Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Planning Resources for a New Year

Yes We Can!

As the New Year begins, I'd like to recommend a few excellent resources to support your strategic thinking and planning efforts.

First, another great article from the Harvard Business Review. Appearing in the December 2008 issue, there is an article entitled Delivering on the Promise of Nonprofits by Jeffrey L. Bradach, Thomas J. Tierney, and Nan Stone. The authors, associated with the Bridgespan Group, propose that nonprofits wanting to dramatically increase their mission impact need to address five interdependent questions: Which results will we hold ourselves accountable for? How will we achieve them? What will results really cost, and how can we fund them? How do we build the organization we need to deliver results? These questions provide a framework for change that combines elements of theory of change, outcomes measurement, strategic and business planning, and organizational development. Included in the article, are a number of case examples drawn from the work of the Bridgespan Group. If you don't subscribe to the Harvard Business Review, you can purchase an electronic or hard copy of the article at Order Reprint R0812G.

The second resource is the Severson Center Trend Website. The Severson Center, a division of the Alliance for Children and Families, has opened their trend website to the general public, allowing access to a library of information in a user-friendly format. No login is needed for the website, but some reports are password protected for access by members of the Alliance. Trends and their impacts are organized under the following categories: Business/Economy, Education, Nonprofits, Technology/Science, Demographics/Population, Health, Social Service Issues, and Work. No question about it: this is the only resource of its kind and an invaluable resource for nonprofit strategic planning efforts. Go to:

The third resource is Designing Your Future: Key Trends, Challenges and Choices Facing Associations and Nonprofit Leaders published in August 2008 by ASAE and the Center for Association Leadership. According to the authors, Designing Your Future “began with the analysis of several hundred trends. Association leaders and other experts and practitioners have winnowed the lengthy list of impacts to the most critical trends ranging from social to economic to political to environmental to technological impacts likely to affect associations.” Here are some of the chapter headings: Key Challenges: 10 Strategic Priorities Association Leaders Must Address, Key Choices: a Strategic Decision-Making Framework, 50 Key Trends, Scenario Analysis Workshop, Trend and Trend Analysis Workshop. Click here to preview this publication on

And don't forget to check out our listing of Key Trends included in our weekly feature Nonprofit Picks Of The Week.

Happy New Year!