Daily Buzz: The Three P’s of Strategic Planning

Outlining new organizational initiatives can be a daunting task. Here’s where to start. Also: Be flexible on how members pay dues.

Strategic planning. Do the words make you shudder? If so, you’re not alone.

“Perhaps scarred by a past planning effort, many nonprofit leaders and board members describe lengthy, laborious and ultimately ineffectual processes that failed to translate their organizational vision into reality,” Gregory Nielsen explains on the Bloomerang blog. “But there is hope, and a path to a far more energizing and effective plan.”

And that plan starts with purpose. Why is your organization embarking on this planning initiative?

Consider the people putting the plan into action, too. Are they the right team members leading the charge? “A universal truth of board governance, and planning, is that the people in the room determine the questions that are asked,” Nielsen says.

Then, define the process. “Nonprofit leaders should evaluate the planning processes that have worked well with their team in the past and the type of process needed to confront the challenges of today,” he says. “Will your board and key staff team respond better to a full-day retreat or a series of shorter sessions? Will you need to revisit the mission, vision and values of the organization or do they still reflect the organization’s north star?”

Whatever the answers, a clear outline will pave the way for a successful strategy.

Get Creative With Payment Options

Don’t turn members away by making it hard for them to pay dues, says Amy Hager on Association Success.

“I used to be with the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia, and we dealt with smaller sized members and those who did not have large cash flows,” she says. “It was hard for some of them to come up with the money to a large sum for membership one time a year, so we decided it would just be easier for us to charge them every month. Once we broke up the model, if you paid the one large sum once a year, then you paid 10 percent less than those that were paying their membership dues monthly. In that way, we were able to kind of subsidize the extra charge for staff time and credit card charges.”

This arrangement might not be a fit for your organization, but consider it a lesson on knowing when to meet members halfway.

Other Links of Note

Program design should start with learner assessment, according to the WBT Systems blog.

Refining your social media strategy? Forbes offers 10 best practices.

Google is making Chrome more privatebut advertisers can still track you, according to Recode.

(HAKINMHAN/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!