Nonprofit Organizations

Over the past three decades the growth of nonprofit organizations has been nothing short of remarkable. Local, regional, state-wide, and national nonprofit have stepped in to take on roles that had previously been filled by the federal government. At the same time, nonprofit organizations have stepped in to fill unmet needs. Programs that grow require more staff, budgets get tightened, and management tasks become more complex.

Communicating with stakeholders becomes critically important as does raising financial support. At Midwest Consulting Group we have significant experience in working with nonprofit organizations of all types and sizes. We provide services such as:

 

  • Strategic Planning Processes
  • Board development and communications
  • Fund development
  • Management development
  • Succession planning
  • 360-degree feedback surveys
  • Staff development
  • Personal productivity & project management

If you would like to find out more, we welcome an opportunity to discuss your situation. Please contact us at your earliest convenience.

 Organizational Strategy

An effective organizational strategy has two components. In many organizations Strategic Planning is an “event” – a process to create a plan document which is then distributed to part or all of the organization. And often that is exactly where it stops; it get created and distributed. What’s missing is the second component – the Implementation part of the Strategy. Our approach is actually rather simple. It usually takes the following form:

 

  • A preliminary discussion with the most senior person available. In most nonprofits that would be a board member, and/or the executive director or CEO. In a private sector organization that would most likely be the president, owner, or other senior executive. The purpose of this discussion is to determine the scope of the need, and to see if we can help you develop the strategy.
  • Scheduling one or more Strategic Planning discussions with the appropriate people is the next step. For many nonprofit boards that means one or more Saturday sessions. In the private sector that can take a wide variety of forms, depending upon the size and complexity of the organization.
  • When the strategy team/board/group first meets, we begin by taking a look at the current Strategic Plan (if there is one) and review what the organization has accomplished over the past couple of years. This provides a baseline of information and mutual agreement about what current reality looks like to the organization. Knowing where we are and how we got there is important to forging a common vision for the future. 
  • The next step is to brainstorm and dream a bit about what the organization would look like and how it might be serving its customers in five, ten, or even twenty years from today.  This step provides a generally accepted picture of the organization at a more distant future point; sort of a beacon in the distance as we frame a strategic plan for the coming several years. When working with a nonprofit board or senior team, this step completes with first strategy session. If so, then the board will usually have a week or two between sessions to think about how to make the future vision a reality before returning for a second session.
  • Next, the group moves into the actual planning process using an approach designed in consultation with you prior to the initial session. We have found that designing a process that is tailored to each specific organization works very well in a wide variety of situations. We can, for instance, use a more formal SWOT-type analysis, simply facilitate a discussion around moving the vision and mission forward, or another approach that we design together. 
  • Having a clear beacon for the future and some good ideas about how to get there does not guarantee success. Whatever the strategy, things have to actually get done for the strategy to become truly useful. Establishing a series of Goals, Priorities, Projects, and Next Actions that flow from the strategy and the goal-setting process usually completes our part in the strategic planning process. This provides the organization with clear directions, deadlines, and accountabilities.

The result is a living strategy that unites the team, board, or participants around a common purpose, with clear accountabilities, projects, and tasks needed to make the strategy into reality. That’s our approach to strategic planning.

Strategic Planning Processes

MISSION - VISION - VALUES

What do we stand for? What is our purpose for existing?

KEY ISSUES & CHALLENGES

What significant problems and/or opportunities do we face for the next several years?

ALTERNATIVES FOR THE FUTURE

What alternatives do we have to accomplish our mission?

CHOICES & DECISIONS

Which alternatives do we choose?

GOALS & PRIORITIES

What major goals are we committed to accomplishing? What are our priorities?

PROJECTS & TASKS

What projects and taks will we do to reach our goals?

TIMELINES & ASSIGNMENTS

Who is responsible for what, and by when?