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Nonprofit Management Certificate Course. Organizational Assessment & Planning: Day 2: Morning Karen A. Curtis, Ph.D. Strategic Planning and Operational Planning. Strategic High uncertainty Future-oriented Top Down Outside In Big Picture Qualitative Entire Organization, Function or Site.

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nonprofit management certificate course

Nonprofit Management Certificate Course

Organizational Assessment & Planning: Day 2: Morning

Karen A. Curtis, Ph.D.

strategic planning and operational planning
Strategic Planning and Operational Planning
  • Strategic
    • High uncertainty
    • Future-oriented
    • Top Down
    • Outside In
    • Big Picture
    • Qualitative
    • Entire Organization, Function or Site
  • Operational
    • Low uncertainty
    • Present-oriented
    • Bottom Up
    • Inside Out
    • Detailed
    • Quantitative
    • Department, Team or Individual
from swot to strategic or priority issues
From SWOT to Strategic or Priority Issues
  • When performed correctly, SWOT analysis helps identify choices facing the nonprofit, providing a problem-structuring tool to help ask the right questions about mission, programs and interaction with the environment
  • When performed poorly, SWOT can be a superficial list generating exercise that produces 4 unconnected lists
common problems in swot analysis kevin kearns 1992
Common Problems in SWOT Analysis (Kevin Kearns, 1992)
  • “Missing Link” problem – Neglect of inter-relationship between SW and OT
  • “Blue Sky” problem – Unrealistic view of Strengths & Opportunities
  • “Silver Lining” problem – Under estimation of external Threats
  • “All Things to All People” problem – Overcome Weaknesses at expense of core Strengths
putting the cart before the horse problem
“Putting the Cart Before the Horse” Problem
  • Decision makers develop strategies and action plans before they have sufficiently clarified the choices facing the agency
  • Source: Kearns (1992) “ From Comparative Advantage to Damage Control: Clarifying Strategic Issues Using SWOT Analysis” (see Website links)
  • Bryson – “An answer without an issue is not an answer.”

Classifying Strategic Issues Using SWOT Analysis: Mapping Interactions

Adapted from: Bryson, 1988 and Kearns, 1992.


Classifying Strategic Issues Using SWOT Analysis: Issue Classification

Source: Kearns, 1992: 13.

critical swot questions
Critical SWOT Questions
  • How can the organization leverage its strengths to achieve or enhance its comparative advantage, thereby capitalizing on a perceived opportunity?
  • How can the organization mobilize its strengths to avert a perceived threat or even transform that threat into an opportunity?
more critical swot questions
More Critical SWOT Questions
  • Should the organization invest scarce resources in weak programs to become more competitive vis-à-vis a perceived opportunity?
  • In light of its vulnerable position, how can the organization control or at least minimize the damage that may be inflicted by impending threats?

Classifying Strategic Issues Using SWOT Analysis: Issue Classification

Source: Kearns, 1992: 17.

identifying strategic or priority issues
Identifying Strategic or Priority Issues
  • Strategic issues have long term implications & consequences
  • Can be resolved in multiple and sometimes competing ways (i.e., no one answer)
  • Affect organizations in their entirety
  • Involve major financial risks and opportunities
identifying strategic or priority issues 2
Identifying Strategic or Priority Issues, 2
  • Involve some or all of the following: new revenues, new programs, new resources, new facilities
  • Are central to the organization’s mission
  • Are within the organization’s control and have consequences if not addressed
  • Strategic issues are often “dynamite”
identifying strategic or priority issues 3
Identifying Strategic or Priority Issues, 3
  • Strategic issues may require additional research in order to clarify the choices
  • There may be competing agencies addressing the same issue.
  • Strategic issues should be phrased as questions (to which there is more than one answer). If there is only one answer, it is a priority issue. (Worksheets 23, 24-25 – see Website links)
strategic issue examples
Strategic Issue Examples
  • 1. What can we do, through the re-development of the Board of Directors, to ensure that the agency establishes itself in the community with local and state leaders, and with current and potential funders as a “go to” organization?
  • 2. What can we do to broaden the reach of the agency in order to improve referrals for services we are already contracted to provide?
  • 3. What can we do to establish a competitive edge in a funding environment that has become saturated with other agencies providing similar services?
  • 4. What can we do to more rapidly address our technology needs in the areas of telecommunications and data management?
strategic issue examples 2
Strategic Issue Examples, 2
  • 1. How can we develop partnerships with the community, particularly the XXX community, to meet the adoptive needs of children and families?
  • 2. How can we add new services and respond to the growth opportunities in current services that involve financial risk?
  • 3. How can we attract talented, experienced staff, committed to our mission, who will increase our racial diversity to more closely match the composition of our service recipients?
strategic issue examples 3
Strategic Issue Examples, 3
  • 1. What should be our service area? How will it impact our organization if we go statewide?
  • 2. What is or should be the role of individual membership? Should membership be required in order to receive services or to participate in programs?
  • 3. What groups of xxxx are we not serving? Are these groups being served by other organizations with similar mission, & programs?
strategic issue examples 4
Strategic Issue Examples, 4
  • 4. How are we seen in the community? What should our brand image be?
  • 5. How can we reduce turnover and promote longevity among staff?
  • 6. How should we respond to the changing technological environment to ensure efficiency and effectiveness?
strategic issue examples 5
Strategic Issue Examples, 5
  • 1. What design and structural improvements need to be made to our facility to best serve the needs of its mission?
  • 2. How can our organization continue to deliver the highest quality and level of services?
  • 3. In what way should the mission of our organization be broadened to serve other groups?
strategic issue examples 6
Strategic Issue Examples, 6
  • 4. How can we expand our funding from current sources and diversify to new revenue sources?
  • 5. In what ways can developments in technology help broaden and strengthen our services and mission?
  • 6. How can we better define the respective roles of staff and board to enhance the effectiveness of the organization?
selecting a strategy worksheet 26 see website links
Selecting a Strategy (Worksheet 26, see Website links)
  • Is it realistic?
  • Is it clear?
  • Is it reasonable?
  • Is it consistent with mission and mandates?
  • Can we identify a path forward?
  • Are we ready to commit?
making it relevant
Making It Relevant
  • On-going means of accountability at board and staff level
  • Align staff roles with planning goals and objectives
  • Refer to regularly
  • Review formally on an annual basis
moving to action planning
Moving to Action Planning
  • Staffing
  • Timetable
  • Authority and Accountability
  • Resources
  • Tracking