All too often the planning that led to your plan was based on known alternatives, familiar conditions and comfortable activities. So the plan basically just keeps you doing what you have always done with minor adjustments.
- Where will your future growth come from? Assuming that your growth will come from the same sources as it has in the past is a huge problem. Yes, you have faithful donors and a strong development program. But even the new strategies don't work forever. Break out of the traditional as you review your local demographics, communications strategies and the economy of your area.
- Who or what could cause a disruption to your work? After you think about future growth, think about how your organization will handle it. What needs to change in the way you work? Who needs to change? Where are the likely pitfalls that you might anticipate? This may be substantial "guess work" but a group discussion will be invaluable to future plans.
- What organizational or operational skills do you need to strengthen to support a new future strategy? You'll be very successful if you accept that changes are necessary and good. It's never a bad time to figure out the tools and people to achieve your goals for your desired future.
- What do you need to stop doing in order to achieve your goals? You can't do everything for everybody. Thoughtful evaluation of priorities will help identify old activities that can be eliminated so you can focus on new priorities.
- If you had additional resources, how would you use them? There's no point in wishing for more money and then not having an instant response for how you will use it. Here is the place you need to tell your constituents what you are excited about in your future.
Your real value for your donors and prospects may be to help them anticipate the future for your organization. Keep them involved in your thinking and planning and they will be much more eager to help you get there.
For more nonprofit administration and management tips, as well as nonprofit funding and endowment development, subscribe to Endowment Development Institute's Newsletter here.