The Nonprofit Rule of Threes?

Let’s see if the “rule of threes,” that general belief that concepts or ideas presented in threes are inherently more interesting, more enjoyable, and more memorable, applies to my current concerns about nonprofits.

Start with strategic planning.   One thing that hasn’t changed in the nearly 40 years I’ve been working with nonprofits is that people don’t understand its purpose or value. Few organizations do it well; too many think it is a tool convenience rather than a solid road map, electing to follow it when convenient Read more

Is Bigger Always Better? Money vs. Mission

Whenever I talk about strategic planning, I make sure to very quickly help folks understand one important thing:  strategic planning isn’t necessarily about planning for growth, but is always about planning for organizational evolution, which may involve growth, or shrinkage, or moving towards perfection and say nothing about size, or….

This is confusing because most people see growth as the goal.  In this country, bigger is always seen as better and nonprofits have fallen into the trap of thinking they are failing if they consciously choose Read more

‘Tis the Season to be Sustainable

As we approach the end of the calendar year, many nonprofits are wringing their hands over just how much money will come in these last two months of the year.  Most nonprofits report that between 30 and 45% of annual contributions come in this period.  The success or failure of year-end giving has a large impact on an organization, often resulting in decisions about layoffs or programmatic cutbacks, or, if expectations are exceeded, the chance to breathe easier for another year.

There is a fundamental error Read more