Nonprofit strategic planning is sexy in the same way nonprofit governance, feasibility study reports and finding the perfect candidate is sexy. Oh wait, I didn’t mean sexy. I meant amazing for my nonprofit or energizing for my organization.
The title of this piece was offered by Portent’s Content Idea Generator. And I’m pretty sure it shatters the notion that, “there are no bad ideas.”
Your nonprofit may be finding something similar when you are brainstorming for ideas. Whether it is annual appeal letter suggestions from a donor (whom you thought would be helpful), gala ideas from a board member(s), or elements of a case for giving from staff, not all ideas should carry the same weight. Of course, donors (including board members), volunteers as well as staff need to be treated respectfully – whether their ideas are used or not.
Hopefully your nonprofit has criteria to evaluate some ideas.
- Mission, vision and values statement(s) as an outcome of a strategic planning process. Nonprofit strategic planning may not be sexy but it is a great guide for determining new projects or whether to continue old ones.
- Theme for your fundraising for the year or season. e. community achievements, the impact of music, the teachers at our core, etc.…
- Call for ideas in specific areas. Focus in on areas that need suggestions, ways for people to provide their thoughts and an understanding of what you are looking for. This is a great way to see what people are thinking and can be used as a stewardship opportunity.
- Provide suggestion guidelines. If you are asking for thoughts, a list of general, or specific “rules” the organization follows will eliminate some of the ideas you have to shut down immediately.
- A committee to make decisions. We don’t want you to create committees ad nauseum. But at times, an ad hoc committee can take the decision making away from an individual. And, help eliminate prickly conversations that can feel personal.
And this isn’t even venturing into the pressure nonprofits feel from donors referenced in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy Article. From sexual harassment issues to donor suggestions that are clearly off-mission but will provide the donor a benefit, nonprofits are finally realizing that not every idea is a good idea.
Look for a less sexy, but more thoughtful, strategic planning piece in the near future.