Strategic Thinking Planning for Nonprofit Organizations
Strategic Thinking & Planning for
By: J. Glenn Ebersole, Jr., Chief Executive of J. G. Ebersole Associates and The Renaissance Group™
"Glenn Ebersole did an excellent job with leading our Board of Directors through strategic planning and development. We're moving forward to accomplish our vision...Glenn got us moving in the right direction. I highly recommend him."
Executive Director, Kenbrook
Is strategic thinking and strategic planning important for nonprofit organizations? Or is it just for those "for profit" organizations? Let's think about this for a moment. Do you wonder where your nonprofit organization will be in 5 or 10 years? Do you believe your organization is equipped to continue successfully in the future? Can you imagine how your organization will be impacted by regulatory changes, reduced revenues, fewer human resources, increased membership demands and on and on and on? I hope you can identify with these questions because they illustrate what strategic thinking and strategic planning endeavors will address. And Yes - strategic planning is a tool that any group of people such as a municipality, association, government body, agency, council or special interest group can use to proactively plan their future.
Okay - so what will the strategic planning process do for the nonprofit organization? The answer is that it will do many things, including: examining where your organization is now, where you want it to be, and how you are going to get there; developing a vision, mission, and a road map for the organization; developing a set of goals and strategies that will help the organization proactively deal with change; setting priorities for actions; and being a "compass" to guide the organization toward its vision and mission.
I think some people interchange the terms long range and strategic planning. However, I believe they are not the same. Strategic planning is much more than long range planning. Compared to long range planning, strategic planning focuses on strategic thinking from individuals in the organization to anticipate changes and to proactively respond to those changes.
Well - what are some of the benefits of strategic planning for your nonprofit? For one, it will enable your group to be influencers, instead of simply being influenced by others. It will also empower you to deal positively with change, which is inevitable. Strategic planning will provide a framework to address the critical issues facing the organization. You will also see that it assists in finding more ways to be innovative and how to use resources more efficiently and effectively. And it will help decrease the amount of crisis management the organization will have to do.
So who out there among you could be found on a list of nonprofit organizations who have used strategic thinking and strategic planning? Here is a partial list of the types of nonprofit organizations that have used and continue to use strategic thinking and planning: hospitals; government agencies; community groups; municipalities; school boards; colleges; agencies; nonprofit boards of directors; chambers of commerce; professional associations; local civic organizations; et al.
I have worked with and continue to successfully work with nonprofit organizations regarding the development of strategic plans, conducting focus groups and acting as a facilitator for them for offsite meetings and retreats. The groups I have worked with are very diverse. One success story is Kenbrook. The testimonial from the Executive Director, Dan Krug can be found at the beginning of this article and on the homepage of my website. Click here to view it.
If you want to learn more specifics about how your nonprofit can benefit from strategic thinking and strategic planning, please contact Glenn Ebersole at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be pleased to share more success stories and discuss with you how you can achieve a success story of your own.