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  • For nonprofit organizations, strategy is a statement of how the organization will use its resources to accomplish its mission.
  • In today’s environment of rapid change, a static strategy is a recipe for failure.
  • It is leadership’s job is to assure that the organization has clear but agile strategy that can be quickly adjusted in response to changing conditions.
  • It is everyone’s job to assure that the organization is effectively executing its strategy.

In today’s landscape it is essential to assure that your nonprofit strategy is agile enough to meet the challenges of rapid change.  You can assure the agility and effectiveness of your organizational strategy by routinely asking five questions, and adjusting your course in response to the answers.  (The questions are based on Peter Drucker’s Five Most Important Questions You Can Ask About Your Organization.)

  • 1. What is our mission?  The first step is to clearly define the mission of your organization, program or service – and make sure everyone in the organization understands it.
  • 2. Who is our customer?  The next step is to identify your customers (or stakeholders).  Think of your primary customers as the people whose lives you hope to change. Think of your supporting customers as the service partners, funders, and others whose support you need to accomplish your mission.
  • 3. What do our customers value? Think of your value proposition as a statement of the positive impact intend to deliver for your primary and supporting customers.  Here it is important to understand what your customers value and what your organization can actually deliver, and craft your value proposition accordingly.
  • 4. What are our results? Evaluate your actual results against your value proposition to assure that you are delivering positive impact for your customers.  Here it is essential to identify gaps between your intentions and reality, as well as areas of alignment.
  • 5. What is our plan?  Create or refine your strategy to assure the organization is demonstrating positive impact and effective management for your customers.

You can use these five questions to guide your strategic thinking on a daily basis.  You can also use the questions as a framework for strategy planning with your board and team. Whatever the setting, these questions will help you quickly discern whether your strategy is on track or needs adjustment for a changing landscape.