Plan Strategically for Nonprofit Success

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

We have all heard this adage before.

Yet its timeless wisdom is crucially relevant to successful nonprofit leadership.

According to a recent Concord Leadership Group study, nearly half of all nonprofits are operating “without any knowledge of or access to a strategic plan.”

This is hardly a recipe for nonprofit success.

“The stakes are high,” says Marc Pitman, fundraising coach and CEO of The Concord Leadership Group.

“Nonprofits manage the third largest workforce in the United States [and they control] more than $3 trillion in assets. They conserve land, protect oceans, and care for animals. They provide healthcare, mental counseling, and drug rehabilitation. They are a safety net to millions, providing food, housing, and career counseling. ”

Given that the nonprofit sector represents such a large chunk of the economy,  you would think that the CEOs, directors, and board members of nonprofits would insist on a strategic plan to ensure longterm viability.

Alas, such is not always the case.

Why it pays to plan

It makes sense that having a strategic plan in place would be helpful, right? But many nonprofits often overlook the flip side: not having a strategic plan hurts nonprofits.

For instance, the study showed that nonprofits without written strategic plans were significantly less likely to:

  • collaborate with other nonprofits
  • have boards open to taking calculated risks
  • have CEOs who undergo annual performance reviews
  • have formal process for measuring leadership effectiveness

What is even more surprising than learning about the downsides to not having a strategic plan in place is finding out just how widespread the problem is.

Over a quarter of nonprofits surveyed (29%) admitted to not having a strategic plan whatsoever. Nearly as many (19%) claimed to have a plan… just not a written one. (And an additional 4% of respondents to the survey did not even know whether their nonprofit had one at all!)

Check out the infographic below for more stunning statistics:

strategic plan

Want to learn more? Download the full report today!

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