Guess what!? I’ve started creating a strategic planning workbook for nonprofits, and I’m really excited about it! I’d also love your support and input to help test content and tools if your nonprofit is interested in learning more. Here are 5 reasons why I am spending my summer writing and bringing this strategic planning workbook to life:
Less than half of the nonprofits in the country have a strategic plan. This means there is an addressable market from a business perspective, but it’s a complicated market. I want to create something of value to offer nonprofits who are ready to adapt and thrive–on their own and with the right amount of guidance to make their strategic planning processes as smooth as possible. (See my previous post for the research behind this statistic.)
I want to break down the barriers that keep nonprofits from developing a strategic plan. Having a strategic plan creates alignment which leads to better results, but many nonprofits can’t afford $10,000+ for a good strategic planning consultant. Most strategic planning work is highly customized and therefore expensive and not scalable. When I work with clients, I typically spend 40-90 hours on a full strategic planning process that spans 6-9 months. But, I know there are patterns and frameworks that I can create and share to minimize expense and speed up planning cycles for more organizations.
I want to help nonprofit board and staff members find clarity on the other side of complexity. The trick of strategic planning is seeing all of the pieces and figuring out at what “level” to put them. Is something an objective that can be measured? Is it a value? Is it a revenue driver? Is it a tactic? Is it a strategy that is interdependent on another strategy? What is a root cause and what is an outcome? What things are more circular and what can be defined as a linear process? Groups who are trying to do strategic planning on their own can often identify the pieces of the puzzle, but they have a hard time seeing the pieces as a system. I am working on tools that will help nonprofit teams see your system.
Once the initial content is created, an interactive, membership-based web platform is the next stage. While I am at first creating a workbook that can be distributed as a simple e-book pdf, the next stage will be to create an interactive membership site with video tutorials and interactive exercises. Maybe I’ll find a publisher for the workbook too, but a web platform is even more exciting in terms of the potential for interactivity.
I want to reach more organizations. As a current solo consultant I can’t really take on more than 7 active clients at any given time. This strategic planning workbook is my effort to create a lower cost, but highly effective product that can scale and be available to more organizations with less 1:1 meeting time required. What I want to do is boil down what has taken me years to learn so that nonprofit boards and staff members can learn to do strategic planning on their own (and may have a better sense of exactly where time with a consultant would be most beneficial).
With this strategic planning workbook I am excited about the possibilities for organizations that will benefit from a self-guided approach that is grounded in practical experience AND the latest research. If your organization is interested in helping me test out this new content, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, if you have your own strategic planning examples and tips to share that may be helpful to include in the workbook, I’d love to hear those too.
I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and it’s finally time to clear the decks and spend more time writing. So if you don’t see me at a Rotary meeting or at the gym or at the pool, please send me some happy writing vibes in the meantime!