s how I became a fan and student of strategic planning. A campaign I was leading was about to hit its goal, and we had momentum to raise significantly more funds. When I asked the CEO what was next, there was a blank stare. They had not thought beyond what was a very obvious building need.
So we jumped into a strategic planning process. We did it right—we engaged constituencies, pulled together a committee and fast tracked the process. We developed a solid plan and donors responded, donating substantial funds toward its implementation.
Recently we were presenting a development plan to a client. We also had facilitated a process to update its mission statement and define program priority areas.
Like so many boards, its members began a conversation on major donors that led them out of their boardroom and even beyond their membership to major corporations in the state and some major foundations in the country.
Don’t get me wrong—this organization has some fantastic programs. “But what would set your program apart from organizations that are similar in other states?” I asked. “If you raised twice the money next year, how would you invest it?”
We have a roadmap for them to nearly triple their annual fundraising, but the biggest piece missing is to know where those funds might go—and what the outcomes would be.
So between now and their next board meeting we’ve asked them to forget about any discussion on fundraising—they now have a solid roadmap for success. They need to be really focused on setting funding goals aligned with potential program growth and developing a menu that will appeal to donors who share their mission—programs that will motivate current donors to stretch and that will attract the attention of new donors in a bold way. Then they will be on track to triple their contributed income in the next five years.
Looking for Jeff? You'll find him either on the lake, laughing with good friends, or helping nonprofits develop to their full potential.
Jeff believes that successful fundraising is built on a bedrock of relevant, consistent messaging; sound practices; the nurturing of relationships; and impeccable stewardship. And that organizations that adhere to those standards serve as beacons to others that aspire to them. The Bedrocks & Beacons blog will provide strategic information to help nonprofits be both.
Jeff has more than 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience and is a member of the NonProfit PRO Editorial Advisory Board.