“That depends a great deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cheshire Cat.
“I don’t much care where -----“ said Alice.
“The it doesn’t matter which way you walk", said the Cat.
That conversation from Alice In Wonderland is essentially what I frequently hear from board members. While not walking, most want somebody to tell them where they are supposed to be going.
Most of the time, the idea of writing plans is daunting. Can’t schedule a board retreat. Don’t get enough participation. Get sidetracked on issues not planning.
So here’s a list of 4 plans that will help everybody achieve success. In part, because they are written, can be easily reviewed and updated and most importantly, they get everybody on the same page.
- Strategic. Don’t get overwhelmed, just agree on three or four goals, a few detailed objectives, implementation tasks and the timeline and responsibilities.
- Leadership succession. Sometimes this can be as simple as an organization chart, even for small nonprofits. At least identify the interim leadership.
- Constituent engagement. How do you engage donors? They certainly top the list, but add board and committees. Identify the groups and list three items for each.
- Performance measurement. Beyond just the annual review of leadership, think about the overall ways to measure your organization's success. A simple list of items appropriate to your work that you want to accomplish this year is fine.
The plans should be short – no more than one page is ideal. I’ve been part of far too many planning sessions that produced pages of results. And a couple months later nobody could remember them. And worse, it wasn’t clear who was doing what part of a plan.
"Plans are nothing; planning is everything."
Dwight D. Eisenhower
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