Nonprofit planning, emanating from an organization’s clear understanding of its goals and long-range plans to achieve them, should encompass a thoughtful and carefully conceived assessment of the organization’s functional areas, such as program priorities, facilities analysis and other critical issues. The Lapin Group promotes this as part of broader client engagement or as a “stand alone” project.
Visioning is a formal exercise facilitated by members of our firm. A comprehensive, thoughtful Visioning Process is a critical vehicle for realizing a robust vision for an organization’s future, determining the capabilities and strategies required to achieve that vision, and building trust and accountability for the accomplishment of these goals from all sectors of an organization. It enables leadership to examine and evaluate the priorities, goals, and objectives of an organization for the next 5-10 years and answer several strategic questions, including:
How will the organization be different in the next 5-10 years?
Where does the organization want to be programmatically in the next 5-10 years?
What will success look like for the organization over the coming 5-10 years?
The Visioning Process is efficient and results-oriented. By focusing the discussions on functional areas, as well as issues that involve the whole organization, we frame organizational objectives that can be clearly communicated, and embraced by executive and volunteer leadership, as well as key organizational stakeholders.
At The Lapin Group, we believe that strategic planning is one of the most important responsibilities of a nonprofit organization’s executive and volunteer leadership. In today’s competitive funding market, nonprofit strategic planning is often misunderstood as a tool utilized merely to secure foundation funding, or to satisfy funders’ requirements. All too often, strategic planning results in a hefty document inefficiently prepared over many months that ends up sitting on a shelf, collecting dust until the next deadline arrives and the painful process starts all over again.
At The Lapin Group, we believe that a properly structured strategic plan should live up to its name: a plan for action that positions the organization strategically, frames good and objective decision making, and holds leadership accountable for meeting concrete milestones within a defined timeframe.
Our approach to strategic planning is typically integrated to include research, individual and small group meetings, resulting in recommendations over period of several months. The number of work sessions may vary, depending on the size and complexity of the organization, as well as the organization’s specific focus areas and overall goals. The finalized work product is a comprehensive report, typically no longer than ten pages, that is focused, concise, and realistic, and often encompasses the following:
Organizational Mission, Vision, and Core Values
SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats)
Environmental Scan, Market Assessment, and Positioning Statement
Clear Goals with Key Objectives, Implementation Strategies, and Task Assignments
Schedule, Timeframe, and Key Dates for Review
Overall Success Definitions and Performance Measures
The Lapin Group guides its client organizations through a comprehensive, customized strategic planning process that not only maximizes capacity within the organization for the present, but also inspires and prepares professional and volunteer leaders to expand and improve capabilities for the future.