Archive for December, 2012

Non Profit Planning — Next Year and the Years to Follow

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Forget Resolutions — PLAN and Implement

By Joseph John

Scott Cutlip and Allen Center, co-authors of Effective Public Relations, presented a planning model in their book, which is most applicable for anyone, including Non profit Boards:

Planning requires: 1) a searching look backward; 2) a deep look inside; 3) a wide look around; and 4) a long, long look ahead.

You may remember an article I recently wrote regarding “Organizational Milestones.” In that article, I stated that a Historical Timeline creates a better grasp for seeing trends over the almost twelve years since the millennium to determine what the next one, three, or five years might look like. It’s a great planning tool. And yes, I’ve already tested this concept with a number of non profit associations that I deal with — and they collectively say “OMG…that would be fantastic for all of us to review”.

Well, that historical timeline is the foundation of the “searching look backward” and the “deep look inside,” and the “wide look around.” Just what will your organization do NEXT year and the years following that are different, far more reaching, and more challenging than what your organization has ever done before? Or is it easier to say “we’ve never done it that way before,” or “it’s not in the budget.” Or worse yet, “we’re happy with the success we’ve had over the past “X” years, so why change?”

You can’t plan unless you have credible data — and that’s what your historical timeline provides. That informational flow helps you determine if your non profit organization is mobile enough and motivated enough to go where your organization has never gone before? (Sounds like something out of Star Trek, doesn’t it?)

Are you pleased with the trends you’ve seen over the past twelve years? Are there spikes, highs-and-lows, along that line, or is it simply a flat line picture of essentially no growth in the organization.

Let me ask you: Does your non profit organization have the organizational “guts,” that is, the commitment, to set the bar higher, and to venture into new markets that you haven’t approached before? Is your organizational “vision” aggressive enough to make reaching for new goals a real challenge?

January 1 is the start of the New Year — and it’s called the New Year because it provides your organization a chance to get a fresh start on moving towards and accomplishing new objectives. Or, will you repeat history, based on your timeline, and fail to take those extra steps to be better than your best? Remember that you’re responsible for planning and implementing OBJECTIVES — forget the term “New Year’s RESOLUTIONS” — that’s the stuff of New Year’s parties.

Just how different will your Annual Campaign and Friend Raising be this coming year? What are the stretch goals?

How many board members will you be adding (or subtracting)? And what will their responsibilities be? What new accountability measures will you place on each and every board member?

How many community events will your non profit board members attend to “tell the story” to seek support for your organization? And how will your communications, both internally and externally, be shaped that will breathe new life into the organization?

Is there a new look, a new fresh coat of paint, that is necessary to re-define your organization? Have you dusted off the bylaws, the mission, vision, and values?

That deep look inside your organization should create a very pointed question: What will be that ONE Something, or several Some Things, that will benefit all the beneficiaries of your organization’s mission and the communities you serve?

Now take a long, long look 365 days from today — what will your Historical Timeline look like?  Will it just be a flat line chart that reflects little or no significant change from the prior twelve years? Or will you be pleased at how much the non profit organization has grown over those 365 days?

Resolve to forget resolutions — PLAN and Implement.