Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Strategic Planning - What Is It and Why Should We Do It?

This week I am preparing for a workshop I am presenting next week on Strategic Planning and I thought I would do a series of posts on this subject. Today's post will be about what strategic planning is and why you should do it.

I have left brain and right brain definitions of what strategic planning is, so there is something for everyone. First - the left brain definition - Strategic Planning is a management tool that helps an organization to:
*Focus its vision and mission
*Ensure everyone is working toward the same goals
*Assess and adjust priorities in response to a changing environment

Although I really am a left brain type, in this case I prefer this right brain definition by Frances Hesselbein, CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute:
"The self-assessment process is an adventure in organizational self-discovery, a means of assessing how to be: how to develop quality, character, mind-set, values and courage." I think you can only really appreciate this definition after you have completed the strategic planning process.

Why should nonprofits develop a strategic plan? Here are what I consider the main reasons:
*Develop or Update Your Mission and Vision
*Establish Major, Realistic Goals
*Focus Resources on Priorities
*Develop a Blueprint for Action
*Define Measurements for Success

There are many benefits to this including getting everyone on the same page and stimulating a new focused, energy around your mission and vision. Interested in more...check back soon for the next post on this subject. Better yet, come to my workshop next Wednesday!

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits 9 AM - Noon
Sponsored by the Volunteer Center of Bergen County
64 Passaic Street
Hackensack, NJ
Pre-registration is required. Call 201-489-9454 X119 or email

Marion Conway Consulting

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Craigslist Foundation Nonprofit Boot Camp New York Report

On Saturday I participated in the Craigslist Foundation Second Annual Nonprofit Boot Camp held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. I volunteered for the "Ask an Expert" part of the program providing expertise in the areas of strategic planning and board development. The setup was like a speed dating environment and in two hours and twenty minutes I met with 7 people - for 20 minutes each. When the bell rang, the new people were ready to meet you and after a quick goodbye it was onto the next organization. I met with people involved with theater, women's groups, youth development and gay literature. When I was done my head was spinning, my mouth was dry and I needed to find the ladies room! But it was very invigorating and I'm happy to have been part of this wonderful event.

Over 1000 people roamed around the beautiful Brooklyn Academy of Museum facilities. The Master of Ceremonies was Darian Rodriguez Heyman, Executive Director of the Craigslist Foundation and the keynote speakers were Nancy Lublin of Do Something and Ana Oliveira of the New York Women's Foundation. There were three workshops in each of 7 tracks. The exhibit hall featured about 40 organizations and I got to meet with people at organizations that I have only known through their websites including NY Charities and Governance Matters.

A highlight of the day for me was finally meeting Laura Quinn of Idealware in person. I ALWAYS recommend Laura's articles at whenever I have a technology for nonprofits question. They are top notch. I feel privileged to have contributed - in a very small way - to a couple of her articles. Anyway, Laura returned to NY from her new home in Maine for the event and I was so happy to finally be able to have a conversation in person with her.

Overall, I'd say that the event was a major success. It attracted a huge audience and had a wide variety of opportunities to offer. Much of the program was geared to those new to the nonprofit world and I don't think I would recommend it to expereinced people. But for those new to nonprofits or just starting one up, it is an incredible resource.

Marion Conway Consulting

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Strategic Planning and Planning a Board Retreat Workshops in September

On September 26th I will be presenting two half day workshops at the Volunteer Center of Bergen County They are:

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits
9 am – 12:30 pm

Planning a Board Retreat
1:00 pm – 4:30 pm

$35 each; $60 for both sessions—lunch included in full day session
64 Passaic Street, Hackensack, NJ
Pre-registration required—call (201) 489-9454 ext. 121
Workshops at this location do fill up so make sure you pre-register.
Volunteer Center of Bergen County

Marion Conway Consulting