The importance of Strategic Planning
A Strategic Planning process is a tremendous opportunity to create the invented, generative and bold future you desire—including a Culture of Philanthropy. When organizational leaders pause and begin to create a visionary plan for the next several years, it’s a time to dream big and consider what it will take in order to create your highest and boldest plan. If the dream is powerful enough, and if your leaders are brave enough, you will use this process to address anything in the culture or the day-to-day mindset of the staff, the board and the surrounding community that might be in the way of fulfilling this invented vision.
To state the obvious, an inspiring vision without the internal and external buy-in, which ultimately leads to the resources to pay for it, is going to fail. Given the right coaching and outside perspective (to better reveal the nuances of your culture), your organization can build something very powerful in this strategic planning process. You’ve likely heard the expression from Peter Drucker – “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. This is an important insight for the success of your Strategic Planning process. No matter what your group’s strategic vision is, it is likely that it will fail if people don’t buy into it, if they don’t believe it’s possible, or if there is not enough community support.
When we do Strategic Planning at Rainmaker, we make sure that you don’t overlook your organization’s culture. Robert Gass, founder of the Social Transformation Project has created the Wheel of Change model to help us to better understand how to positively transform our agencies. The Wheel of Change suggests that we need to work three different domains simultaneously in order to impact an organization’s culture.
Incorporating the Wheel of Change in Strategic Planning
To assure that your strategic planning becomes realized and doesn’t just ‘sit on the shelf’, there are a number of Critical Success Factors (CSFs) that fit within the Wheel of Change domains. Critical success factors are those things that are indicators that your goal is on track and going to be achieved. For example…
- A strategic planning process that creates buy in at the different stages of goal development
- Fund development planning that aligns with the cost of implementation of the strategic goals
- Subcommittees that have effective ways to engage the community
- An implementation plan which has clear goals, a timeline and accountability
- Board meetings that have the strategic plan on the agenda
- All staff and board members adopt their unique roles to fulfill the mission:
- Front desk staff provides excellent customer service for everyone, understanding that anyone who enters the front door or calls your agency is resource-full
- Program staff capture and share Mission Moments to demonstrate the impact of their programs
- Development staff coordinate and cooperate well with different staff and board members to orchestrate development efforts
- Executive leaders inspire development by demonstrating their desire to build strong partnerships with funders, and holding board and staff accountable for fulfillment
- Board members discover and embrace their unique roles in building a Culture of Philanthropy
Hearts and Minds Needed:
- Executive and board leaders who are:
- Open to receiving input from community leaders
- Brave and willing to be transparent with challenges
- Willing to embrace a Culture of Philanthropy as a top organizational value
- Staff and board who are willing to:
- Find a way that feels authentic to help in resource development
- Explore the degree to which you and your organization might be stuck in a mindset of scarcity
- Buy in from the development staff that funding goals is attainable
- This includes board and non-development staff stepping up to help make it possible
- Executive leaders and board understand the value of investing in development and assure they have the resources to be successful (paid well, have a good database, have enough staff to achieve the results, have a budget for travel and donor meetings)
Touching on all three of these buckets at every step of the process, and particularly when you set your goals, will ensure that you aren’t simply immersed in tactics, but you are also looking at the culture.
Taking a stand to have a strategic plan grounded in a Culture of Philanthropy is a significant first step for altering the culture of your agency. As a result, each department will have goals consistent with advancing community engagement, great customer service and building enduring and meaningful relationships with your clients, board members, community, staff and donors. Read more about having your Strategic Plan infused with a Culture of Philanthropy in my book Choose Abundance, due to be released fall of 2021.
(Pieces of this article are excerpted from Choose Abundance)