Aligning strategy,
identity, capacity, and facilities
with mission, vision, and values.


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Selected Posts

Integrated Planning

The Structure of Planning: Process
There are many effective ways to go about a planning process. There are also some common ways that planning goes wrong. This series of posts describes how a well-conceived structure can tilt the odds toward success.

Planning as Cultivation
There are lots of good reasons for planning in nonprofits, including external pressures and operational improvements. In the typical nonprofit experience, though, the most compelling benefits often come from developing the strength of internal resources.

Arguments Against Planning
During a webinar I was presenting on strategic planning, I asked the attendees what objections to strategic planning they had encountered. Here are some of the objections, with suggested responses.

Integrated Planning
Nonprofits have need for strategic, business, program, communications, technology, and facility planning, organizational development and brand identity. How do they fit together?

Nonprofit Identity and Branding
What does brand identity have to do with nonprofits?

Business Planning in Nonprofits
A nonprofit organization needs a business plan as much as a for-profit company does. In either case, business planning is about charting a course toward success and sustainability. Sometimes funders insist on it.

Mission & Mission Statements

Clarifying Mission
A clear, concise, compelling, & memorable mission statement is the basis of a strong message, focused strategy, energized stakeholders & effective metrics. Does that describe your organization’s mission statement?

Two Stories About Mission Statements
The editing process is like a mission statement: It can be wandering and unproductive, or focused and effective.

Great Mission Statement Competition
Finalists 2010
Winner 2010

Finalists 2011
Winner 2011
Makeovers 2011 part 1
Makeovers 2011 part 2
Makeovers 2011 part 3


If It Ain't Broke, Break It
Consensus is essential to achieving mission-driven goals. However if the rush to achieve consensus is so strong that it suppresses and obscures important contrary factors, the result can be disastrous.

The Trustee Handbook
The trustee handbook—or board manual—is an essential document for the sustainable nonprofit.

The Individual Service Plan
As noted in Critical Issues #4: On Boards, the Individual Service Plan (ISP) is a simple but powerful tool to focus the capabilities of trustees on their fiduciary responsibilities.

Board Self Assessment
The obvious reason to conduct a self assessment is to step back and identify areas where the board might need to correct weaknesses or oversights. But a self assessment can also spark a broader conversation about the board, its practices, and its potential.


Develop Internal Capabilities or Outsource?
What expertise does an organization need to have in-house to be able to make good strategic and business judgments, and what should it outsource in recognition that it can do more for its mission by focusing its attention and resources on what it does well?


Tweet is the Sound of a Whistle Blowing
New social media tools offer promising capabilities for advocacy, crowd sourcing and action.

Untangling the Web
A companion piece to Critical Issues e-letter number 3, this post points out some interesting web tools.

Listen. Wholesale
What is the secret of success with stakeholders? Listening. This post is a companion piece to Critical Issues e-letter number 2

Facility Planning

Understanding Facilities, part 1 and part 2
An overview of what a nonprofit needs to know to avoid unnecessary risks and costs, and to improve the results, of facility planning.

Facilities and Business Plans
Musings on costs and revenues in nonprofit facility projects.

Thinking ahead
When is a major gift too expensive to accept? The Salvation Army confronted this question when they received a bequest from the founders of McDonalds. The American Folk Art Museum neglected to ask.

Aging in Place

Home Improvement
Residential energy footprint and lifestyle choices.

Give me those old time solutions
In praise of individual responsibility and community in repairing the world.