2022 is right around the corner! As we enter the fourth quarter and begin to wrap up a challenging year, it’s an opportune time to look forward. Following are five things to consider as you think about strategic thinking and planning in this new era.


The Virtual World Is Shrinking Time and Space

Planning no longer looks like it did in the ’80s and ’90s. Hours in a hotel room with sticky notes and markers mapping out a five-year vision will not get our organizations where we need to go. Strategic work for non-profits in a COVID age needs to be virtual and hybrid, flexible and fast-moving, and needs to maximize your stakeholders’ time.


Don't Dust Off Your Pre-COVID Plan

This is probably not the time to pull out your 2019 plan and adjust a few things. Instead, think tabula rasa, or blank slate. Many organizations we are working with are not simply rethinking programs, services and strategies, but also revisiting and clarifying their mission, vision, and even their values.


Take A Fresh Look At Community Needs

Our collective worldview has changed; communities are facing new and growing challenges. Strategic thinking and planning today must involve taking a new look at emerging needs. These processes can help us identify not just what is needed now, but also what will be important down the road. What will your communities, partners, and constituents need that they may not even know yet?


Stakeholders Are More Important Than Ever

There is widespread anxiety about what is to come. More than ever, people may need to process through together what is on their minds about their families, their communities, and the future. In this time, for our non-profits to have as much capacity as possible, we need to access the largest brain trusts we can find. This means leveraging your board and harvesting meaningful volunteer contributions. Find new and fresh ways to seek inputs and insight from donors, volunteers, and key partners and develop opportunities for these groups to gather and co-create together.


Reconnect Your Staff Through Strategy

Strategic planning can be a powerful tool to inspire an exhausted staff team. You may not be certain your staff have the energy for strategic work right now, but big-picture visioning and planning can be a great way to recharge. This work gives your team an opportunity to step away from operational fire-fighting and remind themselves about your organization’s aspirational and exciting mission and why they do the work they do in the first place.


Henry David Thoreau said, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” Now more than ever, it’s time to look through your organization’s windshield, study the shifting landscape ahead, and develop fresh approaches to move your organization forward.

Need help with strategic thinking or planning? Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Thinking about year-end philanthropy? Bruce shares his thinking on 5 Ways to Adjust your Fundraising Plan.



Image from Start Up Stock Photos at Pixabay


Posted by Kellie Wardman
Kellie Wardman

Written by Kellie Wardman

Kellie Wardman, CPCC, ACC, has worked in the non-profit sector for 20 years, serving as a consultant and executive coach for a wide range of innovative and impactful leaders and organizations. She has provided clients with comprehensive support in a wide range of disciplines, including strategic planning, board development and governance, facilitating partnerships and collaborations, capital development, and CEO searches and onboarding processes.

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