Non-profit leaders often say they understand the importance of strategic planning to support and advance their organizations’ missions.
Do they really, though? Knowing they should be engaging in strategic planning is a good start, but let’s be honest. The concept is very misunderstood. “Planning” suggests a clear beginning and end. For many non-profits, the process effectively ends with some form of static plan that doesn’t facilitate coordinated action and, as a result, doesn’t deliver the desired outcomes. These organizations aren’t undertaking an on-going, dynamic process that produces the results their communities need, and progressively builds toward their visions for the future. They’re putting great ideas on paper, but they’re not “living the dream.” If they want to be at their sustainable best, however, non-profits need to go beyond strategic planning and adopt a “strategic lifestyle.”